There was a time when it was said that chocolate and wine shouldn’t be consumed together.
Pairing these two romantic treats was avoided because chocolate, like cabbage, raw asparagus and vinegar, has a reputation for misbehaving when wine is involved. But today, with a better understanding of the kinds of chocolate and its components, successful pairings are possible.
What supposedly made the two incompatible was not the chocolate at all, but the sugar, fat and flavorings in it. Considering many chocolate desserts also contain lots of sugar, fruit, dairy or even ice, the dilemma was compounded.
If the wine and chocolate are not compatible, many times a slight sour note will develop on the palate. Overoaked or extremely dry red wine will likely rob the chocolate of sweetness and the wine of its fruitiness, resulting in an unpleasant, dry, dusty flavor.
For the ideal chocolate and wine match, select chocolates with a cocoa content of at least 75 percent.
Light-bodied wines match best with mild-flavored chocolate, and full-bodied wines are best served with darker, more robust chocolate.
If in doubt, the general rule is the wine should be at least as sweet — if not sweeter — than the chocolate.
White chocolate: Framboise or moscato
- 2009 Martin Weyrich Moscato Allegro, California (about $14 retail)
- 2009 Marco Negri Moscato d’ Asti, Italy (about $22 retail)
Light-bodied milk chocolate: Framboise, pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon
- 2008 Mark West Central Coast Pinot Noir, California (about $12 retail)
- 2008 Siduri Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, Oregon (about $22 retail)
Medium-bodied milk or semisweet chocolate: cabernet sauvignon, port, merlot or syrah
- 2009 Cupcake Central Coast Merlot, California (about $10 retail)
- NV Sandeman 10 year Tawny Port, Portugal (about $40 retail)
Full-bodied bittersweet or dark chocolate: cabernet sauvignon or port
- NV Cowie Wine Cellars Robert’s Port, Arkansas (about $19 retail)
- 2006 Robert Mondavi Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon, California (about $50 retail)