Valentine’s Prep: Which Wines Pair Well with Chocolate
Valentine's day is here, and what is a better way to spend it than starting your evening with fine wine and specialty chocolate? To get started, we have put together a helpful set of guidelines that will be sure to impress your significant other on this special day.
While pairing wine and chocolate has some complex thoughts behind it, there are several things that anyone can grasp, making you look like a master wine enthusiast.
The Basics of Wine and Chocolate
Because both wine and chocolate contain polyphenols, pairing wine and chocolate can have its challenges. Sometimes these heightened levels of different types of tannins, one or the other, can start to taste bitter or sour, creating massive flavor imbalances that may end up competing with one another. This is not the way to go.
However, there are ways to make chocolate and wine pairings amazing. Don’t forget to start with the lightest in both wines and chocolates and work your way toward darker, more intense pairings.
Here are a few pairings, along with some reasons why they work:
Milk chocolate is typically half chocolate and half cream; there is also typically additional sugar content to sweeten up the chocolate. This makes it easy to pair with wine.
Sweet whites and milky reds are best for pairing with milk chocolate. Think along the lines of Pinot Noir or Merlot for reds, and sweet Rieslings, Muscats, and dessert whites. Stay away from heavier wines, as they will overpower the chocolate.
While the white chocolate is technically not true chocolate, it still makes for a flavorful pairing experience. It is best to pair with light, playful wines such as Moscato d’Asti.
Sherry and Muscat are also great choices. Beaujolais, a funky red wine featuring the Gamay grape, has a range of flavors depending on where it is from. This is also a great option to pair with white chocolate.
Because the stronger bitter flavors of dark chocolate have loads of polyphenols, finding balance without sacrificing flavor will be more high stakes. Zinfandels, with their full bodies and stronger flavor notes, pair well with dark chocolate, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon.
Another good option would be to pair lower percentage cocoa dark chocolates with Pinot noirs. This will keep things exciting for the palate. If this is your last pairing, throw in a nice port to close out the night.
This Valentine's Day is a great opportunity to make sure that you are prepared with the right wines to set the mood for your special day. Metro Wines of Asheville, NC, has a wide variety of incredible wines and can help match the correct wine with any chocolate, food, or special event.
Our wine specialists are available to answer any of your questions, make pairing recommendations, and collaborate with your caterer or event planner at any time. Throughout the month, we also offer classes, weekly tastings, and social gatherings. All of these things can be found on our website.