Wine and chocolate is a recurring theme on Valentine’s Day. Understandably, considering many of us will be either giving a gift of wine and chocolate or opening a gift of wine and chocolate. Keeping it simple and knowing the most common mistakes will ensure the two complement each other and make your Valentine celebration much more enjoyable.
There are many rules for general wine and food pairing, but with chocolate and wine there are two keys to successful pairings:
The first, when pairing wine and chocolate, the wine should be at least as sweet — if not sweeter — than the chocolate. If the wine is not as sweet as the chocolate many times the pairing will have a slight sour taste.
And second, avoid pairing chocolate with over-oaked red wines or extremely dry styles as these mismatches will likely rob the chocolate of its sweetness and rob wine of its fruitiness. The result is an unpleasant, dry, dusty flavor.
For safe bets pair light-bodied wines with mild-flavored chocolate, and full-bodied wines with darker and more robust chocolate. For example, a delicate Moscato d’Asti matches perfectly with the mellow buttery flavors in many white chocolates. Cabernet sauvignon matches well with many dark chocolates because it has hints of aromatic dark berry, spice and even of chocolate itself.
To make gift buying easy, here are some safe pairings. All you need to do is choose your partner’s favorite style of chocolate and then select value or splurge that fits your budget.
White chocolate with framboise or moscato
- NV Cupcake Moscato d’Asti, Italy (about $12 retail)
- 2017 Castello Del Poggio DOCG Moscato, Italy (about $19 retail)
Light-bodied milk chocolate with pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon
- 2016 Block Nine Pinot Noir, California (about $15 retail)
- 2015 Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, California (about $29 retail)
Medium bodied milk or semisweet chocolate with cabernet sauvignon, port, merlot or syrah
- 2017 Chateau St. Jean Merlot, California (about $14 retail)
- 2015 Round Pond Cabernet Sauvignon, California (about $65 retail)
Full-bodied bittersweet or dark chocolate with cabernet sauvignon or port
- 2017 Coppola Diamond Label Cabernet Sauvignon, California (about $16 retail)
- Kopke 10 Year Tawny Port, Portugal (about $37 retail)