Chocolate, like wine, is exciting to explore, and it can be heavenly when paired with the right partner.
As a general rule, when pairing wine and chocolate, the wine should be at least as sweet – if not sweeter – than the chocolate. If the two are not compatible, many times a slight sour note will develop on the palate.
A combination of chocolate with over-oaked red wine or one that is extremely dry, such as Spanish Riojas, will likely rob the chocolate of sweetness and the wine of fruitiness, resulting in an unpleasant, dry, dustlike flavor.
Light-bodied wines matchup best with mild-flavored chocolate, and full-bodied wines are best served with darker and more robust chocolate. For example, a delicate Moscato d’Asti matches perfectly with the mellow butter flavors in many white chocolates.
Cabernet sauvignon is a great all-around match for chocolate because it has hints of aromatic dark berry, spice and even of chocolate itself.
Other “safe bets” for almost any type of chocolate include any port or dessert wine. For standout pairings with most any chocolate, consider a robust, full-bodied California zinfandel or an Australian shiraz.
Framboise, with its raspberry flavor, works beautifully with white or milk chocolates.
White chocolate: Framboise or moscato
- 2007 Mar tin Weyrich Moscato Allegro, California (about $12 retail)
- 2007 Marco Negri Moscato d’ Asti, Italy (about $22 retail)
Light-bodied milk chocolate: Framboise, pinot noir, or cabernet sauvignon
- 2007 Beringer Founder’s Estate Pinot Noir Provincia de Pavia, Italy (about $11 retail)
- 2006 Wild Earth Pinot Noir, California (about $29 retail)
Medium bodied milk or semisweet chocolate : cabernet sauvignon, port, merlot or syrah
- 2006 Bogle Vineyards Merlot, California (about $11 retail)
- 2006 Verge Syrah, Dry Creek Valley, California (about $40 retail)
Full-bodied bittersweet or dark chocolate: cabernet sauvignon or port
- 2006 Cellar No. 8 Cabernet Sauvignon, California (about $12 retail)
- 2004 Spann Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County, California (about $32 retail)