Review of 2011 Wine and Chocolate Weekend, Part I

February 14, 2011

Behold the power of the websites. There are eleven wineries in Clark County which band together three times a year for some major tasting events. This last weekend was the Valentine’s Wine and Chocolate Tour. Going to eleven wineries in one weekend is difficult to do as 1) it gets expensive, 2) is a lot of driving, 3) requires you to only spend one hour per winery including driving time, 4) is difficult to process that much wine that quickly, and 5) after awhile, everything tastes good or the same as the last wine because your taste buds are shot. I needed some way to pare the list down, and “Behold the power of the websites.” Their websites dictated if I even made it in the door.

One winery offered up a chocolate class, which sounded like a neat idea until I looked at the price tag. Also, their tasting was $10, while everyone else listed $5. Maybe their wine is worth the extra money, but I decided to pass. The next winery hadn’t updated their website since mid-January to even list this event, and considering how they had set out boxes of chocolates last year that left me unimpressed, it was added to the skip list. Winery #3 was teaming up with a bakery to serve cupcakes, especially a chocolate cupcake with frosting made with some of the wine from the winery. I was tickled by this, but I’m not a baked chocolate gal, and was not impressed when I had that the year before. The next website was vague, stating that it had perfectly paired artisan wines and chocolates for the weekend. The next website to hit the “do not go” list only advertised their music. I had been to an event there before, which had good music and good good, so I did not doubt that it would be fun, but I wasn’t intrigued. The next winery is by appointment only, and I don’t think they participate in events like this one. The last rejected winery was because they also don’t update their website for events like this.

What did grab my attention? Winery #5 was a winner, Olequa Cellars, as I had never been there before, and they were pairing their wines with Peggy’s handmade chocolates. The next one on the list was the Rusty Grape Vineyard, which I am a sucker for because of the owners. We poured for them last year at this event, and they had they best chocolate pairing of the wineries we went to that day with Majestic Chocolates from Portland, OR, which they were bringing back. Admittedly, Heisen House Vineyards was another vague in regards to the chocolate and wine pairings, but they promised, “At Heisen House we’ll be sharing the secrets of creating the perfect wine and chocolate pairing and will combine a unique confection with each of our wines to illustrate how when paired correctly, both are even better!” This sounded exactly like what happened at the Rusty Grape Vineyard last year, so they had my attention even though it wasn’t specific. I had also never been there, so another reason to go. The last winery, English Estates, was another one I had not yet been to. They were teaming up with Missionary Chocolates to serve truffles, and they also offered to have a photo taken of you and your sweetheart to take home.

That gave me a list of four wineries to visit over two days.

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