What says Valentine’s Day more than wine and chocolate? Pairing the two can make for a unique experience that’s delicious, memorable, and special in all the ways that make Valentine’s Day a celebration of love.
Despite their individual appeal, you might have heard that they’re difficult to pair together and there’s some truth to that.
We’re here to help though and have a few suggestions to make this process easier.
Wine And Chocolate Pairing: A Quick Guide
Match Light With Light, Dark With Dark
A simple rule of thumb is to pair lighter chocolate with lighter wines. The less intense the chocolate, the better to enjoy a lighter wine. The richer the chocolate, the richer the wine to an extent. Be careful as you scale up in dark tones as a bar of rich chocolate and a rich wine can both be overwhelming on the palate.
Find A Sweeter Wine
Contrary to popular belief, a sweeter wine works wonders when paired with chocolate. The higher sugar levels help the flavor of the wine come through. Keep in mind that this concept isn’t limited to dessert wines. Any wine which is “sweet” has ripe, fruit-forward tones.
Try A Softer Wine
Wine and chocolate can both be intense. Look for a softer, juicier wine to help even out the flavors and reduce boldness in your pairing. Avoiding dryer wines will help keep the intensity down and keep the clashing flavors to a minimum.
Consider Other Ingredients Too
Chocolate seldom comes by itself, and you may find nuts, fruit, or caramel in it. When working on your pairing, think about the subtleties these flavors bring to the chocolate. If you’re going with peanut or almonds in your chocolate try a Syrah or a sweeter Zinfandel to make the pairing zing.
Now that we have some rules in place, here are a few of our recommendations for your Valentine’s Day pairing.
Pairs well with lighter wines such as Rieslings and sweeter Roses. This chocolate is made with heavy doses of sugar, milk, and cocoa butter. Its buttery taste teeming with honey and cream works well with lighter wines. These wines help to cleanse the palate of richness and complement white chocolate well.
The perfect complement for Pinot Noirs and Merlots. Milk chocolate tends to be sweeter and creamier with flavors of brown sugar, vanilla, and cream. It pairs best with wines that are light to medium in body with a “sweet” fruit-forward flavor.
Look for Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Zinfandel to make the most of pairing with dark chocolate. Semi-sweet chocolates tend to have at least 50% cacao and are bitter. Their intense flavors require a wine with intensity and fruit-forward flavors.
You’re set to make this Valentine’s Day a special one with our quick guide on pairing chocolate and wine. What’s otherwise a difficult pairing to make right, can be broken down into matching flavors with wines that work to complement the chocolate of your choice.
And if you’re looking for more advice on pairing these two, stop off at JJ’s Wine Bar for our recommendations to sweeten your Valentine’s Day up. Whether you’re into light, milk chocolates or powerful, bitter dark chocolates, we have the perfect wine for you.