3 Delicious Wine and Chocolate Pairings

3 Delicious Wine and Chocolate Pairings

Wine and chocolate seem like a natural pairing. Both are aphrodisiacs. Both contain flavanols known for their antioxidant properties. But maybe you’ve discovered a bitter taste when the wine you drank clashed with your chocolate. Yuck.

But there is a way to successfully pair the two.

It’s all about choosing the right wine with the right chocolate. And when that happens… Oh, what a beautifully decadent pair!

Just a few wine and chocolate pairing tips:

  1. Taste from light to dark for the chocolate or the wine.
  2. Start with wine slightly sweeter than the chocolate (“sweet” can mean fruit-forward flavors).
  3. Pair lighter, more elegant chocolates with lighter-bodied wine. And stronger chocolates with full-bodied wines.
  4. Consider other ingredients in the chocolate (like nuts, fruit, caramel, and salt) and how those flavors will interact with the wine.
  5. Think of wine as another ingredient – it should highlight and allow the subtle flavors of the chocolate to emerge.

Let’s now nibble on the 3 top chocolates and their best wine pairings.

White Chocolate

White chocolate is not considered a “true” chocolate since it lacks cacao. That’s the yummy brown ingredient with all the flavanols. But it’s still a favorite – especially when dipping strawberries.

White chocolate is more mellow than other chocolates. You’ll often discover notes of butter, cream, or honey in the chocolate.

When choosing a wine, look for a Rosé or Riesling on the sweeter end to help cleanse your tongue of the rich flavors. It also pairs nicely with other sweet wines like Sherry, Moscato d’Asti, or Orange Muscat.

Milk Chocolate 

Milk chocolate is made with chocolate, milk, and sugar. And has flavor notes of brown sugar, vanilla, and cream. 

With its smooth characteristics and creaminess, milk chocolate pairs well with light to medium-bodied wines with ripe fruit profiles. The lighter body and silky tannins of Pinot Noir and the medium-bodied Merlot are excellent pairings. Riesling is great to pair with a “darker,” richer milk chocolate.

And if you prefer something bubbly, champagne works wonderfully with milk chocolate-covered strawberries. The bubbles and acidity highlight the fruit flavors!

Dark Chocolate

The biggest differences between dark chocolate and milk chocolate are 3 ingredients. Dark chocolate requires no milk, has minimal sugar, and has a minimum of 35% cacao solid content (milk chocolate can have as low as 10%). With a higher cacao content and lower sugar, dark chocolate can be more bitter.

So these intense flavors and earthy, fruity undertones need robust aromas from a full-bodied wine.

Cabernet Sauvignon with its black fruit flavor and bold profile pairs well with drier, darker chocolates. Zinfandel is another wine that can handle the intensity of dark chocolate. And if your chocolate is 55% cacao, reach for a bottle of Merlot. 

You’re now ready to create your own chocolate and wine flight! 

Sign up for Rove Estate’s newsletter to learn more about wine and other delicious pairings. Slainte!

How to Drink Like a European: The Benefits of Moderate Wine Drinking

How to Drink Like a European: The Benefits of Moderate Wine Drinking

The start of a new year often means the start of new habits. And for some, those new habits start with a “dry January” to give their mind and body a break. And also a chance to reset and reflect on the influence of alcohol in their lives with mental clarity – whether they drink moderately or feel they have a healthy relationship with alcohol.

But when January ends, what’s the next step? 

We believe you can still enjoy the wine you love and have a healthy relationship with alcohol by embracing a life of moderation. There are many benefits to drinking wine and other European cultures have learned how to weave moderate wine consumption into their lifestyles without compromising their health.

So whether you’re taking a break from alcohol or are looking to reset your habits, read on to learn more about wine, moderation, and how to enjoy life like a European.

The benefits of moderate wine drinking

What is moderate wine drinking?

Moderate alcohol drinking means up to 1 drink a day for women and up to 2 drinks a day for men. For wine, a “drink” means 5 fluid ounces (148 milliliters).

So yes, you could drink a daily glass of wine based on these guidelines. But it’s not a bad idea to give your body a break by skipping a day or 2.

What are the health benefits of drinking wine?

In moderation, wine is the healthiest choice of any other alcoholic beverage – with red wine edging out white wine.

With its high levels of antioxidants – called polyphenols – wine has shown to lower bad cholesterol, keep your heart healthy, regulate blood sugar, reduce the risk of cancer, reduce the risk of depression, and has positive effects on the digestive system (to name a few things).

Wine drinking in other countries

Other countries seem to understand the benefits of wine and have adopted moderate wine drinking into their cultures.

In France, Spain, and Italy, wine drinking is a social activity paired with food. It’s not about getting drunk. It’s about enjoying the food you’re eating and the people you’re with. Often, over an hour or two, they’ll drink 1 or 2 glasses of wine. And when the meal is done, most will stop drinking altogether.

