Wine and Chocolate – A Bittersweet Affair

Wine and chocolate.  Wine good, chocolate good, together… good?

Well good news, wine and chocolate can definitely be paired together.  Since cocoa beans and wine use the same type of yeast for fermentation, they are a good match.  But it can get quite challenging as chocolates can be quite powerful and you don’t want to overpower the wine.  You may go through lots of trail and error, but that’s half the fun of it!  As a general rule, make sure that the wine is a bit sweeter than the chocolate or else the wine will taste bitter.

Bitter chocolates

Dark chocolates, especially in the 90%-99% range can be quite bitter.  For chocolates on the more bitter end of the scale, try going with a wine that is more tannic, like a Cabernet Sauvignon. Or perhaps a more dry wine like a Zinfandel.  In general, the darker the chocolate, the darker the wine.

Sweet chocolates

Be sure to pair the sweeter chocolates to sweeter wines.  Which means no dry wines.  Tawny, Ruby, or Vintage Ports are also good choices when looking for partners to your chocolate.  So this means no Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noirs (as an example).  Also, you can give some sweeter sherry wines from Spain a try.  Try pairing with a Banyuls.  Banyuls is similar to Port, but tends to have less alcohol as some people don’t like the stronger alcohol flavour in Ports.

Other tips:

  • Try dark chocolate with a Syrah.
  • Give milk chocolate a try along with some Port.
  • If you have some chocolate in your cheesecake, try a Pinot Noir or a medium bodied Merlot.
  • Have some white chocolate?  Pair that with an ice wine.

To recap, the darker the chocolate, the more darker, dry, and/or tannic the wine.  For sweeter chocolate, go for sweeter wines.

If you have a special occasion coming up, whether it is Valentines day, a birthday, Christmas, or Wednesday, it is time to start doing some research and see what chocolate pairings you enjoy.

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