Port and chocolate seminar in Vail Friday
Like the often-abhored Brussel sprouts, port wine has an undeserved bad rap.Sometimes people who haven’t so much as sipped it, turn their noses up at the offer, assuming they don’t like it.For Paul Mugnier, the vice president of sales and marketing for Premium Port Wines, the key word is “undeserved.””Port has the undeserved reputation of being a sweet, sticky, kind of cloying dessert wine, when actually port wine has a lot more complexity and acidity than people think it has,” he said.Mugnier is hosting a Taste of Vail seminar today on port and chocolate. So if the port doesn’t draw you in, maybe the promise of cacao will. “There’s no better way to taste port than with fantastic chocolate, side by side,” said Mugnier, who has attended the Taste of Vail for the past five years, he said. The seminar takes place at The Manor Vail Lodge and starts at 4 p.m. Mungier is bringing BRIX chocolates to serve alongside two ports and two tawnies from Dow’s, one of the offerings in the Premium Port Wines portfolio. Founded in 1798, Dow’s has been producing ports for over two centuries in Portugal’s Douro Valley. “The current fashionable taste with consumers has moved towards wines that are a little sweeter,” Mugnier said. “Look at the success of moscato and other sweeter red wines; people should definitely give port a taste.”
Port is a natural match for chocolate, he said. “There’s a big affinity between the tannins you find in chocolate and the tannins you find in wine,” Mugnier said. The chocolates attendees will nosh on today are special, however. Called BRIX, it’s the first chocolate specifically blended to complement wine. “Wine has a certain level of acidity for sure, these chocolates are made to accomodate that,” he said. Attendees will try the BRIX milk chocolate, which is lighter in color and therefore cacao content, with the tawny ports, which have spent significantly more time in the barrel, like 10 and 20 years.”The tawny ports have a vanilla caramel, rum sugar kind of flavor to them that goes great with milk chocolate,” he said.The dark chocolate will be paired alongside the ruby ports.”The higher level of cacao and fruit flavors in the dark chocolate complements the ruby ports fantastically,” he said. “The ruby port spends less time in the barrel, therefore it has much more dark cherry, blackberry, fruit flavor to them.”The last place Mugnier gave this seminar was at the Boca Raton Wine and Food Festival in South Florida. “It was great. One hundred and fifty people were there – it was really well attended. It’s very funny, you could split the room in half -half of the people prefer tawny port, therefore the milk chocolate, and the other half prefer the ruby port and the dark chocolate.”In general, Mugnier thinks American’s taste buds are going towards darker chocolates these days. “It helps when doctors tell you it’s good for you,” he said. “They say the chemicals in red wine and dark chocolate are good for you, so why not have a bar of chocolate and glass of wine?”High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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