Sweet Vineyard Wedding in Northern California

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Photos by This Love of Yours…Photography

With elegant features like lace and soft pastels, there wasn’t a single charming detail we didn’t love about Jenn & Jim’s sweet Fall vineyard wedding at our Northern California venue.

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Photos by This Love of Yours…Photography

We’re so happy Jenn & Jim found Holman Ranch because, when you hear their proposal story, it’s clear that the ranch & vineyard was truly the ideal spot for this wine-loving couple.
 
“Jim proposed…in Napa at V. Satuii. We enjoyed a romantic picnic and wine as he surprised me with the ring of my dreams. We love weekend trips to Napa for wine tasting and we make it a point to go a least once a year. He had planned the trip to Napa during the golf tournament so I thought it was for that. However, the trip was really for the proposal and I had no clue.”
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Photos by This Love of Yours…Photography
 
Q: How did you meet?
 
A: “We met at Cisco Systems where we both worked at 5 years ago. We were first introduced at our work off-site event at DnBs and immediately hit it off. I am still at Cisco, but Jim is now at Nintendo.”
 
 
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Photos by This Love of Yours…Photography
 
Q: Where did you go on your first date?
 
A: “We went to Cascal in Mountain View, which is a tapas restaurant where we enjoyed Spanish tapas and sipped on sangria. We went to catch a movie after our dinner date.”
 
 
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Photos by This Love of Yours…Photography
 
Q: What are the top 3 reasons you chose to have your wedding at Holman Ranch?
 
A: “1) I wanted an outdoor, rustic romantic setting 2) I wanted a venue with a barn/carriage house
3) Holman was the firts venue we visited and was also the last. It was love at first site as Holman had everything that I was looking for.”
 
Holman Ranch vineyard wedding
 Photos by This Love of Yours…Photography
 
Q: What family, cultural, or other traditions did you honor on your wedding day?
 
A: “My dad passed in April 2016. Although he was not physically there, we tried to include him in the wedding as much as possible. We had a memorial table for him and reserved a chair for him with his picture during the ceremony. He was mentioned in all the speeches, which was very touching for us.”
 
 Photos by This Love of Yours…Photography
 
Q: If there is one thing about your wedding day that you know you’ll never forget, what would it be?
 
A: “Just having all of our loved ones together in one place and being able to share our special moment with them and being able to host a party for them at such a gorgeous venue. Everyone couldn’t stop talking about how gorgeous the venue and wedding was.”
 
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Photos by This Love of Yours…Photography
 
Q: Is there something you would do differently that you can share with other couples?
 
A: “EVERYTHING was PERFECT! Beautiful Venue, beautiful weather, and wedding flowed seamlessly.  I only wished we could have ended the wedding at a later time. Ten o’clock was too early and everyone was sad that the party had to end!”
 
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Photos by This Love of Yours…Photography

Chic Fall Northern California Ranch Wedding at Holman Ranch

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With a little glittery gold, sparkly accessories and plenty of rich Autumn colors, this Northern California ranch wedding was the picture of rustic glamour and a showcase of how fabulous a Fall ranch wedding can be. But don’t let their impeccable style fool you, this beautiful couple is as down-to-earth as our ranch, as their story will reveal.
 
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Photos by Jaimi Lynn Photography 
 
Meeting through mutual friends on a party bus headed back home from a Tim McGraw concert, Lauren & Matthew’s first date was humble; Red Robin and a movie. Which, eventually, led to this sentimental proposal:
 
“It was perfect. We had just gotten back from a camping trip with both of our families. It was just us at home at 11pm at night. We were laying in bed talking about how wonderful it was that our families get along so well. Then he popped the question. I thought he was kidding so I said, “duh, of course I will.” He replied with, “I’m serious, the ring is on the nightstand.” He then got out of bed grabbed the ring off the night stand and got down on one knee and said a bunch of romantic sweet things that I cannot remember because I was in shock. I cried, he cried, I said of course! Then he went to sleep and I was up until dawn figuring out if I should call anyone at 11 o clock at night. It was perfect”
 
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Photos by Jaimi Lynn Photography 
 
Q: What are the top 3 reasons you chose to have your wedding at Holman Ranch?
 
