I got the chance to try these J. Emanuel (not to be confused with Jay Manuel) wine truffles as free samples from them, via Chocolate.
Wine and truffle pairings are pretty common in these foodie fad days, but I think truffles made with wine are a fairly rare treat. These are all made with a 74% dark chocolate shell/ganache base.
The box contained two Biale Zinfandel truffles, one from 2004 and 2005. Each was marked with a squiggly Z.
The 2004 had a thick and pasty ganache. The grapey wine flavor immediately came through – it was sweet and fruity but had a white wine lightness to it. The finish was lovely, with notes of peach.
The 2005 tasted completely different, despite being made from the same brand and grape type. It was darker and boozier, with notes of plum, raisin, and other dark red/purple fruits.
Trefethen (what a mouthful!) Chardonnay 2005 had a sprinkle of salt on top. It had a strong, fresh grape flavor with light alcoholic undertones.
Schramsberg NV Champagne was marked with the imprint of a circle. Its soft ganache was caramel flavored (but not textured; absolutely zero chew to this) and coolly, fattily melted away in my mouth. I didn’t get any champagne flavors, but it was delicious as it was, with lovely, complex burnt sugar flavors.
The Joseph Phelps Syrah 2002, the one with a cross, was my least favorite of the bunch. It had an extremely dry, almost paste-like texture. It had light raisin overtones mixed with woodsy notes.
The finish was strong on booze and almost chalky. A light astringency in the immediate finish built after the chocolate disappeared and became rather unpleasant as time went on.
The Palmaz Cabernet 2004, which had arcs draped across its corners, had a light booziness. I didn’t like it at first – it tasted of dry dustiness – but then a nice bright pop of cherry fruitiness came through and redeemed it.
The Silverado Merlot 2004 was marked with an M, and there were two in the box. After tasting it, I knew why – it was the best one of the bunch!
It had the strongest scent of all the truffles. It first tasted hugely brightly of cherry and strawberry.
Then, the fruitiness deepened before melding into notes of booze with just a hint of salt. Finally, a nice chocolate finish comes through.
I adored the amazing complexity of the Merlot and give it a ZOMG! The assortment as a whole gets an OMG, with only the syrah missing the mark for me. My friends and I loved tasting these and have already discussed who these would be a great gift for (our moms, to start!).