Valentine’s day is right around the corner and it’s always a good excuse to indulge a little extra. Chocolate and wine are pretty much a necessity for any Valentine’s or Galentine’s day celebration. Although it would seem like wine and chocolate go together seamlessly, that’s actually not the case. The wrong wine and chocolate pairing can be super bitter or sour. We’ve taken the guesswork out and have a few paring ideas below. As always everyone’s palate is different so eat what you enjoy and let us know if you have a favorite pairing we didn’t list!
As a general rule don’t pair a high tannin wine with something bitter (i.e. chocolate with a high cocoa content). This is when things get really bitter or sour. The fat content in milk chocolate (usually half chocolate, half cream) makes it creamier and easier to pair with wine.
- Milk Chocolate x Merlot – lower tannins is better here. Find something that is fruit forward and it will taste like chocolate covered berries! Merlot often has notes of cocoa and dark fruits which would pair nicely with milk chocolate.
- Milk Chocolate x Lambrusco – if you’ve never had lambrusco before this is a time to try it. This delicate red sparkling wine runs slightly sweet with beautiful strawberry notes. Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco di Sorbara Vecchia Modena is a solid choice that is super affordable ($16/bottle).
- Chocolate Covered Strawberries x Champagne – this might seem like an obvious pairing, but it’s a classic and had to make the list! A slightly sweet Champagne will compliment the sweetness of the berries while not overpowering the chocolate.
- White Chocolate x Riesling – white chocolate is delicate enough to pair with white wine. Pair it with something fruit forward like Riesling or Moscato. Another great option is to drink a Sauvignon Blanc with it, the pairing will make it a super silky smooth experience.
- Dark Chocolate x Port – this is another classic pairing for good reason! Port typically has cinnamon notes and pairs so well with dark chocolates. Dark chocolate can be tricky if you’re wanting a dry red like cabernet sauvignon (I’ve made this mistake far too often and left disappointed with my wine). Instead of reaching for that bottle of cabernet try to find a red wine that has residual sugar. So if you’re not feeling port but are still wanting a nice red try a Zinfandel, Malbec or Red Blend all of which will have some residual sugar making this a great pairing!
Outside of Valentines day wine and chocolate pairings would make a great party idea! Think chocolate charcuterie board for a dinner party dessert – we might be making this next! A great rule of thumb is to pair white wine with lighter chocolates such as white chocolate or milk chocolate and to pair red wines with dark chocolate.