A: 1) “Everything was in one location 2) That view!!!! 3) The option to pick out our own vendors.”
 
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Q: If there is one thing about your wedding day that you know you’ll never forget, what would it be?
 
A: “Oh it’s so hard to pick just one or a few things. They say was seriously perfect. There is nothing I would change. I will never forget our ceremony. It was 100% us. Our officiant made it so personal and intamint.”
 
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Photos by Jaimi Lynn Photography 
 
Q: Is there something you would do differently that you can share with other couples?
 
A: “Nope. There is not one thing I would do differently. The only advice I would give to other couples would be it is your day. You will not be able to make everyone happy so do the things that you want. If you want to do a first look but your mom doesn’t want you to, do it anyways. Make sure your weddibg shows the personality of the people that are getting married. And don’t sweat the small stuff on the day of. No one is going to know except you. And just enjoy the day. It goes by so fast.”
 
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Photos by Jaimi Lynn Photography 

What Wine Goes With Chocolate?

What wine goes with chocolate

So you find yourself with a tempting brick of dark chocolate in one hand, the other aimlessly gliding across a full wine rack, unsure of which bottle to pull.

 What wine goes best with chocolate?

As one of only a few Carmel Valley wineries who hosts visiting wine lovers from all over the country, we have learned that pairing wine with chocolate can be a tricky endeavor, even the devoted wine enthusiast. Due to its sweetness, as well as the various types available, the wrong combination can produce an unpleasant and often bitter tasting experience.

That’s why we’ve created an in-depth guide to help you select the ideal glass of wine for whatever type of chocolate treat you find yourself enjoying and bring out the delicious and complex flavors of both items.

The Basics of Wine Pairing

In order to begin pairing, there are a few helpful rules that can make selecting an appropriate wine much easier.

  1. Find the balance: with wine, there are several important characteristics that apply to taste and composition.  These include:
  • Acidity
  • Fat
  • Bitterness
  • Salt
  • Sweets
  • Alcohol

Balancing these flavors with similar or oppositional tasting foods creates a more complex experience.  Mixing and matching these flavors together also opens up many different pairing possibilities that you can experiment with.  For example, if you’re trying to pair a sweet white chocolate, go for an equally sweet Ice Wine.

  1. Wine first: when tasting pairings together, it is recommended that you sip the selected wine first.  This is especially true when tasting chocolate and wine, as chocolate is typically a much sweeter taste.  

Potential Wine & Chocolate Pairings

Because of the number of different chocolate flavors, it is important to look at chocolate and wine pairings in categories.  

While a rich Cabernet may go wonderfully with extra dark chocolate, it would be far too bitter for a white chocolate. Because of this diversity in flavor, our guide is organized by chocolate category to bring you unique and well-balanced pairings.  

The Classics

Pinot Noir and Dark Chocolate pairingRanked by the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate from the highest (dark chocolate) to the lowest (milk or white chocolate), we start with the classics.

Dark Chocolate: Generally chocolate is defined as ‘dark’ if it contains more than about 40% cocoa, but there are is a considerable range of products available from 35% to 99%.

  • Smooth Dark chocolate, containing around 54% or less of cocoa, is typically the most popular type of dark chocolate as it balances the amount of sweetness with more bitter natural cocoa.  
  • Medium Dark chocolate contains around 60% cocoa and as opposed to smooth dark, goes best with drier reds such as:
  • Extra Dark chocolate pairs similarly to medium dark chocolate because of their relatively high percentages of cocoa.  For chocolate that is above 70% cocoa, dry wines are an excellent selection, including:
    • Cabernet sauvignon (15)
    • Zinfandel (15)

Milk Chocolate typically contains less than 35% cocoa and is a creamier, sweeter variety, making it a better match for slightly sweeter reds, such as:

  • Creamy Sherry
  • Aged Vintage Port
  • Rose

 Sauvignon Blanc and White Chocolate pairingWhite Chocolate exchanges cocoa butter for cocoa powder, giving it a unique taste compared to other traditional chocolates. This sugary delight is complimented best by sweeter wines and may bring out the more subtle fruity or nutty notes in them. These might include:

  • Our Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, Sweet Love, is a Sauterne inspired dessert wine that is the perfect blend of sweet & tart.
  • Ice Wine(13)
  • Champagne (2)

Fan Favorites

Wine not only tastes spectacular with solid chocolate, it can also enhance flavored chocolates.  

