Pairing Wine & Chocolate

Wine and Chocolate Pairing

Dark chocolate actually has a dark and very intense flavor, not only is it chocolatey but it’s also sweet, bitter, fruity and sour all at once. Consequently any wine, red or white, dry or sweet needs to be equally intense if it is to be paired with chocolate. A light wine paired with a high quality dark chocolate will seem bland and uninteresting by comparison. A rich and fruity such as a Zinfindel or perhaps a rich Cabarnet Sauvignon will pair well with a strong chocolate such as a Green & Black or a Dark Montezuma.

Bare in mind that while everyone loves the idea of pairing chocolate and wine it is far from a simple task, it’s arguably more art than science. If you are going with a sweet chocolate then the wine should be tangibly sweeter than the chocolate, if the chocolate is fruity the wine needs to be fruitier.

Pairing with White Chocolate: As white chocolate lacks cacao it is not technically a chocolate but a sugary blend with milk and cocoa butter best paired with a Reisling or even a White Zinfindel

Pairing with Milk Chocolate: As with white, milk chocolate contains only a relatively small quantity of cacao so will be relatively sweet, meaning like the white chocolate a Reisling is probably best, though you may find a Pinot Noir to meet the task.

Pairing with Dark Chocolate: Depending on the intensity of chocolate you may need to move to the other end of the spectrum with a Zinfindel or a bold Cabarnet Sauvignon, be cautious however as a tannic chocolate paired with an overpoweringly tannic wine is a recipe for disaster.

Pairing with Chocolate containing fruit or nuts: Obviously this will vary depending on the chocolate but for Fruits unsurprisingly think fruity such as a Pinot Gris, for nuts think red with tannins so anything from a Syrah up.

An easy way to pair wine and chocolate (admittedly this may be seen by some as a cheat is to use it as an ingredient in a dish. While you may be thinking this may mean adding chocolate to a Chili Con Carne (always a good idea) think more Chili & Chocolate sauce as a dressing for strip steak, In this instance you’re going to want to go with a a nice Syrah or a milder Sangiovese.

Avoid pairing chocolate dessert with Red, White or even Rosé wine, the sweetest ‘blanc de noir’ (that’s a White Zinfindel to you and me) will struggle to compare. Instead find a dessert wine such as the Moscato d’Asti for milky chocolate or a ruby port port for higher cacao desserts.

Lastly be careful when experimenting with filled chocolates from high-end chocolatiers as the ingredients are often completely unexpected items such as pear, citrus fruits or even nougats all of which can completely clash with your wine selection and transform the taste

Posted in Pairing Wine, Wine Guide
One comment on “Pairing Wine & Chocolate
  1. Dan Valaperta says:

    Wine and chocolate…heaven on earth. Thanks for the tips on pairing.

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