Wine and Chocolate: The Perfect Pairing

Wine and chocolate may be the perfect pair, but it can seem like a daunting task to find out what wine goes best with which kind of chocolate. This blog post will walk you through general pairing advice to help you create your own wine and chocolate tasting at home!

General Rules of Thumb

Consider Balance

Wine and chocolate, like many other foods, can have powerful, dry characteristics. When you combine dark, bittersweet chocolate with a rich red wine that contains high tannins, the resulting taste can be overpowering on the tongue. To get the best balance, choose wines that are somewhat softer than the chocolate you’re pairing them with.

Sweetness

A wine that is “sweeter” than the chocolate itself, can actually work quite well. When we talk about “sweet,” we’re not only talking about dessert wines. In the wine industry, the term “sweet” is sometimes used to indicate ripe, fruit-forward tastes in a wine. The distinctive tastes of cocoa are balanced by these characteristics, which provide a pleasant balance to the harsh flavors.

Match Intensities

In case you’re unsure, match chocolates and wines that have a comparable body and flavor. Wines with a lighter body and less flavor go well with lower-flavored chocolates, while chocolates with more intense flavors can stand up to fuller-bodied wines.

Tastings

If you’re planning a tasting of multiple wines and chocolates in a single sitting, it’s best to start with light chocolates and wines, increasing the intensity as you go along. Start with white chocolates and light wines and save the richest, dark chocolates and wines for last.

Other Ingredients

Consider how these components will interact with the wine if your chocolate includes additional ingredients like nuts, fruit, or caramel. As an example, A fruit-forward red with berry undertones, for example, might go well with a chocolate studded with dried cranberries.

Wine and Chocolate Pairing Ideas

White Chocolate

White chocolate is a great way to start your pairing off. Not only is it sweeter than dark chocolate, but its flavor also tends to be milder and more neutral. Sweet wines and rosè wines help to cleanse the palate of the rich flavors from white chocolate.

Our recommendations: 2020 Fizzzy Rosè

Milk Chocolate

Milk chocolate is a little more complex than white chocolate. It’s not quite as sweet, but it also has less pronounced flavors that are harder to identify on their own. It requires a wine that is light to medium in body, with a ripe fruit character.

Our recommendations: 2019 Merlot

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is dense, rich, and creamy. The flavors are powerful enough that they don’t need much help standing out against the background of the pairing. Match the intensity without adding more dryness by pairing these chocolates with full-bodied, yet fruit-forward wines.

Our recommendation: 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon

Flavored Chocolates

More ingredients than just the chocolate itself? Here are some popular pairing options for specialty chocolates:

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate-covered strawberries are a perfect combination of sweet and tart. To complement this flavor, we would recommend a wine with noticeable acidity and a medium-full body to balance the flavors out. Riesling is versatile enough to complement the dessert without overwhelming it.

Our recommendation: 2019 Riesling

Peanut Butter Cups

Chocolate with peanut butter is already a perfect pairing, but a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon will sweeten the snack even further. The natural cherry flavor in Cabernet Sauvignon complements the chocolaty peanut butter combination beautifully.

Our recommendation: 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon

Chocolate Caramels

Chocolate caramels are a little bit like toffee and require something with some body that can stand up to the rich flavors. To complement this pairing, we would recommend an oaked Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon because of their slightly sweet notes balanced by oak aging., as well as notable acidity and structure.

Our recommendation: 2018 Barrel Chardonnay

Mint Chocolate

Crisp and refreshing, mint chocolate pairs well with full-body dry red wines. A fine example of a great pairing is the delicious Cabernet Sauvignon. The high content of tannins in this wine enhances the strong flavor of the mint.

Our recommendation: 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon

Conclusion

Pairing chocolate and wine together is a delicate balance of flavors. It takes practice to identify which wines match well with your favorite types of chocolates, but the process can be fun! Plan your own tasting at home using Halloween candy or a box of your favorite chocolates.