Last week I discussed a handful of yummy wine and chocolate combinations involving the beloved milk chocolate, but this week I dive in even further about the perfect wines for the creamy white chocolate and the powerful rich dark chocolate.
Go Bubbles. If you can go Champagne, go Champagne, but definitely avoid Brut. Brut, remember, means that there is no residual sugar in the wine so the lack of sugar will clash badly with the chocolate. Possibly seek out a sweeter version like Extra Dry or Dry, or even semi-sweet if you really like sugar hits!
For white chocolate you’re looking for a light fruity wine, a blanc de blanc from Chardonnay grapes or an Italian Moscato D’Asti. It’s sweeter than Prosecco and lower in alcohol, and add a creamy white chocolate truffle, perfection! However, if you can find a rosé to combine with the white chocolate truffle, it’s rather akin to drinking trifle!
For chocolate purists, chocolate with a high cocoa content (at least 70%) is best with a medium to full bodied red wine that will balance the intensity. Shiraz from the Australian Barossa valley has a rich dark fruity flavour that will complement the bitter notes in the chocolate.
Tawny port is aged in casks as opposed to tanks or bottles, which gives it a nutty taste and a silky character as the tannins soften. This means it doesn’t dry clean your mouth, so the dark sweetness stays as an aftertaste. There are often flavours of dried fruit and a slight spiciness which blends perfectly the taste and texture of a dark chocolate with nuts.
For those with an adventurous taste palate match chilli chocolate to a young Spanish Red Rioja. They are densely silky without being heavy and contain subtle exotic flavours. Think of the taste of chilli chocolate, the spice is not necessarily identifiable but there’s a slight heat, and it is this that works with the spicy nuance in the Rioja.
Another option for chilli chocolate, and one you may not have thought of, is to pair it with Gewurztraminer wine sometimes referred to as Gewürz, an aromatic white wine with a hint of sweetness that balances the chilli without overwhelming it. Gewürz goes well with lightly spiced food so this is an unusual pairing that more people should know of.
Mint chocolate pairs well with a cabernet sauvignon! A cabernet sauvignon has the high tannin content which means it can support strong flavours like mint. It typically has dark fruit, warm spice, vanilla, tobacco and sometimes leather aromas, but Californian cabernet sauvignons are particularly good with mint chocolate because they also have mint and eucalyptus profiles.
Now I know what some of you may be thinking, those wines are rather full of tannins to pair with chocolates? It may appear so, but while some of the wines mentioned may appear too tannic to pair with chocolate, the cocoa butter decreases the astringency and dryness of the tannins and the higher cacao content enables bittersweet [70%+] chocolate to pair well.
Think of this as the best science experiment you never did at school. And no homework to hand in afterwards.
Short and Sweet
Whatever chocolate you prefer, there is always a wine that compliments it. I may have suggested some wines that could really intensify your indulgent dessert experience, but the fun part is to go out and try them all and even better experiment with your own combinations!