Info Details
Country USA   
Type Flavored   (Wine; 65% cacáo-content)
Strain Amazon   
Source Ghana   
Flavor Naked   (with Crossover pretense)
Style Industrial      
Napa has about as much to do with chocolate as Greenwich, CT -- home to famed entertainers, all-star athletes & superclass hedge fund managers -- does low-income housing (fortunately for them, food stamps & subsidies -- the 1%'s contribution to offsetting unlivable wages -- keeps most people in the Bronx). Both Greenwich & the Bronx draft off the other to their own benefit (e.g., subprime mortgages).

Oh, yeah, right, k, got it... wine-infused chocolate. Like drinking & driving, a perilous idea, that often winds up in a dead-end of clash-crash mashups; an accident that already happened.

But exploration is hard-wired in the DNA so for those who insist to scratch the itch, forget fear & uploading logarithms, charts, classifications, spider-graphs & more guidelines on the latest app that juxtapose flavor combinations for the "perfect match". They rarely work -- for dating or food; leading mostly to "appathy".

Just go ahead, develop an instinctive sense for what succeeds or, more likely, fails. And remember, even while in a coma, seriously bad choices can lead to a "teachable moment".

Here's to a happy accident.

Bon appetite et bon voyage.

Autopsy brain-scan after Napa Chocolate by Van Leer?
Appearance   4.1 / 5
Color: dirt brown
Surface: idealized by The Machine
Temper: semi-gloss
Snap: buttons up; straight edge
Aroma   7.2 / 10
teases gianduia praliné only to yield to coconut shells, vanilla, heavy wood plank
Mouthfeel   13.4 / 15
Texture: silken
Melt: uptempo
Flavor   40.6 / 50
vanilla -> standard baseline cocoa -> flash red blush, an interruptus causing some wood barks & bite -> calmed by coconut cream expressing more cocoa with a tannic dusting -> brown butter soothes it further to air smoked pignola & pimento
Quality   14.8 / 20
Van Leer owner Barry Calebaut claims "fine Ghana origin". Re: luxury Toyota... bulk-grade cocoa married to bulk grape vino. Neither stand much of a chance on their own.

Together, however, they tell a different story.

Wine gives it more than just a little color alone; it interlines the chocolate so that the duo galvanize those smoke notes at the finale, a combination roast (cocoa) / ferment (alcohol). And just a drop or two (virtually homeopathic) to keep this kid-legal. That's what makes it work. Higher levels of spirit could've amplified the heat.

Sure, the mid-point undergoes some friction but cocoa butter mediates & 35% sugar rushes in to counteract technical flaws (over-roasting; strip conching) & any uncomplimentary flavors.

As oenophiles wuv to say, 'felicitous'.

Reviewed March 26, 2013


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