As much as I love crafting cocktails, it’s actually wine I reach for most often; there is definitely something about the ease of preparation that sees it win that battle but it’s not just that. I simply love wine. I’m a bit shocked as I start to organize and pack for an eventual move to see just how much wine I have. I’m not a collector, just a drinker yet if I see something intriguing I might buy it even if the shelves at home are stocked…and right now I would say 50 bottles is ‘stocked.’
So when I was asked by Cheryl Indelicato, the Proprietor of HandCraft Wines if I would like to sample some of their wines, I might have hesitated until I saw the recipe that had been included in her message. Pinot Noir? Chocolate? Together? Oh yeah; I thought this I must try.
The Handcraft Pinot Noir is a medium bodied wine with gorgeous cherry, vanilla and strawberry aromas followed by ripe black cherry, sweet spice, vanilla and chocolate flavors. Delicious on its own but even more, how perfect does that sound combined with chocolate. I’ve held wine and chocolate tastings in my home and it’s fun to pair the two but this is even easier; they’re paired together in this one simple but sublime dish.
How about a simple Valentine’s gift of wine and chocolate…but in this case some homemade brownies that have been kissed with Pinot? I think nothing says ‘I love you’ more than the effort you make and really…who doesn’t love brownies! These are rich with toasted walnuts too and a fabulous glaze with some more wine in the mix. Perfect? Maybe more than perfect; these are seriously divine brownies…they need a new name, something much more elegant. While I enjoyed my last one today while writing this post, they are the perfect brownie to enjoy with a glass of the HandCraft wine. Deep, dark chocolate is every so slightly accented with the Pinot Noir; this is no kids treat but a decadently rich adult dessert; they shot quickly to the top of my list of brownie favorites.
The wine itself is a winner in my book too. HandCraft Wines are owned by Cheryl Indelicato; a member of a family that has numerous grape-growing and wine-making facilities in California. You might have enjoyed their wine before without knowing because many wineries purchase finished new wines from an Indelicato winery and finish it during the aging process; not an uncommon practice in the industry.
Cheryl is a master at understanding the nuances of a wine and how to blend them to appeal to wider audiences. From that experience evolved the HandCraft series. Though blending other varieties with Pinot Noir is not the norm, Cheryl still went that route and her HandCraft 2010 Pinot Noir blends 76 percent pinot noir, 9 percent tempranillo, 6 percent petit verdot, 6 percent sangiovese and 3 percent petite sirah. The aromas and especially the long and fruity finish made it a perfect choice to blend with chocolate, elevating the flavor without any overpowering ‘wine’ taste to be had…this was a great little wine at an equally great price point. That Cheryl also contributes a percentage of the profits derived from the sale of her HandCraft wines to the fight against breast cancer is a pure bonus. Try them; try this brownie; you will thank me, I promise.
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1tsp vanilla
- ½ cup butter, melted
- 2 Tbsp Handcraft Pinot Noir
- ¾ cup Ghirardelli sweet ground cocoa
- ⅔ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup chopped, toasted walnuts
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 oz unsweetened chocolate
- 4½ Tbsp granulated sugar
- 3 Tbsp HandCraft Pinot Noir
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Combine eggs with sugar and vanilla; add butter and wine. Stir cocoa with flour, baking powder and salt. Combine with egg mixture; add nuts. Spread into greased 8 x 8-inch pan.
- Bake 25 to 30 minutes.
- Melt butter over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and add chocolate, sugar and wine. Continue heating over low heat stirring often, until mixture is smooth - don't let it boil.
- Spoon hot icing over fresh brownies and let stand for a minimum of an hour; 12 hours is best.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a bottle of wine to sample and use for this recipe however all commentary is my own.