Chocolate & Wine | An Indulgent Match

Chocolate truffles in a box with a glass of wine

Whether it's April and you’re loading up on chocolate eggs, or just enjoy treating yourself to a chocolatey delight every so often, chocolate can always benefit from a beautifully paired wine. If you love wine, and you love chocolate, then why would you not pair them together? There is no rule saying wine has to be consumed with savoury delights, so let’s indulge ourselves with a little something sweet.

With that dry sensation left in your mouth following a sip of wine or a bite of chocolate, how does one pair them without completely drying out their mouth? Soft and juicy wines are the key! We don’t suggest anything with high tannins (the element that dries out the mouth), but something that is bold and full of flavours that add a nice fruity element to plain chocolate. Or can accompany the fun fruity flavours in a flavoured filled chocolate bar.

If you are a sweet tooth then pairing sweet chocolate with an even sweeter wine is not out of the question. The dessert wines of Sauternes, or delicate notes of a Moscato here in Australia can be the perfect option to sate the sugar rush you were hunting for. Alternatively the sweetness can be drawn from the fruit flavours winemakers instil into their bottles. Young wines with intense fruity elements can taste just as sweet when alongside a square of chocolate.

The Pairing Breakdown 

White Chocolate

I’m a super sweet tooth that dives into white chocolate every chance I get! Okay, white chocolate is possibly the sweetest ‘chocolate’ you can get, even if it doesn’t actually contain any cocoa. So why not just go completely sweet. Enjoy a nice glass of moscato or dessert wine such as Sauternes to bring on the sugar rush. The nice syrupy nature of Sauternes can allow flavours to smoothly pass through the mouth and experience the blank canvas of white chocolate to bring forth the sweet, stone fruit elements of the wine.

A nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc never goes astray either if you have a few chocolates with a touch of fruit mixed in (cranberry and white chocolate is a favourite).

Milk Chocolate

The classic milk chocolate is the perfect base for a variety of flavours. So a stunning yet versatile red wine works perfectly. A lighter red such as pinot noir or merlot can bring out the sweetness of milk chocolate without any overwhelming dryness. You will want to find yourself the fruitier bottles, generally from warmer climates and later ripening vineyards to ensure lower tannins.

As with many base foods, mixing it up with a fruit and nut variety, caramel filled, honeycomb crunch, these can all be paired with individual wines of similar qualities. Caramel can truly boost the sugar levels instantly, so a fruity and full wine such as a young pinot noir can work best to balance out the palate. 

If not much of a red wine drinker then there are still plenty of options for white wine pairings. The creamier the chocolate the better Chardonnay can present its flavours, with the smooth elements of honey and caramel brought forth from the oak barrel ageing sings wonders with the chocolate.

Dark Chocolate

As the most intense, with 70% plus cacao mixed in, the flavours are rich and bold. Uncork your Syrahs and Cabernet Sauvignons for this pairing. The bold and deep flavours of the red wines are unmatched and play against the intensity of cacao perfectly. Be careful not to venture into Bordeaux Blends territory as that can build to be quite intense and bitter, best sticking to single varietal bottles that champion the flavours of the grape and chocolate off of one another.

Conclusion

Chocolate is not always easy to pair with wine, as both host an array of tannic qualities that can be too bitter and intense for many. It is always best to test a variety of chocolate and wines to find your favourite. Starting with a white chocolate with a white wine, then descending to the higher cocoa levels and deeper coloured bottles is the best tactic. This way you can stop at the exact moment your mouth starts to turn into a desert rather than dessert.

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