Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity for all the chocolate and wine lovers out there to enjoy their favorite things! Both cocoa beans and wine are fermented with the very same type of yeast, making two already amazing things even better when they’re paired in the right way.
Many wine and chocolate pairings compete for the same taste buds and they both leave long-lasting aftertastes. This can be overwhelming and leave a bad taste in your mouth. However, when you combine them right, your taste buds will thank you! Here are a few guidelines to help make sure your pairing is a match made in heaven:
Stick with Sweet
While it might sound counterintuitive, a “sweeter” wine works quite well with chocolate. Ensuring that the wine is at least slightly sweeter than the chocolate is the simplest way to combine two of life’s greatest pleasures. A sweet wine provides a nice balance to the bitter flavors of cocoa. Try a super mellow creamy chocolate like ganache with a ruby port or pair a salted chocolate caramel with an Italian Vin Santo passito wine.
Match Similar Intensities
If you’re not really into sweet wines, try pairing chocolates and wines that have a similar style and weight. Less intensely-flavored chocolates go well with lighter-bodied wines, while chocolates with more intense flavors can stand up to fuller-bodied wines. If you’re serving milk chocolate or a chocolate truffle with a ganache center, try a light-bodied pinot noir or a fruit-forward merlot. Pair a dark, bittersweet chocolate with a jammy Syrah or intense zinfandel.
Try a Silky, Velvety, and Soft Wine
Both wine and chocolate can have intense, dry flavors, so when you put together a dark, bittersweet chocolate with a powerful red wine, the combination can be overpowering. It’s best to choose wines that are a bit softer and juicier than the chocolate you’re pairing it with.
Consider Other Ingredients
If your chocolate contains other ingredients such as nuts, fruit, or caramel, consider how these flavors will play with the wine. In some cases, what grows together, goes together. For example, chocolate studded with dried cranberries might pair well with a fruit-forward red with berry undertones.
Here are some basic recommendations for pairing wines with different chocolates:
- White chocolate: Ice wines, late-harvest rieslings, Moscato, cream sherry, sweeter rosè
- Milk chocolate: Pinot noir, merlot, port, Madeira, Gewurztraminer
- Dark chocolate: Zinfandel, syrah/shiraz, port, sherry, merlot, cabernet sauvignon
The main thing to remember when pairing wine and chocolate is to make sure there is a nice balance. With this guide, you’re sure to find the perfect pairing this Valentine’s Day. Don’t forget to make sure you have somewhere to store your wine and chocolates. Check out our selection of wine storage, including the Subzero 30” Designer Wine Storage with Refrigerator and Freezer Drawers, to take care of your valuable wine.