Wine & Chocolate Pairing Suggestions
Wine and chocolate. They go together like peanut butter and jelly, right? In the right context, most definitely! However, it is not just a given that any wine pairs well with any chocolate. Wine and chocolate have many similarities in terms of their texture, sweetness, bitterness, and tasting elements. The goal when pairing wine and chocolate together is to ensure they have as many similar characteristics as possible to one another. When done correctly, chocolate can bring about the beautiful, hidden features in your wine that might go unnoticed. So how do you pair wine and chocolate correctly? Look through some of our suggested chocolate and wine pairings and you will begin to connect the dots on how to properly do this pairing!
White Chocolate & Gewürztraminer
Although not technically a chocolate, white chocolate can make for a fantastic sweet to pair with certain wines. White chocolate is on the sweeter end of the scale. This means it requires a wine that is just as sweet to not counteract the taste. This makes it a little easier to remember which wines to pair it with! Sweeter wines are typically white, well-rounded with a light body. These wines are often designated as Ice wine, Late Harvest wine, Dessert wine or Sauternes. Our wine of choice to pair with white chocolate is our Frederich Late Harvest Gewürztraminer. Known for being a dessert wine, Gewürztraminer offers a deliciously sweet palate that pairs so perfectly with the creaminess of white chocolate. This sophisticated sweet match is sure to be the light wine drinker’s best friend.
Milk Chocolate & Pinot Noir
Probably the most forgiving of the chocolate varieties, there is not too much room for error when it comes to pairing wine with milk chocolate. It has an even balance between chocolate and cream which allows for a broader scale of wines that it can be paired with. There are some specific wines that can pair better than others. Similar to the even balance seen in milk chocolate, we want to pair with a medium-bodied wine. This allows for the fruity notes in the wine to really pop out without being counteracted by tannins. Some of these medium-bodied wines include: Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah, and French Malbec. Our wine of choice to pair with milk chocolate is our Elizabeth Pinot Noir. Our Pinot Noir consists of beautiful dark notes of cherry, plum, and blackberry that are greatly amplified when pairing it with the creamy cocoa of milk chocolate. This is what we like to consider a no-risk, high reward pairing.
Dark Chocolate & Cabernet Sauvignon
Pairing wine with dark chocolate is typically the most difficult pairing to pull off. The reason is that there are rich tannins in dark chocolate that are similar to the rich tannins found in full-bodied wines. If the wine you pair with your dark chocolate is not tannic enough, it can leave a not-so-pleasant taste in the back of your palate. This is why it is important to aim for some rich, full-bodied wines to counteract the bitterness showcased in dark chocolate. Some of these full-bodied wines include: Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc and Red Wine Blends. Our wine of choice is our estate grown Calistoga Cabernet Sauvignon. The tannin in this cab has enough bite to counteract the bitterness in the chocolate while bringing forward the dark, rich flavors of strawberry jam, blackberry, and cherry. The Calistoga Cabernet Sauvignon is the perfect introduction to pairing wine with dark chocolate.
As with all food and wine pairings, this is very subjective and it often comes down to your taste buds. However, this can be used as a guide to at least point you in the right direction of certain wines to pair with your chocolate. The creamier the chocolate, the lighter the body of the wine. The richer the chocolate, the fuller the body of the wine. The more you experiment, the more you are bound to find your favorite pairings. Whether you are a sweet person or a bitter person, neither wine nor chocolate ever judge.