Chocolate is the confectionery match to wine. Perhaps this is because the process of making chocolate is very similar to wine. Both cocoa beans and wine are fermented with the very same type of yeast. No wonder there are so many wine and chocolate lovers!
Chocolate is the confectionery match to wine.
5 Kickass Wine and Chocolate Pairings
Despite the affinity for one another, many wine and chocolate pairings fight for the same ‘palate space’ making the whole experience taste like crap. Fortunately for you, there are wine and chocolate pairings that will induce a standing orgasm… Oh snap! Let’s take a look at the very best wine and chocolate pairings imaginable.
If you’re into technicalities, white chocolate isn’t really ‘chocolate’ because it doesn’t include cocoa, just cocoa fat. This little fact makes it one of the more versatile pairings with wine.
Recommended Wines Rosé Port, Ice Wine, Muscat, Orange Muscat, Moscato d’Asti, Sweet Tokaji, Vintage Port, Lambrusco (Dolce or Amabile), Brachetto d’Acqui
Tastes Like Strawberries The new style of Port, Rosé Port, adds nuances of strawberries.
Good with Macadamia Nuts A Muscat such as Muscat de Frontignan will add tropical fruit flavors–a great fit for white chocolate macadamia nut cookies!
Blueberries and Cream A bottle of 2000 Vintage Graham’s Port makes a white chocolate pairing taste like blueberries and cream. Whoa.
Buy the Book - Get the Course!
Get the Wine 101 Course ($29 value) FREE with the purchase of Wine Folly: Magnum Edition.Learn More
A truly great milk chocolate will appease even the most ardent dark chocolate lover. For instance, did you know the ethereal ganache on the inside of truffles is usually half cream and chocolate? The cream adds a little extra fat so you will find it working better with more wines than dark chocolate.
Recommended Wines Moscatel de Setubal, Montilla-Moriles, PX Sherry, Creamy Sherry, Rasteau, Aged Vintage Port, Rutherglen Muscat
Simulating Caramel A well-aged Montilla-Morales like Bodegas Toro Albalá will make you think you just popped a caramel in your mouth.
The Chocolate Cake Effect I’ve served several diners who were drinking a Shiraz with chocolate cake. They loved it. It’s possible that the addition of starches and fat to a chocolate cake may work with more dry-style red wines. (What do you think?)
What is the best way to enjoy Chocolate?
TCHO Chocolate recommends that you break your chocolate bar into small bitesize pieces. Listen for the ‘snap.’ –the crisper the break, the better tempered your chocolate is. Don’t chew your chocolate, just place it on your tongue and let it melt in.
53% Milk Chocolate by Tcho Chocolates in SF.
Caramel adds sweet salinity to chocolate. Caramel chocolates are the perfect harmony of sweet, salty, fat and bitter. Pairing wine with caramel chocolate can either be congruent or complimentary.
Congruent Wine Pairing PX Sherry, Vin Santo, Cream Sherry, 20 year Tawny Port, Moscatel de Setubal, Madeira, Amontillado Sherry
Complimentary Wine Pairing Moscato d’Asti, Demi-Sec Champagne (a sweet champagne), Brachetto d’Acqui, Asti-Spumante, Lambrusco (Dolce or Amabile)
Sometimes the perfect flavor combination is found in the strangest place. A wine that’s usually disregarded as a simple cooking wine, like Cream Sherry, does wonders with salty sweet flavors. Cream Sherry is actually an Oloroso Sherry that has been sweetened, usually with the Pedro Ximénez (PX) grape. Lustau offers a cream sherry that’s worth drinking straight.
Pink Salt Caramel Dark Chocolate by Theo Chocolates in Seattle.
The ultimate sexy chocolate dessert, chocolate dipped strawberries, actually works very well with a sweet sparkling rosé such as Brachetto d’Acqui.
A true dark chocolate has a minimum of 35% cocoa solids, but the numbers get even higher than that. There are 99% dark chocolate bars out there that will dominate you. Dark chocolates typically don’t like to share ‘palate space’ with other bitter, non-sweet things like a high tannin Mourvedre.
Recommended Wines Vin Santo, Port, Late Harvest Zinfandel, Banyuls, Maury and believe it or not: Chinato
Peanut Butter Cups
Yep. Peanut butter cups are serious business. With all nutty chocolates, such as almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts, look for a wine that accentuates the nutty flavors. Amontillado Sherry with a Reeses is unforgettable.
Amontillado Sherry, Oloroso Sherry and Madeira
What about flavored Chocolates?
There are many chocolate flavorings out there like mint, cherry, and even spices like chile or ginger. When attempting flavored chocolate wine pairing, focus on the accenting the flavor.
70% Dark Chocolate Mint by Theo Chocolate in Seattle
A Syrah Port often has nuanced notes of eucalyptus that will bring out the mint taste.
Basic Wine Guide Poster
Supercharge your wine smarts with a beautiful (and useful) poster. Tactile information you can put to use the next time you pop a bottle.