Europa ChocoVine at Mitsuwa Marketplace
That's right, folks. Combining two of the things we love most, Holland has created ChocoVine: AKA Yoo-Hoo for grown-ups.
The label clearly reads, "The taste of dutch chocolate and fine red wine," and proudly displays "Product of Holland," stamped--not once--but three times on its various surfaces. This makes the fact that you can find it at Mitsuwa Marketplace in Costa Mesa only slightly counter-intuitive.
As far as the "fineness" of the wine goes... well, let's just say that if you squeezed a cup of Hershey's syrup into a $100 bottle of Chianti, that probably don't matter so much. The point is, ChocoVine really is wine; a Cabernet, to be exact.
The chocolate, on the other hand, is a bit questionable. The product's website claims that the wine is mixed with Dutch dark chocolate, but the ingredients on the bottle's label beg to differ. Among the artificial flavors, colors and cream, cacao isn't listed once (cue skeptical cocked eyebrow).
But is it good? Read on to find out!
The ChocoVine bottle is topped with an aluminum cap, much like a bottle of Manischewitz kosher wine. Not too classy, but it's what's on the inside that counts, right?
The color is a little darker than that of Yoo-Hoo, growing opaque around the edges where the wine clings to the glass. The effect triggers a queer sense of intrigue and not-quite-deliciousness reminiscent of the liquid they used to produce the chocolate river in the 1971 rendition of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
Glass of ChocoVine
The liquid pours with a velvety glug, rather than the tinkling of less viscous fluids. There's no use checking out this wine's legs. The cream mixed into the wine glazes the sides of the glass with one swirl, coating it evenly with a thick, clear film.
The smell alone is enough to signal just how strong this beverage is. Containing 14 percent alcohol by volume, this beverage is no joke, packing as much punch as a bottle of straight-up Pinot. The fumes of the alcohol cut distinctly through the syrupy-sweet aroma without carrying along any vestiges of its grape origins.
The flavor is cloyingly sweet as it hits the tongue. When you swallow, you're hit with a mild astringency followed by the creamy aftertaste of what they call "chocolate". The flavor is more similar to Bailey's Irish Whiskey than any wine on the market.
If you or anyone you know is in to super sweet drinks or cocktails, ChocoVine might not be such a bad purchase. at $9.99 a bottle, it certainly has its novelty value, but if you're a serious wine drinker or a person who prefers dryer liquors, good luck getting past the first sip.
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