There is a reason that chocolate and wine are a perfect pair. Both are two of my favorite items to consume. Both enhance the flavors of anything that either is paired with. Both start off as a fruit (cacao beans or grapes). Both are products of their environment, and if grown with the proper care, it is a fairly simplistic process to create the final result. As Erik Olsen at Kokomo Winery stated in an interview with The Wine Spies, his wine making philosophy is to “try my best to keep my own personal thumbprint off the wines I make. Instead, I try to make wines that show the terroir or convey a real sense of the place where they were grown. I want the fruit and the vineyard to really shine through.”
At the Wine 2.0 Expo last Thursday, I met up with a few folks at TCHO chocolate. They were the one of the only non-alcohol related brands at the event and it was a welcomed booth at the wine/technology event. Back when I was working with Scharffen Berger on their pr efforts, I took a great interest in the story of TCHO.
It is a new chocolate brand that started last year in “beta” form, meaning they sent out samples of their chocolate in plain brown packs to members of the media and bloggers. No fancy packaging or gimmicks – just quality chocolate. It was such a great PR move in my eye. A bit of mystery about the brand before releasing it to the public is a gutsy move on their part and thankfully they have quality chocolate to back it up. It is simple chocolate without any added flavors and currently comes in 4 different varieties. Each with it’s own characteristic. Chocolaty, nutty, fruity and citrus.
Now, they have a great new high-tech design (TCHO 1.0), a retail location in San Francisco and can be found in many different tasting rooms and gourmet shops in Sonoma and Napa Counties (including Jimtown and the Cheese Shop in Healdsburg). Go to TCHO IS to see TCHO’s philosophy, it is a fun read.
They are branching out into the wine and technology world so it is logical to see them at Wine 2.0, which was created as a mixture of both. I look forward to seeing TCHO 2.0* and them diving more into the social media world where they are a perfect fit with the bacon loving blogger crowd!
*I think I may know of someone who would love to help… Cough, cough… Amy and team.
A winery that really stood out for me at the Expo was Round Pond Estate, a Napa Valley winery out of Rutherford. With a few limited-production varietals and handpicked fruit, olive oils and red wine vinegars, they are the type of family owned Napa winery that I can respect. The wine was made to respect to the fruit and the vineyards, same with their olive oils.
Miles MacDonnell, who runs the winery, is the reason that I even visited the booth in the first place. He was right next to the Titus booth and he asked me to “stick my finger out.” Honestly, how could I not listen to this guy? He placed a drop of the Estate’s Myer Lemon Olive Oil on my pointer finger and poured me their 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. I was shocked that the combination of the lemony olive oil and the cherry cab actually paired very well together. The cab mellowed out the tanginess of the lemon and vice versa. Both products were very clean tasting, with no heavy, lingering aftertaste. The pairing was a great treat, especially considering what usually happened when people ask you to pull their fingers.
Tastings are by reservation only, so if you are headed out to Rutherford, give them a call.
Once again, the Wine 2.0 boys threw a great party. I met so many wonderful new contacts and Twitter friends via the plasma screens streaming tweets all night. I do look forward to the next event and the continuation of the fusion of wine (food) and technology through social media and beyond.
Now, I am hungry!