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by Victoria Brown: What could be better on Valentine’s Day than your favorite chocolate and a good bottle of champagne? Valentine’s Day is one day you want to get into a good mood and “There’s no better mood-booster than popping off the cork on a bottle of bubbly.” Add a bit of chocolate to the mix and you have what Tina Messina, Co-Owner of The Wine ConneXtion in North Andover, Ma, calls her ‘mood changing concoction’.
Messina is an expert in helping customers to choose the perfect pairing of wine and food and she recommends a bottle of Gruet Blanc de Noir with your favorite chocolate for an instant pick-me-up: “This is one of those things that I bring out when a good friend comes over, she’s had a bad day and we need to talk it out.”
Gruet is a winery in New Mexico, particularly famous for their sparkling wines. Their Blanc de Noir has received much critical acclaim in the wine world, receiving 90 points in the Wine Spectator. “And it deserves every point it got!” says Messina, “This is amazing wine for the money.”
Blanc de Noirs refers to white wine made from black (red) grapes, where the skins are removed before they color the wine. In the Champagne region of France the term refers to wines made with a blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. Sparkling wines, such as the Gruet Blanc de Noirs, follow a similar recipe and process, but are more experimental; in this case Gruet adding Chardonnay in place of the traditional Pinot Meunier.
Messina explains that Pinot Noir gives the Gruet Blanc de Noir a fuller body than, for example, a Brut “and this goes great with the chocolates … cause the problem with the Bruts is that sometimes they’re just a little too dry or a little too tangy”. She suggests strawberries as a better pairing with a Brut. The Gruet Blanc de Noir, on the other hand, is a bit fruitier, “which makes a slightly bitter dark chocolate the perfect counterpoint to its explosive juicy flavors and toasty aroma.”
In the video Messina demonstrates some safety precautions when opening a bottle of bubbly (away from yourself and your guests), the best way to pour it (tilt the glass) and the best way to taste it with the chocolate (sip, bite, sip). Take all that on board and “Next thing you know your friend’s problems are solved. Enjoy!”
About the winery: The Gruet winery was founded in 1983 by Gilbert Gruet, a French winemaker who had been producing champagne since 1952 in Bethon, France. When his family traveled through New Mexico in 1983 they saw a golden opportunity – the land was inexpensive, the climate allowed for a consistent harvest and the New World gave them the chance to experiment. They have been helping to improve moods ever since.
This video was filmed in the Kitchen Showroom at the Building Center in Gloucester, MA. You can obtain more information at their web site; www.bcgloucester.com
Co-owner of The Wine ConneXtion, Tina Messina has been in the family business for over 20 years. Her vision to transform the family-owned business, Messina's Liquors, into a "fine wine store