Creamy New Wine-Chocolate Drink

ChocoVine

ChocoVine

I Paid: $10.99 for a 750-milliliter bottle (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 3 stars

Marketing: 0 stars

There are two strong, tested, time-honored ways to market wine. The first is to stress the terroir, the vintage, the nobility of the stuff you’re trying to sell. The other is to appeal to the more frugal consumers and laud the stuff as an affable table beverage, great for drinking when you gather friends and family together to eat massive bowls of rustic pasta.

Then there is the ChocoVine approach. First, you play up noted wine nonproducer Holland by sticking a windmill and tulips on the label. Then you explain that the beverage you’re attempting to sell is, as the website states, “a fine French Cabernet subtly combined with a rich dark chocolate from Holland, paired together to create a decadent, silky smooth drink.”

This combination of wine, cream, and chocolate looks and pours like chocolate milk—although, if you hold your glass up to a bright light, you can see traces of red wine amid the Yoo-hoo. As for taste: Holy moly! It’s not wine. It’s not even vaguely wine. It’s something like Kahlúa meets Baileys, a creamy, chocolate-inflected cordial that is almost entirely lacking in fruit or tannins. You can just barely hear the wine gasping for air near the end of each sip, but it’s a minor player, mostly lending the alcohol that gives ChocoVine its 14 percent kick. Chocolate and cream are driving this bus, heading for a comfy party where guests sport appliqué-snowman sweater vests and nosh on Boursin cheese.

So it’s not terrible, as long as you tell yourself one important thing: “I’m not drinking wine. This is not wine.” If you’re looking to blow some minds over the holidays, purchase a bottle, bring it to a party, and watch complicated emotions swirl. Better yet, bring it to a party and put someone else’s name on the card.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow Chowhound on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.

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