Weekly Holidaze Drawing: Just leave a comment on any wine-blog entry this month, to win weekly gifts this December.

I’ve been very fortunate to have already received two of these packages, and I can tell you that the experience is completely outstanding.

I’ve written about the sold out package, Wine and Jazz “Paradise” Experience with Norman Brown and Paraiso Vineyards. (Paraiso is Spanish for Paradise.)

I just received the Wine and Jazz “Holiday 2009” Experience, Trippin ‘n’ Rhythm Records and Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineayrds sparkling wines. A delicious little addition to this one is a box of Wine Lover’s Chocolate that pairs well with sparkling wines. The wines in this package are the Gloria Ferrer 2004 Blanc de Blancs and Blanc de Noirs. If you give this gift to a host, you’ve just delivered the party!

The argument about whether or not wine and chocolate are a perfect food combination:

I have to admit, I had fallen into the “not so sure about that” category, until last April.

Then, along came Wine Lover’s Chocolates into my life with a tasting, which are included in this package.

This past April, I organized and executed a panel of vintners at the Florida Winefest. The panel was called “Big Reds and Chocolate Pairings.” One of my Vintners was Greg Lint, the president of Oak Knoll Winery. In a past life, Greg was a chocolatier, so let’s just say Greg’s connected. If anyone could help make this panel a great experience, adding to the vintners and what they had to offer with wine and its flavors, it was going to be my friend Greg Lint.

Greg contacted his friends at Wine Lover’s Chocolates, and they over delivered. In order to do this tasting, they sent ahead what you could purchase in a party tray, and give it your own try. The mixed tray of delicious chocolates was the perfect compliment to wine with our tasting panel. There were six different chocolates that we paired with a Port, Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Petite Sirah, and a Zinfandel. Once we knew what we were going to have available for chocolates, the “Big” reds also included a Pinot from Oak Knoll, because – Hey, why not! It was a wonderful learning experience, and now I know it does work, when paired properly, like all other food and wine pairings. (The right chemistry is the right chemistry.)

Left to right: Greg Lint, Mike Phillips (Michael-David Winery), me, Jeff Miller (Artisan Family of Wines), John Monnich (Silkwood Wines).

THE TASTING: I was astounded at what this company has done, in terms of research and how much cocoa powder in chocolate will pair well with certain kinds of wine. So, we paired wines from Oak Knoll, Michael~David, Artisan Family of Wines, and Silkwood. I didn’t realize, until I had participated in this tasting, how wonderful chocolate can be, when paired with a certain variety with the right amount of cocoa powder.

WINE & JAZZ chocolate: In this case of the one paired with sparklings, it’s white chocolate… (which is only a confection, containing no real cocoa powder, hence the great flavor pairing.)

So… if you guys are wondering about a perfect Wine Lover’s gift, this has to be one of my favorites… Wine, Music, and logo glasses in a beautifully constructed package. You can’t go wrong pleasing someone you care about with a Wine and Jazz “Paradise” experience someone won’t soon forget.

[If this sounds like an advertisement, it isn’t. I don’t work for Wine and Jazz. I’ve just received two of their packages, and I know that each day a package has arrived, my week was made.

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