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Anyone for chocolate wine?

If you haven’t tried a ‘choc-coff’, wine expert Cathy Marston has compiled a few tips to show you the way.

by: Cathy Marston | 21 May 2010

Want to see a load of wine hacks have a punch-up? It only takes one sentence “So what do you think of chocolate/coffee wines then?” and I guarantee you they will be at each other’s throats in an instant!

For those of you who’ve missed it, ever since Diemersfontein Pinotage burst onto the market in 2002 with its distinctive chocolate and coffee tones, the wine world has been divided as to whether this is a great thing for the industry or a step towards the ‘dumbing-down’ of wine (oh horrors!).

Because the flavours are so prominent and so easily identifiable – who doesn’t like chocolate?? – everyone, no matter how little their wine knowledge, is able to recognise the flavours and feel good about themselves and their ability to taste wine like a pro.

Well, that’s great isn’t it? Wine is far too snobby and elitist anyway, so if there is a style of wine which everyone gets, everyone likes and which encourages people to drink wine as opposed to beer or other alcohol then isn’t it an all-round winner? You’d think so wouldn’t you, but sadly, this isn’t quite the case.

People pontificate on the crude flavours, the lack of subtlety and tone, the artificiality of the whole wine style.

They cast doubt onto whether people really do develop good palates if they start on these wines and view them as a lamentable trend which detracts from true quality.

But now a result has come which casts all these opinions into confusion.

The Vrede en Lust Mocholate Malbec 2009 has just won the trophy for the Best Malbec at the most prestigious wine show in South Africa, the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show (click here for details of the public tastings).

It’s a huge credibility boost for this wine style which used to be exclusively reserved for Pinotage, but which now includes Malbec, Tinta Barocca and Merlot as well.

The ‘choc-coff’ fans are cheering and thumbing noses (maybe there is a lack of refinement after all!) and the purists are starting to wonder if they might actually have been wrong over all these years.

So what do you think about this then? If you haven’t tried a ‘choc-coff’, then here are my hot tips:

2009 Diemersfontein Pinotage - R68.99.

2009 Boland Cellar Cappupinoccinotage - R41.99.

2009 Barista Pinotage – R54.99.

2009 Café Culture Pinotage – R49.99 – prices for all the Pinotages from Ultra Liquors.

2009 Vrede en Lust Mocholate Malbec – R69 from the farm or specialist retailers.

2009 Boplaas Tinta Chocolat – R55 from selected Spars and Makro’s countrywide.

Give them a whirl and tell us what you think below, because one thing’s for sure – love ‘em or hate ‘em, chocolate/coffee wines are here to stay.

Choccie cheers,

PS:Did you see the feedback from our fab Vin-atics dinner with KWV Wines? There is still one week left for you to try out a recipe and a wine and you can WIN a case of KWV wines!

Click here for all the info.


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