On Super Bowl Sunday I did not have football on the brain. I did, however, have wine in mind. So I traveled to Chamard Vineyards in Clinton to attend their first ever Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Pairing event.
I joined several pairs of people entering the beautiful winery – some couples, some gal pals – to make our way into the Bistro room and sit at a long oak table adorned with flowers, white cloth napkins and stemless wine glasses baring the Chamard Vineyards’ name. A fire was lit as we sat with a window view to the rows and rows of vines, quiet and bare, highlighted by the sun that peeked out behind clouds and bounced in and out of the room.
Once we were settled at our respective seats around the table, Claire, the events manager at Chamard, introduced herself and her colleague, Josh, who would be serving us the wine, cheese and chocolate that afternoon.
Our first course was Chamard’s 2015 Estate Rosé paired with Arethusa Europa cheese, which was similar to cheddar cheese and made by a local farm in Litchfield. In fact, we learned that all the cheeses we were to try were local to Litchfield.
Next, we were introduced to a 2014 classic dry Riesling paired with a soft cow’s milk cheese, Affinne Rouge, and a banana-infused dark chocolate with white chocolate ganache. All of the chocolates were made by local chocolatier Kevin McPherson who works for Whole G, a local New Haven company that does Chamard’s breads. Each wine was selected to go with his various chocolates.
Onto the reds. A 2014 Classic Heritage Cabernet Sauvignon was poured, followed by a plate with Arethusa CT Blue Cheese in the classic English style, with a buttery flavor profile and strong flavor. The chocolate paired with this wine was a dark chocolate with a dark chocolate ganache. The red was so smooth and delicious and really complemented the cheese and chocolate flavors.
Our last pairing was a just released 2015 Syrah, with the whole grape being from the Bio Bio valley in Chile. It was paired with an English style sharp Cheddar called Tapping Reeve, as well as a dark chocolate with cinnamon. The cheese and chocolate really brought out the peppery notes of the wine.
All of these courses were paired with bread, water and a gorgeous watermelon radish that added a splash of bright fuchsia color to each plate and pairing.
When the tasting came to an end, I treated myself to a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon in the tasting room to savor a few more minutes in this quiet and tranquil setting on a Sunday evening. I spoke with Josh about how they have many new events like Trivia Nights on Tuesday in the tasting room, as well as a Pork Dinner in March, and many other cool ideas in the works.
I have to say, after this experience with the Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Tasting, I cannot wait to get back to Chamard soon to partake in another event! I recommend anyone in the Clinton area, or if you are passing through the Connecticut shoreline, to be sure to make a stop at this wonderful winery as part of your itinerary.