By Wayne Schutz
Last weekend Alice and I and some friends attended the first “Meet the Maker” tasting and pairing at McGregor Vineyard in Dundee, N.Y. The fabulous chocolatier Cary Becraft of CaryMo Chocolates created three special chocolates to pair with the three wines we tasted.
McGregor is a well know Vineyard in the Finger Lakes AVA. Started in 1971 by Bob and Marge McGregor as a vineyard, McGregor became a winery in 1980 and currently is run by their son John. Offering a spectacular view of Keuka Lake, McGregor offers many award winning whites, reds and roses. Perhaps the most famous wine is the Black Russian Red, which is a blend of Saperavi and Sereksiya Charni . Evan Dawson, in Summer in A Glass writes of the clan gatherings (the wine club) and the homage payed to Russian Red at them.
With a background in baking and pastry arts, Cary discovered her passion and talent for making chocolates while working in the pastry department at River Cafe in Brooklyn. She started making and selling chocolates in 2000 under the label CaryMo and in 2007 moved to the Finger Lakes with her husband Peter, who is the winemaker at Anthony Road Wine Company. All Cary’s chocolates are hand made with the finest all-natural ingredients and the fillings are made using flavoring components from the wines of local wineries.
Meet the Maker is meant to be a series of pairings of McGregor Wines with local producer’s products. At this first one, John introduced the wines followed by Cary talking about the chocolates. They came up with the idea a few months ago and Cary actually sampled the wines first and then designed the chocolates to compliment the wines. “Cary’s Chocolates are Exceptional!” writes Carlo DeVito, wine maker and well know writer. In addition to the paired chocolates, Valentine’s Day boxes were available for sale. My wife wound up with TWO boxes from her.
The three pairings were:
2017 Sparkling Muscat Ottonel paired with a White Chocolate Truffle
A bone dry sparkling white made using the traditional methode champenoise and aged on the lees for a year. It was paired with a while chocolate truffle containing candied grapefruit, clementine and orange blossom.
2016 Pinot Noir paired with Forty Percent Milk Chocolate Truffle
Made from a single clone (Gamay-Beaujolais), this was a fruit forward wine with flavors of red berries and cherry. Paired with a 40% milk chocolate truffle made with Chai tea and dried cherries soaked in cassis.
2016 Black Russian Red paired with Sixty-one Percent Dark Chocolate Truffle
A vintage that is shaping up to be a “classic”, this deep red wine has aromas of black currant, black berry and smoke, which pairs perfectly with a 60% dark chocolate truffle which was made with cranberry soaked in this wine and smoked on a cedar plank. Sage and black currants complete this wonderful truffle.
McGregory Vineyard is located at 5503 Dutch St., Dundee, NY 14837 (https://www.mcgregorwinery.com/). Cary sells her chocolates at several wineries and online at http://www.carymochocolate.com/. Locations for purchase are listed here: http://www.carymochocolate.com/storelocations.html