At the Imbibe Exhibition I came across a stand that was proudly selling and promoting ‘Chocolate Wine’. It is called Rubis and is technically a fortified Tempranillo that is spiked with chocolate essence. Rubis is slightly viscous and is 15% alcohol. It basically tastes like the kirsch chocolates that my Dad used to get from one of his colleagues each Christmas, which I would steal out of the box as a kid, pour the liqueur down the drain and eat the chocolate. Sorry Dad.
It’s tastes more like a liqueur but is promoted as wine and the guy behind the stand was very keen to reaffirm that it was 100% Tempranillo. Actually it tastes like a coffee/chocolate Shiraz on steroids.
Of course it is not ‘wine’ as we know it, as someone has added an artificial flavour to it. But it does beg the question of where the line is when it comes to the coffee Pinotages, mocha Malbecs and Vanilla Chardonnays that have popped up over the last few years.
The distinctive ’flavour’ on those wines is created primarily through the use of oak, which has been part of tradtional winemaking for many years. But when used in such extreme ways and with the sole aim of creating a specific flavour, how different is that really to Rubis adding chocolate essence?