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Tasting Bordeaux Wines and Chocolate

An invitation to a guided tasting of Bordeaux wines with artisanal chocolates from one of France’s top chocolatiers is a welcome treat. And that’s what led us downtown to Danny Meyer’s Manhatta restaurant on November 7.

chocolates

The tasting and discussion was one of the daylong activities hosted by the the Bordeaux Wine School. Founded in 1989 (yes, celebrating 30 years!) the Bordeaux Wine school educates more than 85,000 people each year through its global network of over 250 accredited instructors. Classes are taught both at the school’s center in Bordeaux City and online around the world, offering courses in multiple languages. There is also a mobile app.

Master of Wine Mary Gorman McAdams, an accredited Bordeaux Wine School instructor, teamed up with Pierre -Antoine Bollet of Maison du Chocolat. The duo had conducted rigorous tastings beforehand to select the wines and chocolates for the session which started with an historical overview and a discussion about the commonalities of both Bordeaux wines and chocolates.

Grapes and Cacao Beans: Similarities

Just as wine is made from varieties of grapes, chocolate is made from different types of cacao beans grown. Terroir plays an important role in cultivating both grapevines and cacao trees. Cacao flourishes in tropical climates; over 70 percent is grown in Africa and 16 percent in Latin America.

Dark chocolate must be made with 43 percent minimum cacao, and milk chocolate is a minimum of 30 percent cacao. White chocolate has no cocoa powder (a heated form of cacao) and is 20% cacao butter and 14% milk. Technically, it is not chocolate. Cru chocolates, like wine, are sourced from single estates.

Both wine and chocolate contain tannins and (red wine) are rich in resveratrol, flavonoids and polyphenols. Both can be good for heart health when enjoyed in moderation. Chocolate contains caffeine, so be careful consuming large quantities at night.

Mary Gorman McAdams and Pierre -Antoine Bollet at Manhatta

 

Bordeaux & Chocolate: Three Key Elements to Consider

Gorman McAdams and Bollet explained that fruit flavored chocolate brings out acidity, and wines usually pair best with bittersweet and dark chocolate (with a higher percentage of cacao). They underscored three key elements to consider when pairing wine and chocolate:

Structure

  • Acidity, sweetness, astringency
  • Bitterness (phenols/tannins),
  • Alcohol, sourness

Texture

  • Light / delicate
  • Rich / dense

Flavor

  • Fruity, herbal, smoky, nutty, earthy,
  • Spicy

The pairing included one wine with two types of chocolate. The first misconception that went out the door was thinking it’s all about pairing red wine and chocolate. One of the best pairings was a Clos Floridene, Graves 2016 with a dark chocolate ganache with lemon cream and zest (“Andalousie”) from the South of France.

The experience was palate opening and generated an enthusiastic response among attendees.  Second helpings, anyone?

What we tasted

Clos Floridiene Graves

Clos Floridene, Graves, 2016

  • Andalousie: dark chocolate ganache with lemon cream and zest from South of France
  • Akosombo: Chocolate Bar with 68% cacao

Comment: The Graves with the ganache with lemon cream left us ready  to try more white wines with chocolate.

 Château Bourgneuf, Pomerol, 2015

  • Extreme Chocolat: dark chocolate ganache, perfect balance between the acidulous character and bitterness of pure cocoa
  • Salvador: dark chocolate ganache with raspberry pulp

Comment: The consensus in the room was mixed as to which paired better. We were partial to the dark chocolate ganache with raspberry with the plushness and deep tannins of this wine.

 

Château Fonbadet, Pauillac, 2016

  • Noir de Cassis: dark chocolate ganache with cassis
  • Quito: bittersweet dark chocolate ganache
  • Coro: Chocolate Bar with 100% cacao

Comment: Hands down the winning pairing was the Noir de Cassis, proving how well tannic wines can balance out creamy ganache.

 

Château de Cérons, Cérons, 2009

  • Maracuja: dark chocolate ganache with passionfruit pulp and juice

Comment: We initially thought this pairing would be overly sweet, but to the contrary, it was a nice balance.

 For more information on the Bordeaux Wine School, visit: https://www.bordeaux.com/us/

Listen and learn more:

Mary Gorman McAdams, MWIn this episode of The Connected Table SIPS, Mary Gorman McAdams, MW discusses The World’s Best Bordeaux Wine School

Bordeaux is one of the world’s most renowned wine appellations with more than 6000 producers. For 30 years, the Bordeaux Wine School has been the premier education source for learning about Bordeaux. Located in Bordeaux City and online, the school educates more than 85,000 people annually through its global network of over 250 accredited tutors. Master of Wine Mary Gorman McAdams discusses the Bordeaux Wine School’s curriculum for both wine professionals and consumers. www.bordeaux.com

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A Wine on Wine Chat with Two Industry Friends

The April 1st edition of The Connected Table LIVE! is a “liquid lunch”chat with two vintage guests from the world of wine. We’ve had the pleasure with working with both on many occasions over the years, so pour a glass with us and tune in.

Anthony Dias Blue
Anthony Dias Blue

One of the most well-known voices on the radio, with his Blue Lifestyle Minute on WCBS, Anthony Dias Blue is recognized worldwide as a leading food, wine, spirits, and travel expert. His reach includes TV, magazines, books, and of course, radio. Andy also heads a food & wine events company and hosts food & wine competitions worldwide, most notably The San Francisco International Wine & Spirits Competition and the New York World Wine & Spirits Competition.

