Recently, we hosted select family and friends for an evening of wine tasting ahead of our Spooktacular Wine Tasting Halloween Party, simply making sure the quality of wines and our pairings worked well for everyone.
Since we had a few last minute cancelations due to illness, we chose 4 wines to pair with cheese (two reds, two whites) and one dessert wine to pair with a fabulous chocolate tart (recipe below). Our designated bottle opener got a little too antsy and also open a 5th bottle, another red which we had not originally planned for.
This collection of wine is available for purchase from Wine Tasting Network and we currently have a 40% off code for you to use before October 31st.
Riesling: For the most part, none of us enjoy sweet rieslings but this particular bottle from Alsace got smiles from each of us. We paired this with a soft gorgonzola and tarts we purchased from Safeway with caramelized onions, gorgonzola cheese. AN ABSOLUTE WINNER!
Chardonnay: Around the table, we each have different things that we like and expect in our Chardonnays, however once again everyone was smiling. While it’s not overwhelming in oak flavors, there is some nice oaky-ness to this wine with some stone fruit and a hint of baking spices such as vanilla. WILL BUY AGAIN.
Pinot Noir: If there was anything that was somewhat disappointing it was this Pinot Noir from Chile. Of the five of us tasting, only one of us absolutely loved this wine (and later changed his mind once everyone started talking about their opinions of this wine.) Now, this isn’t a bad wine, we’ve all tasted worse, it was just very bland and quite forgettable… until you take a bite out of a strawberry! If you’re making a strawberry shortcake or this pudding, then this wine would be ideal with dessert. Probably would have been better had we decanted it prior to serving. WOULD ONLY PURCHASE FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS.
Shiraz: When we put this bottle out, there were collective groans from almost everyone as the majority of people were not Shiraz/Syrah people. If you love a red wine that is fruit forward with exotic spices and full-bodied, buy yourself a bottle the second you're done reading this. THE BOTTLE VANISHED BEFORE THE END OF THE PARTY—WILL BUY AGAIN!
Cabernet Sauvignon: So this gem was opened by accident and we're so happy it was. It was delicious from every angle, the bouquet was mouth watering, it was very smooth going down and had a very strong finish, which is what we love about good Cabernet Sauvignon. ALREADY ORDERED MORE BOTTLES, PERFECT FOR THE HOLIDAYS!
Tawny: Out of the five of us, one of us is a self-proclaimed Tawny addict. At first smell, this fortified wine was very sweet, almost too sweet that we didn't want to even try it. (Hello, there was more of that fantastic Cab left in the bottle!) Once we sliced the chocolate tart, took a bite and a sip, we were in love. It has a hint of caramel and a velvety-texture in your mouth. WILL BUY AGAIN TO SERVE WITH CHOCOLATE DESSERTS.
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*Plates, napkins and towel were purchased from Joann Fabrics.
Chocolate Truffle Tart
My mother-in-law's go-to, never-fail dessert! You can make this tart a day ahead of time!
1 cup (1/2 pound) butter or margarine
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 generous tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
For garnish: powdered cocoa, slightly sweetened softly whipped heavy cream and/or caramel ice cream topping
Prepare 10-1/2 inch tart pan by buttering and flouring. Best way to prepare pan (you will thank me later!)—line bottom of tart pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a food processor or bowl, combine flour, powdered sugar, cocoa, cinnamon and salt until blended. Cut 1/2 cup of butter into chunks and add to mixture, combine thoroughly. Apply flour to your hands and press mixture into bottom of pan.
Bake in 350 degree oven until crust begins to pull from sides of tart pan, 15 to 18 minutes.
While crust is cooking, place half of the chopped chocolate and 1/2 cup of butter into microwave-safe bowl and cook at half-power for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes, stirring occasionally until melted and smooth. Stir in granulated sugar. Add eggs and mix well. Stir in vanilla and the rest of the chopped chocolate. Pour the mixture into the crust.
Return to 350-degree oven and cook until the filling barely jiggles when the pan is gently tapped, around 20 minutes. Let the tart cool for at least 1-1/2 hours.
Remove pan rim. If desired, dust tart with cocoa. Cut into wedges, garnish with whipped cream and/or caramel topping.