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5 Tips for Pairing Wine with Chocolate

by David on November 30, 2010

‘Tis the season to be decadent! And what could be more decadent than pairing wine with your chocolate?

Warning! It’s not a slam dunk. Most of the time pairing wine and food is really easy  because wine’s structure makes it a natural partner. But, serving dry wine with sweet food takes a little thought because the sweetness of the food can make the dry wine seem sour. Think chocolate cake with lemonade – yuk!

But, the pairing is definitely do-able and when it comes together right, it’s really quite wonderful! So, here are some tips:

1.Chocolate and dry wine: If you want to pair chocolate with dry table wine, like a good Cab, Merlot or Zin your best bet it to go with dark, bitter and bittersweet chocolate with a high cacao content. Bitter nuts, like walnuts and hazelnuts help. So does espresso or coffee. And, berry fillings if they aren’t too sweet. And, in this day of chocolates with unorthodox fillings, I’ll recommend black pepper — maybe it’s out there, and its bitterness is a great bridge builder.

2. Chocolate and sweet wine: Now, this is MUCH easier! Because chocolate is a strong flavor, red dessert wines like late-harvest Zinfandel, Port and Banyuls wine are a good way to go but you won’t have any sourness problems with other choices like Sauternes, sweet Madeira (Malmsey) or Tokaji. Or, even a sweet Muscat, like our Muscat Canelli.

3. Nuts are a great thing! Nutty fillings are delicious with nutty, sweet Sherry (Pedro Ximenez), tawny Port and Madeira.

4. When caramel is in the mix: Keep in mind caramel is very sweet, but it also presents a luscious opportunity: Vin Santo, tawny Port and Madeira have wonderfully caramelized flavors and will be yummy partners!

5. Have you ever seen a whole bottle of wine, dipped in a 1/2 pound of chocolate??? Talk about decadent! Great Christmas gift! We have them! Cheers!

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