A James Beard Foundation Journalism Award recipient and member of the James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America, Andy’s writing affiliations have included Bon Appétit  (where we worked with him for years producing events around the nation), Food & Wine and Zagat. He is currently Editor- in- Chief of The Tasting Panel Magazine and The SOMM Journal, two of the nation’s top wine and spirits industry magazines, both of which he is also an owner.

His award-winning work spans all forms of media and is circulated to more than 30,000,000 consumers each month.

We’ll drink to that!

http://www.bluelifestyle.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AnthonyDiasBlue

https://twitter.com/AnthonyDiasBlue

 

Anyone who has the stamina to travel  around the world for a year with Kevin Zraly visiting over 20 Countries, 80 wine regions, and 500 appellations, tasting more than 7,000 wines- for the sake of research- gets our bobble-head nod of appreciation. Not only that, but he’s run with the bulls in Pamplona, but we won’t go there!

Robin Kelley O'Connor
Robin Kelley O’Connor

We’re talking about  Robin Kelley O’Connor who has spent 30 years in the wine trade as a leading educator, international wine judge, wine writer, advisor and sommelier.

Amidst his many speaking engagements, his current roles include “Collector Liaison” with Italian Wine Merchants (IWM) and wine instructor at the International Culinary Centerboth in New York City. He also serves as lead consultant and wine expert behind Buy Wine Now!.

Well-known as a Bordeaux and European specialist, and authority on fine and rare wines, Robin was Director of Trade and Consumer Education in the Americas for the Bordeaux Wine Bureau (Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux) for 20 years, and was previously Lead Specialist & Head of Wine, Americas for Christie’s Auction House.  Prior to Christie’s, he was Director of Sales and Education for Manhattan wine and spirits retailer Sherry-Lehmann,

Robin is a past President of The Society of Wine Educators from which he also he garnered Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) and Certified Wine Educator (CWE) certifications, and holds a diploma from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust.

Connect:

http://www.rkovine.com/

https://www.facebook.com/RKOVINE

 

Melanie Young and David Ransom, Hosts, The Connected Table LIVE!
Melanie Young and David Ransom, Hosts, The Connected Table LIVE!

Join Melanie Young and David Ransom, the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple, Wednesdays 2om ET on The Connected Table LIVE! on  W4CY.com and anytime on iHeart.com, the #1 digital radio network in the USA. Here’s our direct link to all show podcast which we encourage you to Listen “Like” and “Share.”

http://www.iheart.com/show/209-The-Connected-Table-Live

Please connect:

https://twitter.com/connectedtable

https://www.facebook.com/connectedtable

 

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The Connected Table Live Oct. 22: Window on Kevin Zraly

Tune in October 22 for our featured guest and good friend, Kevin Zraly, internationally acclaimed wine educator and best-selling author of Kevin Zraly Windows on the World Complete Wine Course, with over 4 million copies sold.

Kevin Zraly
Kevin Zraly
Kevin Zraly has been described as a naturally gifted speaker who is both refreshingly humble and candid. His passion for wine and his engaging teaching style helps demystify the ever-changing world of wine. He began his career at age 19 as a waiter and bartender in a New York Times four star rated restaurant in the Hudson Valley, New York. In the years that followed, Kevin journeyed to vineyards in New York, California, and Europe learning his trade and developing his expertise as a sommelier.

After graduating college Kevin moved to New York City and a chance meeting with author Barbara Kafka and legendary restaurateur Joe Baum led to his hiring as the first cellar master and eventually wine director for the renowned Windows on the World restaurant atop One World Trade Center. Windows soon became the country’s top grossing restaurant and, with Kevin at the helm of its highly acclaimed wine list, sold more wine than any restaurant in the world. It was there that he established his Windows on the World Wine School now in its 39th year graduating more than 20,000 students ranging from wine novices and aficionados to top chefs and culinary professionals. Kevin worked at the Windows on the World Restaurant from the day it opened in 1976 until September 11, 2001.

With his first book, Windows on the World Complete Wine Course published in 1985 (an updated annually), Kevin began translating his classes onto the pages of books where his quick wit and capacity to communicate takes the reader through his worldwide journeys from grape to glass. He is also author of the first book that covers wineries and vineyards in all 50 states, Kevin Zraly’s American Wine Guide and The Ultimate Wine Companion, a compilation of 40 world-renowned wine writers.

His numerous awards and accolades include both the 2011 James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award and 1993 Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional of the Year; the 2006 Wine Literary Award, the 2009 Wine Professional of the Year from Santé, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the European Wine Council, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Wine Educators.

He is has served as a member of the Culinary Institute of America’s Board of Trustees since 1990 and director of the Sherry-Lehmann/Kevin Zraly Master Wine Classes and the Sherry-Lehmann/Kevin Zraly Wine Club in New York City. He has been featured in The New York Times, People magazine, The Wall Street Journal, GQ magazine, Newsweek, and USA Today and co-hosted the Food Network’s Wine A to Z.

We will dedicate the full 50 minutes to Kevin and will open our chat room to take your questions. To participate, log on to: www.w4cy.com

Hosted by Melanie Young and David Ransom, the insatiably curious culinary industry couple,
The Connected Table Live airs Wednesdays, 2p.m.ET/11a.m. PT on www.w4cy.com. Podcasts are also available at www.iHeartRadio.com and everywhere the iHeartRadio app is available under the Shows & Personalities section.