Pairing Pros/Recipes

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Castle Vineyards

Columnist: Julie Fadda
February, 2008 Issue

Julie Fadda
All articles by columnist



  Castle Vineyards


  Molten Chocolate Cherry
Castle Vineyards Owners John and Kathleen Sweazey  

    Winemaker Vic McWilliams found his calling when he was invited to a friend’s house to help make a barrel of wine in 1978. And what started as a hobby soon blossomed into a career. He founded Castle Vineyards in the early 1990s, and its first commercial vintage was produced in 1993. The winery now produces 5,600 cases annually and has recently been acquired by owners John and Kathleen Sweazey. McWilliams remains behind the winemaking wheel, where he crafts 5,600 cases of small lot wines from vineyards owned or managed by Castle. The winery offers Pinot Noir, Viognier, Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, Merlot, Zinfandel, Late Harvest Viognier and Syrah Port.

    Castle’s Sonoma Valley Port is made from 100 percent Syrah. It has ripe, dark cherry and vanilla wafer flavors that round out with a chocolate and coffee finish and a touch of cedar. It’s paired here with molten chocolate cherry cakes—how sweet it is.

Molten Chocolate Cherry Cakes
For the sauce:

1 16-ounce bag of frozen pitted sweet cherries, thawed with the juice

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup Castle Syrah Port

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Note: You can use the extra sauce this makes for ice cream topping
For the cakes:

1/2 cup sugar

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

4 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate (60% cacao or semisweet chips)

1/2 cup unsalted butter (sliced)

4 large egg yolks

2 large eggs

4 teaspoons all purpose flour



For the sauce, place all ingredients in a heavy-bottom pot and heat slowly until sugar dissolves. Simmer until reduced and thick, about 10 minutes. (Refrigerate now if making ahead of time.)

For the cakes, butter and sugar four 3/4 cup ramekins.  Whisk the cocoa and sugar together. Stir chocolate and butter in heavy-bottom pan over very low heat until both are melted and mixture is smooth. Take off heat and add cocoa and sugar mixture. Whisk in eggs, yolks and flour. Divide batter among ramekins. (Refrigerate now if making ahead of time.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake cakes, uncovered, until edges are set but center is still shiny (this is the hardest part…do not overcook or they won’t be molten).  Start checking the cakes at 13 minutes; 15 to 17 minutes should be enough, depending on if they were cold going in.

A tester inserted in the center should come out with wet batter on it.  While the cakes are baking, warm the sauce if it’s chilled, either in the microwave or in a sauce pot. Pool the sauce on four plates with a couple of cherries on each.

Loosen the cakes’ sides with a knife and unmold them in the center of each plate. Drizzle some sauce and a cherry or two on top. You may also dust with powdered sugar and add a mint leaf (but if you don’t have either, no one will notice!).

Serves 4


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