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Shannon Hurley
January 15, 2015 | Shannon Hurley

How to Pair Wine & Chocolate

Both wine and chocolate can be very complex on their own, so let’s keep it simple with three basics. The wine you select must be perceived as sweeter than the chocolate. Since chocolate coats your mouth when you eat it, you’ll need a wine that’s big enough to cut through its richness. Try looking for flavors in both that have some similarities to one another.


Pairing with Milk Chocolate

Milk chocolate, which contains a small amount of cacao, is the sweetest of the real chocolates with its high sugar content. Remember rule one and choose a sweeter wine than chocolate, or the pairing might leave your mouth tasting like a rubber band. For milk chocolate, your best match might me be he perfect bottle of Pinot Noir, but other suggestions can include a Cream Sherry, Tawny Port, Rutherglen Muscat.

Pairing with Semisweet Chocolate

Chocolate that contains about 50 to 70 percent cacao is known as semisweet, the sweetest of the dark chocolates. With tones that are nutty, spicy, or earthy, semisweet dark chocolate has a balanced and less sweet aftertaste than milk or white chocolate. A Cabernet or Bordeaux will tend to bring out any fruity or peppery tones in the chocolate, while a ruby port is also considered a classic pairing with semisweet chocolate.

Pairing with Bittersweet Chocolate

The richest, most intensely flavored chocolates are known as the bittersweet darks, which contain the least amount of sugar, and the greatest amount of cacao – anywhere from about 71 and 100 percent. Their bitter, roasted flavoring is so intense, that it really needs a strong red wine to balance the taste. Our friends Poco Dolce make a lot of delicious bittersweet tiles & bars topped with earl gray sea salt. You can find them in The Tasting Room.  

Cabs and Malbecs are ideal bittersweet dark, but you might also find an Australian Shiraz or a Spanish Grenache to be a suitable companion. Since these chocolates are the least sweet, your pallet of appropriate pairings is much wider, meaning you can also experiment with many of the sweeter wines like a Port and Moscato.

Time for Tasting

Once you’ve got a great pairing, it’s nothing but bliss. Start by tasting the wine, allowing its flavors to fully saturate your mouth. Then take a bite of the chocolate, letting it slowly melt on your tongue. Sip the wine once again, and you might never consider having one without the other ever again.

Till next time Oneophiles…



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