It might seem like a perfect sensual duo, but pairing wine with chocolate doesn’t always make the sweetest match. Playing matchmaker when it comes to wine and chocolate can be quite the task, it’s all about the balance: intense chocolates go well with a full bodied wine, while light-flavored chocolates are more suitable with a wine that has a lighter body. On a whim, I stopped by Tishbi Estate Winery in the foothills of the Carmel Mountain ridge, just north of Tel Aviv, and was greeted by a delightful and well balanced chocolate and wine pairing.
Tishbi Estate Winery was created in 1984, but Tishbi wines date back to 1882, when the Tishbi family were commissioned by Baron Edmond de Rothschild to plant the first modern wine grape vineyards in Israel. Today Jonathan Tishbi and his family supervise the entire winemaking process, with vineyards to grow and harvest the wine, to bottling, tasting and creating final blends. I stopped by to check out one of their chocolate and wine pairings, that consists of six Valrhona chocolates paired with six different Tishbi wines.
The chocolates originated from six different countries: Ecuador, Caribbean Island, Dominican Republic, Republic of Madagascar, Papua New Guinea and Africa, ranging in flavor profiles and percentage of cacao. To properly pair the wine with chocolate to really enhance the flavors, first drink the wine allowing the flavors to fully saturate the mouth. Then, take a bite of the chocolate letting it slowly melt on the tongue. And finally, sip the wine once again and watch as your tongue begins to dance.
Each chocolate was paired with a Tishbi wine: Estate Pinot Noir 2008 (Alpaco 66%), Estate Organic Syrah 2007 (Caraibe 66%), Estate Merlot 2007 (Tainori 64%), Estate Malbec 2009 (Manjari 64%), Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (Guanaja 70%) and Barbera Zinfandel 2006 (Abinao 85%).
Wonderful, complex and decadent pairings, Tishbi’s chocolate and wine pairing is the perfect way to spend an Israeli afternoon.