The key with flavored chocolates is finding wines that pair well with the flavor within the chocolate first, then looking at the type of chocolate itself.

Classic Caramel & Dark Chocolate is a perfect match for our late-harvest Pinot Noir, like our warm and robust Big Daddy with prominent dark chocolate notes, has a subtle sweetness to it that strikes a pleasant balance between the more sugary caramel and the slightly bitter dark chocolate. (3)

Pinot Noir and Chocolate covered nuts pairingNut-Infused Chocolate or Chocolate Covered Nuts do best with a wine that will emphasize the already present nutty flavors.

  • Cabernet Sauvignon with dark chocolate covered almonds (11)
  • Marie Claire suggests Pinot Noir with Snickers! Given how well this delicious wine compliments caramel and chocolate, it’s not a big surprise. Try our 2011 Hunter’s Cuvee Pinot Noir with this snack.

Mint & Dark Chocolate is one of the more sophisticated types of chocolates to pair with. Try with Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel. (12)

Fudge is typically much richer and sweeter than traditional chocolate. A Michigan fudge maker recommends Tawny Port for milk chocolate fudge and Beaujolais, Cabernet Sauvigon, Bordeaux, Merlot, and Zinfandel for darker chocolate fudges.

Peanut Butter & Milk Chocolate pair best with wines that will bring out the natural nuttiness. Some have found that Peanut Butter Cups pair especially well with wines such as Riesling (10)

Salted Carmel & Milk Chocolate plays on the ever popular pairing of sweet and salty.  For an excellent wine pairing, the wine should be congruent with the chocolate and balance out the salt.  Some options include:

  • Moscato d’Asti (9)
  • Lambrusco (9)

Chocolate Covered Fruits

Pairing with both fruit and chocolate simultaneously could leave any casual wine drinker guessing. These tips will help you find the right fit.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries, is there anyone who doesn’t adore them? This fruit fusion pairs well with wines that bring out the strawberry flavor, such as:

  • Chardonnay (1)
  • Red Zinfandel (8)
  • Rose Champagne (8)

Chardonnay and Chocolate Fruits pairingOrange-Infused Dark Chocolate is complimented best by white wines with citrus notes, according to She Knows.

Chocolate blueberries pair wonderfully with Merlot, which can help to bring out the sweetness of the blueberry flavor. (17) 

Raspberry & Dark Chocolate or Raspberry Truffles are incredibly rich and sweet. Because of this, they can pair well with lighter, sweet whites or full-bodied reds with fruit flavors, such as:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon (1)
  • Sparkling Brachetto (7)

Cordial Cherries produce triple the sweetness with milk chocolate, syrup center and sweet cherries. Pairs with red varietals that can bring out the unique cherry flavor.  These blends include:

  • Port (4)
  • Cabernet Sauvignon (5)
  • Syrah (5)

The Unexpected Twist

Chocolate Covered Bacon has grown in popularity in recent years. With the flavors of salty & sweet playing off each other, possible pairings include:

  • Riesling (6)
  • Chardonnay (6)

Dark Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans work well with Shiraz due its natural mocha flavors. (16 & 17)

#HolmanRanchWine – Share Your Favorite Chocolate & Wine Pairings with Us

While they are certainly some helpful guidelines for discovering what wine goes with chocolate, you may find that the answer depends heavily on your own personal preferences, not to mention the unique type of chocolate you’re enjoying.

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and experiment with combinations you suspect will have a nice finish.

When you uncover your winning wine and chocolate pairing, tells us about it in the comments below or share on Instagram with hashtag #HolmanRanchWine.