Tag Archives: Las Positas Vineyards

Chocolate – Wine Pairing Menu at Las Positas Vineyards

We’ve all had chocolate and red wine at one time or another. A lot of people think this is the best pairing of all wine pairings, and will go to a winery just to get that final big red wine with some sort of dark chocolate. Really, how can you go wrong with this pairing, as individually chocolate and wine are two of the best things in the world? Two of the major food groups for some of us.

I’m not a huge fan of chocolate and wine. Usually it’s a case of 1 + 1 = 2. The chocolate is nice, the wine is nice, but together they don’t usually add up to more than that. Last Sunday, “Sunday Funday!” at Las Positas Vineyards in the Livermore Valley, we had an opportunity to not only pair one wine with chocolate, but go through a full tasting menu of chocolate-wine pairings. The chocolate truffles were from Landru Chocolates. Here is the menu, in the order we tasted:

Chocolate truffles for the Sunday Funday wine pairing at Las Positas Vineyards.

Chocolate truffles for the Sunday Funday! wine pairing at Las Positas Vineyards.

Rosemary Cole: Single origina dark cream with fresh rosemary leaves, virgin coconut oil and lemon zest dipped in dark milk chocolate.
2011 Coccineous: 51% Tempranillo, 26% Petite Sirah, 23% Syrah

English Tea: Dark chocolate cream with black tea and bergamont enrobed with dark chocolate.
2011 Estate Tempranillo

Darkeriuse: Dark chocolate cream dipped in dark milk chocolate.
2011 Estate Petite Sirah

Hazel Praline: Dark chocolate cream with hazelnut praline dipped in milk chocolate.
2011 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Nutmeg Almond: Milk chocolate cream with almond praline cream and roasted almonds dipped in milk chocolate.
2012 Estate Barbera

In addition to Lori and I, we had a friend with us, and this was a great way to help her celebrate her birthday. (She also broke any ties when voting on the pairings.) The unanimous best pairing was the Darkeruise with the Petite Sirah. Great chocolate and great wine. The pairing of the Nutmeg Almond Truffle and Barbera produced the widest ranges of scores in our group, with one voter giving this pairing the highest rank, and one giving it the lowest overall rank.

For me, aside from the Darkeruise pairing, the Hazel Praline and the Cabernet Sauvignon was the most interesting pairing. Interesting because when I tasted each individually, I was not impressed with either the truffle or the wine. Together, however, they were excellent, and received my second highest ranking for the menu. A clear case of 1 + 1 = 3, or at least 2.5.

Las Positas Vineyards view from the garden.

Las Positas Vineyards view from the garden.

After the chocolate tasting we sat outside in the garden at the tasting room, talking and enjoying the view of the Livermore Valley.

Grapes are getting ready at Las Positas Vineyards in the Livermore Valley.

Grapes are getting ready at Las Positas Vineyards in the Livermore Valley.

Thanks to Curt, the tasting room manager at Las Positas Vineyards, for spending the time with us on the tasting, and making it a really wonderful experience.



Livermore Taste of Terroir

A couple weeks ago I went to the Thursday night kick-off four day event of the Livermore Taste of Terroir. It was held at Casa Real Winery in Livermore. My friend Marybeth and I arrived at 5:00 for the one-hour VIP tasting hour before the doors were open at 6:00 to those who bought tickets to the event. When we went into the large room there were 17 different stations set up with local wineries pairing their wines with either restaurants or caterers from the East Bay. There were mostly red wines there but a there were some white wines as well. We got a sheet with a list of the wineries and food establishments so we could keep our personal score.

We sampled 8 red wines and 4 white wines in the three hours we were there. It was challenging to take notes and eat and drink all at the same time. We were given a plate with a cup holder for the wine glass. Most of the dishes were user friendly and we were able to pick them up with our fingers, some we had to use a fork. The challenging part was holding onto my notes and pen which ended up getting stuffed under my arm. They had some tables that we could stand at so we could actually put our wine glass down, eat the food, sip the wine and write up our notes.

Some of our favorite pairings of the night were: Longevity Wines was serving a pink Pinot Grigio paired with 1300 on Fillmore’s bbq shrimp n’ creamy grits. We each gave it a 7+. We also liked Page Mill Winery 2013 Vintner’s Select Chardonnay paired with Handles Gastropub’s roasted zucchini, corn and jalapeno potato cake topped with chipotle aioli. I gave it a 6+. The Wente Vineyards 2012 The Nth Degree Syrah was paired with The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards bbq Wente Estate beef and Emigh Ranch lamb sausage sandwich with a smoked eggplant aioli, cilantro and syrah pickled onions. I gave it a 7. And our personal favorite was Wood Family Vineyards which served their 2012 Big Wood Zinfandel paired with First Street Alehouse Mole’ pulled pork tacos with chipotle lime slaw. I gave this a 9. This was hands down our favorite pairing. We voted for Wood Family for our favorite red and Longevity Wines as our favorite white.

When you arrived at the event you were given two corks. These corks were to be used to vote for your favorite white and red wine and food pairing of the night. Around 7:45 they announced the winners. The peoples choice awards went to Longevity Wines pairing with 1300 on Fillmore for the whites and to Wood Family Vineyards with First Street Alehouse for the reds. As for the judging awards, (the judges were Nicholas Boer, food editor, Diablo Magazine; Rocky Fino, chef and cookbook author; and Sara Schneider, wine editor, Sunset Magazine) the first place went to Vasco Urbano Wine Company for their 2012 GSM “The Sheriff” paired with the Zephyr Grill and Bar house cured lamb bacon BLT. Second place went to Cuda Ridge Wines 2012 Cabernet Franc served with Posada Restaurant braised boneless pork ribs simmered in a tomatillo-cilantro sauce topped with charred creama. Third place went to Garre Vineyards and Winery with their 2010 Profound Secret served with the Garre Cafe all natural short rib papa rellenas; tomato and olive braised beef short rib encased in buttermilk whipped potatoes, deep fried with panko crust and finished with a Profound Secret gastrique.

We met all sorts of nice people, and we had the opportunity to sit outside for a while and listen to the live music and just watch all the people enjoying the event. There was a silent auction going on and there was a separate dessert room with items such as cupcakes on a stick, chocolate dipped strawberries, fresh berries, brie and assorted cookies. There were four wineries in the room serving ports and sweet wines to go with the desserts. On the patio there were some wineries serving their wines and sparkling wines as well, just not paired with any food.

This was a very fun evening. I would highly recommend this event for next year, it’s a great way to sample some of the best wines of Livermore Valley and have some great food paired with it.