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About this Episode

Wine and chocolate are a perfect pairing, according to many of us, but what do the wine experts think? Wine educator and certified sommelier Grace Hood joins Robert Tas to help take your wine and chocolate experience to a whole new level of deliciousness. They review the wine list at Ayza, a wine and chocolate bar with a wine menu that provides over 110 fine wines and champagnes from all over the world, and, of course, there is also a wide selection of chocolate dishes to enjoy. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • Moscato d'Asti from the Alasia
  • 2019 Cline pinot noir from Sonoma
  • 2012 St Estephe from Les Pelerins de Lafon-Rochet
Transcript: Ayza


RT: Hello and Welcome to CorkRules! 

A podcast where we will review a wine list from your favorite restaurants. I’m your host Robert Tas along with Grace Hood, wine educator and certified sommelier. Hello Grace, it’s great to have you!

GH: Hey Hey Robert!

RT: Before we jump in, let’s talk about those wine lists. We created CorkRules to help demystify wine list’s because we know from experience, that sometimes when we get that list handed to us, well… it can be intimidating, and even a little daunting.

Our aim is to help prepare you to navigate that list, find those hidden gems, or value wines or that special bottle that will take your dining experience over the top.

RT: So today we’re talking about the wine and chocolate bar, Ayza - Grace what are your initial thoughts?

GH: I mean who doesn't love wine and who doesn't love chocolate? I've done chocolate and wine pairings in the past so this will be fun!

RT: Oh man I’m excited! So where do we start?

GH: When it comes to pairing wine and chocolate, the things to be mindful of are dryness and sugar content. It's good to pair wines with similar styles of chocolate ya know. Like milder chocolates go well with lighter-bodied wines, while chocolates with more intense flavors can stand up to fuller-bodied wines.

RT: Makes total sense. What is sticking out to you on the Ayza list?

GH: Yeah so they have a nice little list - short and sweet and super affordable. And Most of their bottle prices are under $100 so that's always awesome. They have it broken down not only into the regular categories – white, red, rose etc. But then within the categories they break it down by style - floral, citrus, herbaceous, earthy etc. you know I love a well-thought-out wine list! Makes it so much more approachable to customers.

RT: Love that. Less complicated the better. So how are you going to approach a wine and chocolate pairing?

GH: I think breaking it down by type of chocolate would be the best way to go! So, starting in white chocolate which has a sweet, buttery flavor with notes of honey and cream. Sweet wines help cleanse the palate of the rich flavors from the white chocolate. So, on the Ayza list, you could go with the sparkling Moscato d'Asti from the Alasia vineyard from the Piedmont region in northern Italy. I would say that out all the sweeter style wines out there, Moscato is one of the most well-known universally. You could also go with a Riesling as well for white chocolate - they have one from the brotherhood winery in the Hudson valley of New York. Which, super fun fact is the oldest continuously operating vineyard in America! It’s been around since the early 1800s and was one of the only wineries to be able to survive through prohibition b/c what is a brotherhood, monks! It made wine for the church so that's how it was able to stay open while the rest of the and spirits production of America shut down. People love that piece of knowledge - whenever I ask someone where the oldest winery in America is they automatically say California, but nope it's in New York!  

RT: How about that! I’ll have to go visit that spot soon. Oldest Vineyard in America. How neat. So, what about milk chocolate?

GH: When we're talking milk chocolate its usually sweeter and creamier with some hints of brown sugar, vanilla, and cream. It’ll do best with a light to medium-bodied wine as to not overpower those lovely nuances of the milk chocolate. This Gewurztraminer from Chateau St. Michelle out of Washington would complement those flavors nicely. And you can even do some reds with milk chocolate. I would go with the 2019 Cline from Sonoma, or the 2017 Cote de Beaune from Bouchard in Burgundy

RT: Ohhhh yum that sounds like a great combination. Now, how about dark chocolate?

GH: So, this is arguably my favorite style of chocolate - it’s also the most healthy for you! High in antioxidants! I always have some dark chocolate-covered almonds in my kitchen. Since dark chocolate has less sugar and more pure cacao, we're going to get a lot more bitter earthy qualities to it, so we'll need a deeper richer wine to stand up to those characteristics. This 2018 Merlot from Mollydooker out of Australia would be a great pairing for dark chocolate, as well as this 2012 St Estephe from Les Pelerins de Lafon-Rochet from Bordeaux 

RT: Amazing Grace. Great choices as always. Thank you for helping us navigate the wine list at Ayza.

To our audience, thank you all for joining us here on CorkRules.  If you would like us to review one of your favorite restaurants, please send us email to:Info@CorkRules.com or visit our web website where we have a request form available and we will do our best to get it in the queue as quickly as possible.

We are looking forward to being with you on another CorkRules episode soon. In the meantime, please check out our website for other episodes of your favorite restaurant wine lists. Follow us on social media @CorkRules and @wineswithgrace

And finally, drink what you love and please make sure you drink responsibly.

Thank you.







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