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Monthly Archives: April 2013

A Paradise Pair (Almost)

A few beautiful weekends ago, Sam and I used our Living Social coupon for a wine tasting at Paradise Springs winery in Virginia. I would love to walk you through the verdant estate and describe each wine, but I don’t have great notes. It’s a bit rude to write down everything your hostess says as she serves you the fine wines. Instead, I bought two bottles and I will feature each of them here with a pairing. You should visit the winery though, it is wonderful. There was a family having a party for a one yr-old there…and that family is legend to me now.


I also did a lousy job taking photos of the candy and the bottle. I have an excuse, but you’re not interested in that. You are sick of my excuses and complaints. I don’t blame you.

The Candy: Riesen (terrible stock image since I bought the bagged ones)


Riesen (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

The Wine: Paradise Springs, Norton 2011. There’s no good image, so here is some wine with our cheese plate…


The Dream:

You may not know about Norton…I didn’t. Here’s a good short description from the Paradise Springs website:

“The Real American Grape® was first cultivated in Richmond, VA in 1830. Having the highest concentration of Antioxidants in any red grape, Norton is “the healthiest wine you can drink”! This distincly dark-colored wine has jammy black fruit flavors such as blackberry & plum and finishes with notes of baking spices.”

SO American right? Anyway, they cultivated Norton for a long and they neglected it but it made a comeback baby. I find it pretty interesting, so you should read up more in this Wiki article.

Riesen is a chewy, chocolatey affair and Norton is sharp and dry. Its tart flavor is reminiscent of the bitter skin of a green apple, which I imagine is caused by the baking spices. Could this distinct wine cut through the rich Riesen chocolate and leave the palate refreshed?

The Reality:



I was wrong. The sweet Riesen makes the dynamic wine bitter and unpleasant. I am not a huge fan and wouldn’t “ship” this pair. I thought Riesens had more of a dark chocolate flavor, but they are definitely way too sweet. I think a more bitter chocolate could be a good match here since anything sweet is just going to emphasize the bitterness of the wine. Perhaps a hint of coffee could be beneficial.

I guess we have a rematch.

Take away: Please, please try Norton when you have a chance! It might be a bit pricey, but it is a unique grape that deserves to dance upon your tongue…was that creepy to say?

Arak-ing Good Time


Have you had Arak? It’s a delicious liquor from the Middle East. It tastes like licorice and is made from grapes. So it’s like a combo of candy and wine!

I will have a post up tomorrow.

Classy Bunny

I just got this excellent print! Do you like it? As you may know, I’m a proud bunny owner. This classy bun just may be my mascot. Once I’m on my computer I will provide a link to the artist.


All About Karou


Cats. Do you like cats? If not, this may not be the post for you, because that’s kind of the theme. I bought a cat recently and yes, she took a lot of my money and my heart too. I am pretty smitten and of course I will show you a picture. Her name is Karou she’s sweet as a button.

Oh Hello. Rub my belly?

Oh Hello. Rub my belly?

The jump off point for the pairing was the Ecuadorian cranberry chocolate bar that my cousin gave me when I saw her play at the National Cathedral. I would link you to her website but you could probably find me through that and well, we’d never fall out of our drunken stupor. Suffice it to say she’s really talented. I mean, she played St. John’s Passion at the National Cathedral right?

I felt like one chocolate bar wasn’t enough, so I added Ghiradelli raspberry chocolate. Cranberry and raspberry work well together since they are both tart and sweet. And the wine..

But I don’t think I will say anymore…it’s a surprise…

The Wine: Gatao, Vinho Verde



The Candy: Pacari Organic Chocolate, Cranberry & Ghiradelli Raspberry Chocolate Squares



The Dream:

When I got the cranberry chocolate, I imagined frozen cranberries in a nice cool white wine. I could taste the cranberry bursting in my mouth and combining with a crisp chardonnay or pinot blanc.

But I couldn’t decide while I was at the market! I was fresh off the cat purchase and feeling pretty frisky, so I grabbed the cat wine thinking…well, this will be terrible.

I was wrong.



The Reality:

The wine is sweet, dry and slightly tart with bubbles that pop on your tongue. It is a nice wine and I am delighted it is so cheap.

The chocolate is rich with a chewy center of cranberry. It makes the wine soft and a bit sweeter but in a good way. The flavor and integrity of the wine isn’t dominated by the chocolate.

The raspberry chocolate squares area bit different. The wine gets more tart but it isn’t as crisp. I don’t like it quite as much.

The Take Away:

Cranberry chocolate with an ideal white is delicious and I can recommend it without any hesitations. It’s been awhile since I could give two thumbs up, but I guess Karou is my lucky charm.


My next post won’t be a pairing..something a bit different! I am just full of surprises aren’t I?

Once Upon A Vine

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Check out this bottle! Isn’t it rad?