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World First Pinot Chocolat

kim crawford pinot chocolate - april 1 2009
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EMBARGO. Not for broadcast or publication before Midnight March 31

March 31 2009
Kim Crawford Wines launches World First Pinot Chocolat

Just in time for Easter, New Zealand has become the first country in the world to successfully combine chocolate and wine – a decadent marriage of quality and taste.

The French use it to seduce, the English for comfort. Mexicans revel in its healing properties and the Aztecs thought it more precious than gold. Trust the Kiwis to blend chocolate in to a drink.

“We are very excited about this new varietal,” says Erica Crawford, co-founder of Kim Crawford Wines. “The 09 pinot chocolat is unique and another world first for New Zealand.”

Drew Redmond of the Kim Crawford Wines team developed the revolutionary new drink under a shroud of secrecy. Using the finest Ghana cocoa beans, Redmond subjected the ingredients to a wide range of pressures and emulsifiers.

Following eight gooey months of testing, they extracted the essence of chocolate from cocoa beans at the right acidity to successfully infuse with the pinot grapes.

“There was some controversy in the beginning,” says Erica. “Although it tastes delicious, many stalwarts in the Kim Crawford Wines team wanted to veto the idea as they felt it would mar the integrity of the brand.

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“However, in the interests of starting something new, we decided to emulate our forefathers who brought the first vines to this country. We threw caution to the wind and jumped in.”

Geoff Scott, renowned chef and advocate for food and wine pairing, is delighted with this leap forward in the wine industry. Geoff was pleasantly surprised by the layers of taste to the new Pinot.

“New Zealanders should be proud that we are on the cutting edge of a new tasting experience. The Kim Crawford Pinot Chocolat is a fine balance between style and substance,” he says.

“The rich, bitter chocolate essence is a great counterpoint for the sweet fruit notes of the Pinot grape and I look forward to serving it to my customers at Vinnies.”

Once poured, the difference between the colour of the pinot chocolate and the pinot noir is subtle. The wine retains the walnut plum of the red grape but, when held up to the light, you can see just a hint of russet.

The consistency is a little more viscous than the Pinot – which consumers may take a while to get used to - but it hangs nicely on the glass. The weight adds an air of decadence.

Kim Crawford Wines has timed the release for Easter. The production team is working on a limited edition, Easter-egg style foil wrapped packaging for the first 1,000 bottles. The remainder will look much like the rest of Kim Crawford wines, except for the quirky new foil lid.

The Pinot Chocolate is the first in Kim Crawford Wine’s ‘Let’s Start Something’ initiative and there are plans to add to the Vino Chocolat range with seasonal flavours.

The Sauvignon Blanc Chocolat will be a treat on the ski slopes this July with its distinctive winter white colour. The Suisse Chardonnay will be a perfect accompaniment for springtime with its clever balance of sweet and buttery notes. Finally, the indulgent Merlot Lait chocolat will arrive just in time for the festive season.
Kim Crawford Wines is in discussion with all major supermarkets and wine stores to have the Vino Chocolat range placed in their own category. Look out for the new range, on the newly-titled Vino Chocolat shelves this Easter.

ends

For a peek at the new wine go to: www.kimcrawfordwines.co.nz/pinotchocolat
(also under Embargo until Midnight)

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