So as your dry January comes to a close, start thinking like a European by only drinking your wine when it’s paired with a meal and good company. You’ll reap the health benefits of wine and good food, along with the psychological benefits from social interaction.

Healthy dishes to pair with wine

The beauty of wine is that it comes in many varieties that can paired with many foods. And to help keep you focused on embracing a life of moderation, here are a few ideas for healthy dishes to pair with your next glass of wine.

Salmon with Rosé

Whether you grill, poach, or bake your salmon, Rosé is the perfect choice to balance the rich, oily layers of the fish. Try this grilled salmon or this pan-seared salmon.

Chicken with Chardonnay

Chardonnay and chicken make a happy marriage. Oaked Chardonnay can handle more intense dishes, while Unoaked Chardonnay pairs well with crisp, delicate foods. Try this roasted chicken or this healthy chicken piccata.

Vegetables with Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a versatile wine that can handle just about anything – so it makes it a wonderful choice for a vegetarian meal. Try this creamy vegetable risotto or this portobello mushroom burger.

At Rove Estate, we wish you a happy, healthy new year! Slainte!

Rove Estate’s 2022 Wine Lover’s Holiday Gift Guide

Everyone loves a good holiday cocktail, but nothing beats the simplicity of a great glass of wine. Uncork the bottle, let it breathe, pour, sip, ah! So whether you’re going to Mom’s this Christmas or playing host yourself, we’ve put together a wine gift guide to make your gift-giving simple this holiday. 

So sit back with a glass of your favorite wine and get ready to shop!

Here are 7 wine gift ideas for this holiday season!

For the Sunshine Mom – Rove Estate 2021 Riesling 

Sunshine moms bring light and warmth to all of those around them. That’s why our 2021 Riesling is the perfect gift for her. The notes of bright green apple and lime zest are as bright as her smile. And its aromas of stone fruits and poached pear are as sweet as the memories of her brushing your hair. Plus, a Riesling is a versatile wine, enjoyed all year round – just like your mom!

Want to impress her even more? Share with your mom some great food pairing ideas to enjoy with her bottle of Riesling.

For the Cigar-Loving Dad – Rove Estate 2020 Merlot

So last year you got your dad a box of those cigars he really wanted. But your mom wasn’t too happy about it – so now your dad is banished to the back porch whenever he smokes. And your mom has made you promise not to get him anymore. 

So get him our barrel-aged Merlot instead. The black cherry, plum, and dark chocolate flavors mix well with the taste of tobacco leaves. And maybe if you bring over one of these dishes to pair with the Merlot, your mom will let your dad enjoy the cigar inside… Yeah, probably not.

For the Wild & Free-Spirited Sister – Rove Estate 2021 Gewürztraminer

Your sister has 3 different flower tattoos, an assortment of earrings, and never seems to mind when things don’t go as planned. And though her free-flowing approach to life drives you crazy, she reminds you to let go of control sometimes. Which is just like our Gewürztraminer. 

The notes of grilled pineapple, mango, and ginger are as wild and free-spirited as she is. Plus, when you pair it with one of these dishes and share the Gewürztraminer, she’ll have a chance to convince you to book that trip to Thailand the two of you have been talking about.

For the Adventurous Brother – Rove Estate 2021 Pinot Noir

Your brother is like a Pinot Noir wine – popular, adaptable, and adventurous. So whether he’s backpacking through the Appalachian mountains or joyriding on the dunes of Arizona, he’s going to appreciate a bottle of this Pinot Noir. Not only will he love its versatility, but the Michigan cherries, cocoa, and clove may remind him of the time he went white-water rafting in Colorado.

And if you’re feeling adventurous, suggest one of these dishes for him to cook up for the 2 of you as he tells you about his latest plans.

For the “Go With the Flow” Auntie – Rove Estate 2021 Pinot Grigio

There’s something amazing about your aunt. You’ve been able to tell her anything since you were a teenager – she listens, offers some words of wisdom, and then allows you to go with your own flow. She’s a lot like our Pinot Grigio – well-rounded, pleasant, and a sparkle of acidity. 

But this time offer some of your own words of wisdom with the Pinot Grigio: Tell her about some of the amazing food pairings she can try out with her wine.

For the On-Point Mother-in-law – Rove Estate Reserve Oaked Chardonnay

You’ve always been impressed with your mother-in-law’s ability to look stylish no matter the event. Even when you’re meeting for an early breakfast. You barely had time to brush your teeth – how did your MIL find the time to put together such a great outfit?

So why don’t you do the impressing this time by gifting her a bottle of our Chardonnay. The tropical, creamy palette of our 2021 Oaked Chardonnay will seem as on point as your MIL’s shoes. 

Want to really impress her? Pick up a bottle of our 2018 Oaked Chardonnay. She’ll start to think you’re the one on point.

