Sometime in the mid 90’s I bought a few bottles of Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon for about $15 a bottle. The wine blew me away with great fruit and unexpected complexity, especially at that price. When I went back to the wine shop a couple of weeks later, the price had suddenly risen to $18, but I still bought a few more bottles of what was clearly a great find. With a little help from The Wine Spectator, Hess Collection was eventually discovered by the masses. Within a year prices rose into the mid $20’s and finally to where it is today at $48.
With wine, you never know if the next year will be as good (or as cheap), so you’re best off to grab more fast if you find something you love. So it was with the Grenada Chocolate Company’s 71% Dark Chocolate bars. At NewLeaf Chocolates, we grabbed a ton of this stuff last year in our overwhelming and well-founded enthusiasm for an excellent chocolate and a great value. Well, there is still some of this”old vintage” left, so I thought I’d compare it to the “new vintage” which has recently arrived .
Besides harvesting a new crop of cacao, our friends in Grenada have been busy doing some enhancements to the packaging to make them more environmentally friendly. The labels are now printed on recycled paper with vegetable-based inks . Add that to the fact that what’s inside the wrapper is organic chocolate made in a factory powered by solar energy and you can see why we love these guys for their sustainability. But does the chocolate still taste as good as the 2009 vintage? When I tasted the 2009 bar in an earlier post, I enjoyed the deep espresso and marshmallow-like flavors so much that I made it my daily chocolate for a while. This time, I’ll compare the two side by side to see what’s new.
Tasting Grenada Chocolate Company’s 71% Dark Chocolate
Since I’ve reviewed the 2009 bar before, I’m going to approach this a little differently than usual and just call out the differences between the two.
WHAT: Grenada Chocolate Company – Organic Dark Chocolate, 71% Cacao. “Vintage 2009” and Vintage “2010” bars. 85g (3oz). Ingredients: Organic cocoa beans, organic cane sugar, fresh organic cocoa butter, organic soy lecithin, organic vanilla beans. Where to buy Grenada 71% Dark Chocolate.
WHEN: August 12, 2010
AROMA: Both bars are more or less the same with more coconut than I noticed before. Then there are those beautiful coffee notes with a bit of leather.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: Both bars have warm espresso and cappuccino flavors on the approach. The 2010 vintage offers a new note – a bit of melon, like honeydew.
MIDDLE TASTE: The 2009 has more going on in the coffee department along with some cinnamon, angel food cake, apple and toast. Thankfully, the 2010 still has that marshmallow, cappuccino and whipped creme thing coming through strong.
FINISH: The 2009 vintage fades a little faster while the 2010 has a longer buttery finish with more vanilla and fruit.
TEXTURE: The 2009 vintage was somewhat more pliable, but I think this is more “bar variation” than anything else. I had eaten another 2009 bar last week and it was more snappy. No real difference here in the whole scheme of things.
LAST BITE – What I love about this chocolate (both vintages) is the intense coffee notes blending perfectly with a marshmallow and whipped creme sweetness that is not at all cloying. I’m completely relieved that Grenada was able to pull it off again for the 2010 vintage. Overall, the 2009 is a bit mellow and rounder while the 2010 is creamier in the middle with a longer finish making it even more attractive to a larger audience.
NOTES:  Not to be confused with Hess Select which is their lower-tier wine (still good stuff). By the way, if you are in Napa Valley, the Hess Collection Winery (used to simply be called Hess) is a fantastic place to visit because you can both taste their wines and tour their fine art museum. It’s a good way to slow down the pace if you are prone to fall for the squeeze-six-winery-tours-into-a-day approach.
 The 2009 vintage has been stored under impeccable conditions. I’m convinced that these bars would still be tasting great for another year or two, but alas, they are all gone as we “go to print” with this story.
 I paid for all this chocolate myself.
 50% recycled, 25% Post-consumer content.