The Christmas cellar must-have this year should surely be Rubis wine, which combines two essential ingredients of Christmas: wine and chocolate. I discovered Rubis at their stall in the Crafts and Food Fair at Blenheim Palace today. The chocolate essence is aromatic in smell but subtle in taste. It does not have the sticky sweetness of chocolate liqueur, and the wine has not a hint of bitterness. The wine is fortified with brandy and tastes a bit like port. It won Silver in the 2013 IWSC ( International Wine and Spirits Competition). Even a friend of mine who did not like alcohol loved it. And the bottle looks the part. What more needs to be said? If still in doubt, here’s some tasting notes from Harvey Nichols:
“Mouth-watering aromas of bold cherry fruit, spices, fresh vanilla and chocolate box come forth on an engaging nose, whilst the palate is smooth, rich and velvety with a subtle sweetness and delicious layers of chocolatey flavour. Delicious served either at room temperature in a wine glass, or over ice in a small tumbler, Rubis provides rewarding post dinner drinking or a treat on special occasions.”
Alternatively, if you are brave and prefer to make your own chocolate wine you can try a 18th century recipe from Heston Blumenthal.
For those with lighter wallets, here’s a student-priced equivalent to Rubis: El Pinsapo Rioja Crianza, 75cl, from Tesco’s. Bought for £5.49 on discount from full price £10.99. Not a dessert wine, and its unique flavour is more due to the aroma than the taste.
“Deep garnet colour with aromas of toasted vanilla and spice with a supple mouthfeel and flavours of roasted coffee, red berries and cocoa. Made from Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano and Mazuelo grapes grown in northern Spain’s illustrious Rioja region. Ideal with roast lamb and red meat pasta dishes.”