When it comes to pairing wines and chocolates, remember that lighter, more elegant chocolates generally should be tasted with lighter-bodied wines. If the wine is more full-bodied, the chocolate should be stronger, darker and more robust. For example, a delicate Moscato d’Asti could compete perfectly with the mellow butter flavors in many white chocolates.
The wine should be at least as sweet, or possibly sweeter, than the chocolate served with it. Many times when the wine and chocolate are not compatible, a slight sour note develops on the palate.
Framboise, with its raspberry flavor, works beautifully with white or milk chocolates.
Cabernet sauvignon is another great match for chocolate, because it also has the aromatic hints of dark berry, spice and even chocolate.
A combination of chocolate with red wines that are overoaked or start as extremely dry wines, such as Spanish Riojas, will likely take any sweetness from the chocolate and fruitiness from the wines, leaving a taste similar to a dust bowl. Try a robust, full-bodied California Zinfandel or an Australian Shiraz for exceptional pairings.
Any Port or dessert wine is considered the traditional “safe bet” with almost any type of chocolate, but remember, unlike many other foods, such as cheese and hearty meat dishes, there really are no “safe bets” with chocolate.
For the best results in your pairing exploration, stay with fine wines and high-quality chocolates. Chocolate shaped like a bunny and wine that costs less than $5 a bottle are not the most ideal matches for this challenge of the senses.