What Wines Go Well With Chocolate?
As you well know, chocolate is a delicious treat loved by countless people worldwide. It comes in myriad styles that taste great after a meal or as snacks unto themselves.
It may be hard to imagine anything can make these delicious cocoa delights better, but the perfect chocolate-wine pairing says otherwise.
Let’s break down some classic chocolates and their ideal wine partners in Wine Insiders’ ode to chocolate lovers:
If you close your eyes and picture chocolate, there is a good chance milk chocolate is the first thing that comes to mind.
This smooth, creamy, light brown sweet is the quintessential member of the cocoa family and the most common in candy bars and pastries.
While it’s hard to encapsulate the wonder of milk chocolate in such a small space, let’s break down the personality and ideal pairings of this cocoa treasure:
From Europe to North America, South America, and Africa, the vast majority of the world’s milk chocolate comes from the same simple ingredients: milk products, sugar, chocolate liquor, and cocoa powder.
These ingredients are so essential because they endow milk chocolate with its velvety smooth, silky body, enticing mix of cocoa tastes, and heavenly aromas of milk, cream, and caramel.
While these primary textures, flavors, and aromas may vary slightly - - especially if mixed with nuts, fruits, pastries, and the like- they remain the essential components of milk chocolate at its best.
Ideal Wine Pairings
Milk chocolate is a highly versatile sweet served in numerous inventive ways. It can also go marvelously with a delicious bottle of wine- provided you follow a few basic rules:
To complement this creamy chocolate’s notes of cocoa, cream, and brown sugar, we recommend opting for light to medium-bodied wines with an array of fruity flavors and hints of sweetness.
Some may find dark chocolate unpleasantly bitter, but many others find it the most delicious, complex and, dare we say, tasty member of the cocoa family.
This yummy sweet only has three primary ingredients: cocoa butter, cocoa solids, and, of course, sugar. Unlike producers of milk chocolate, who use milk products to create a creamy texture, dark chocolatiers avoid such practices, giving their confectionery its trademark, chalky texture.
Dark chocolate also contains notably high levels of cocoa, often around 80%; this is why this treat has far lower sugar levels than milk chocolate and retains its famously bitter taste.
On that note, let’s further explore this dark chocolate’s personality and tastiest wine pairings:
As we intimated, dark chocolate has arguably the most unique combination of textures, flavors, and aromas in the cocoa world.
Its chalky texture may not offer the famous creaminess of milk chocolate, but it does perfectly complement its simple taste profile.
In each bite of classic dark chocolate, you can find an exquisite mix of the purest cocoa flavors and aromas - - unadulterated by added ingredients - - and even a hint of tannins.
Plus, there is a wide range of dark chocolate to explore. From sweet styles with added sugars to bittersweet styles with fewer, this cocoa treat offers something for everyone.
Ideal Wine Pairings
To complement the bitterness and relatively-low sugar levels of chalky dark chocolate, it’s best to stick with red wines, but pay attention:
For sweeter dark chocolates, opt for lighter reds like Pinot Noir and Merlot, as these will not overwhelm their more delicate personalities. Conversely, with bitter dark chocolates, swing for the fences and sample bold, audacious reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Syrah.
The first important thing to know about white chocolate is that it is not, technically, chocolate.
This yummy sweet actually comes from a lovely mix of sugar, cocoa butter, milk products, and vanilla - - but that does not make it any less delicious than its more traditional siblings.
With its simple ivory color, smooth, creamy texture, and distinctly enjoyable flavors, it’s an intriguing and tasty member of the confectionery world.
On that note, let’s dive into the personality of white chocolate and help you find its best pairings:
White chocolate’s enticingly buttery texture is somewhat reminiscent of milk chocolate, but it's the flavors and aromas of this pale sweet that truly set it apart.
In each bite, white chocolate offers sweet tastes of cream, vanilla, and sugar and aromatic hints of cocoa butter that harmonize for a delightful eating experience.
While this treat may not be as “chocolatey” as others on this list, it’s certainly worth a try and has many fans for good reason.
Ideal Wine Pairings
To emphasize the buttery texture and rich flavors of white chocolate, we recommend pairing it with sweet bottles of wine.
Make sure you avoid bolder, full-bodied red wines like Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah, as wines of this kind are sure to overwhelm your red wine and sour your white chocolate experience.
Wine Insiders: Your New Home for Wine
Now that you know more about pairing wine with chocolate, it’s time to explore Wine Insider’s diverse collection of fantastic varietals and blends from across the globe.
Whether you’re looking for a world-class bottle of red, white, or rosé to fill out a wine and chocolate gift basket, a sparkling option for a special celebration, or even a wine set mixing international favorites, we have the bottles you need at the prices you deserve.
The wide world of wine is ready for you to explore; now’s the time to begin your adventure.