For the Sweetie Pie Friend – Rove Estate 2021 Select Harvest Riesling

Your friend is the epitome of the best type of friend: kind, thoughtful, and always there when you need her. Whether you need someone to help paint your bedroom or talk you out of getting a third cat, she’s the one you call – because you know she’ll show up every time. 

And a good friend like that deserves something special and select, like our Select Harvest Riesling. The notes of lime zest, mandarin oranges, and sugared lemon peel are as wonderfully perfect and flavorful as your friend. 

And why not show her even more appreciation by cooking up a recipe to pair with a bottle (or 2!) of our amazing Riesling.

At Rove Estate, we’re wishing you a joyful holiday season – from our family to yours. Sláinte!

The Challenges and Rewards of Raising Farm Kids in a Modern World

We talk a lot about farming through our social media and website since it’s such a big part of the way we live. We feel grateful and privileged to be a part of the farming community and especially a part of the greater Gallagher family farm.  

The Gallagher family has been farming the Traverse City region for over five generations. For over 140 years, they’ve been cultivating the land, growing crops, and raising livestock. It’s a beautiful way of life – full of hard work and commitment. 

Farm life is also simple. And we do our best to practice simplicity in our daily lives, especially in how we raise our children. 

In today’s modern world, parents are constantly combating the lure of screens and technology. Instant gratification has become so prevalent in our society that we don’t have to move much more than a finger to get anything you can imagine. One simple swipe or click on your phone can bring dinner, groceries, clothes, and whatever else you want, in a matter of days or even hours.  

Our family is no different. Sometimes we find ourselves feeling like we are swimming upstream against modern-day conveniences and comfort. 

Being a farmer in a modern world is challenging since farms are anything but instant gratification. And for our kids it can be even more challenging since they’re growing up between the two worlds of modern life and farm life.

Farming is a lifestyle that can feel much different than modern life since it requires 100% commitment, and ping pongs you through periods of tremendous satisfaction followed by periods of frustration and sometimes even despair. 

But between the “feast” and the “famine,” there is a rhythm to farming that brings out the best in us. That reminds us to be grateful for the day and appreciate the wonders of Mother Nature. 

These are lessons we want our children to learn and embrace.

In the modern way of life, many of our kids’ friends and their families are enjoying the wonders and perks of living in Northern Michigan during the summer – going to the beach, boating, and camping, to name a few favorite activities. It’s not that we don’t enjoy these same perks or we don’t enjoy our beautiful region because we do. 

But the farm comes first. 

And therefore, so does the work since the rhythm of our lifestyle mirrors Mother Nature and the work the farm requires. It can be difficult as a child to understand why you must spend your summer tending to a farm while your friends seem to have endless freedom to explore and play. A beautiful Saturday in July typically means we need to work and tend to our responsibilities first thing instead of going to the lake. 

Only when our responsibilities are done can we play or relax. 

It’s a hard lesson to understand when you’re small, but it’s an important lesson that will serve our children as they become adults.

Embracing a lifestyle that is in alignment with Mother Nature can sometimes feel limiting. But we have found it has enhanced the quality of our life. 

Yes, following the seasons may mean we work a lot during the warmer months, but we also get to have more freedom during the colder months. That’s when we are spontaneous and create our own adventures. And we find so much joy in the changes in weather. Our family’s favorite days are when there is a thunderstorm or any other natural event that prevents us from working outside. 

When we are having an “off” day in our home or when attitudes are crabby, our first course of action is to go outside. Going on a golf cart ride to check on the vines or cherry blossoms, hiking Rove Point Trail, weeding the garden, or taking a quick dip in the family pond are a few of the remedies we have found to cure the mental blahs. 

Our kids might resist “working” or being forced to go outside (their words, not ours), but EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. everyone is happier and more peaceful after.  

We have redefined the word “work” within our family culture, and that’s an important piece to acknowledge. We actively embrace the sentiment that work is beautiful. It is how we create the life we want to live. 

Why has the word “work” become negative? Why does it create a feeling of punishment in our modern society? 

To work is to live. And it can be beautiful and hard at the same time. 

And it’s not a punishment. It’s an opportunity to dig deep and evolve. The only way to teach this to our children is to live by example. So we actively check ourselves and pay attention to our words and actions surrounding “work.” 

There is simplicity in this lifestyle we share with our children, and in that simplicity, we find peace and fulfillment. 

Having this truth be our family’s compass and showing our children that just because our lifestyle might seem a little unconventional or counter-culture, there is tremendous value in “turning down” the noise and eliminating distractions of modern conveniences.

Have you found ways to shutter the noise of the modern world for your family and children? Please share any tips you have in the comments below!

If you’re interested in learning more about farm life or the Gallagher family, make sure to sign-up for our newsletter.