Banyuls is not well known in the United States. It's a fortified dessert wine similar to Port that's made in the south of France. It pairs beautifully with dark chocolate and is the kind of thing that you'd love to sip on around a fire in the winter. So when this bottle arrived on a hot summer day several months ago, I knew that I couldn't do it justice.
This past weekend I was invited to a dinner party hosted by my friend Melissa, and I offered to bring a dozen wines with the one request that dessert feature dark chocolate so that we could properly enjoy the Banyuls. I thought that we might just have a few squares of 80% cacao, but she went all out and made a torte from scratch. Bonus points for the banana pie!
I was excited to serve the wine to a group of people that had never had it before, and the bottle emptied quickly.
2012 M. Chapoutier Banyuls
Banyuls AOC, France
$30/500mL bottle, 16% abv.
Intense aromas of stewed fruit, raisins, and black cherry. Dark fruit flavors and sweet but not cloying. The dark chocolate provides a powerful contrast of bitter notes which makes you go back and forth between the dessert and the wine, activating all parts of your palate. Highly recommended for the holiday season.
Note: This wine was provided as a sample for review.