Chocolate and Wine: Unpopular opinion or a Match Made in Heaven?
We all know how well wine pairs with cheese and meat, but wine and chocolate is a pairing which has divided the nation. We’ve teamed up with Jenni from @ThewineQueen_ to help quash the controversy and help you to learn what wines you should be serving with your after dinner treats…
Chocolate and wine pairing is something that Jenni is passionate about, understanding that the wrong mix can easily put people off - but when you find the right pairing, the two complement each other perfectly, each enhancing the taste of the other.
“Chocolate, although it might seem easy, is surprisingly difficult to pair with wine. This is because the sweetness of the chocolate can reduce the overall perception of sweetness of the wine, therefore making it taste more bitter and producing a more challenging combination.”
We put Jenni to work, to taste some popular wines and give her advice on what chocolate pairings can work. Pour a glass and buckle in…
Enjoy a swirl of Reisling, with a swirl of caramel…
If you’re a fan of a fruity wine, Jenni recommends pairing Weingut Weszeli, Riesling Loiserberg 75cl and caramel/white chocolate due to the “high acidity of the Riesling and the slightly mineral notes which match well with the creamy and milkiness of both the white and salted caramel chocolates”.
Not your typical sweet Riesling, Weingut Weszeli offers a dryer taste experience, with intense citrus notes making it an ideal summer tipple.
Radiate luxe with the taste of intense Merlot and Dark Chocolate
The next wine on Jenni’s tasting list was Excelsior Robertson Merlot - and whilst we know that dark chocolate isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, when paired with a rich red like this one, it makes the perfect choice.
Jenni says ‘Merlot (silky medium bodied red wines) offer a dark fruitiness and richness, which pairs well with dark chocolate as both have a good intensity and a bit of savouriness.’ This pairing is ideal for wine lovers with less of a sweet tooth and a preference for a more well rounded flavour.
Honey and Spice Route, and all things nice…
If you’re partial to a light red wine, or a lover of Pinot Noir, Jenni recommends pairing with the age-old favourite - Cadbury’s Crunchie!
Jenni tried her Swartland Grenache, Spice Route and told us that ‘this lighter, fruitier style of red wine pairs well with a Crunchie as the honeyed notes complement the fruitiness of the wine.’
If you’re feeling adventurous, Jenni challenges you to taste test your Spice Route Grenache with a range of sweeter milk chocolates such as Tony’s Chocolonely, Tobelerone, or if you’re feeling fancy, why not try it with Hotel Chocolat’s Pistachio and Honey Chocolate Slab? We know what we’re doing this weekend…
Dessert? Yes please!
And if you’re looking to round off a dinner party with one of our best selling dessert wines, Jenni has some great advice…
“Typically, sweeter wines (including fortified wines) are easier to pair with chocolate, as the sweetness in the wine matches the sweetness in the chocolate and doesn’t upset the overall balance of the combination.”
Jenni tried the Chateau d’Arche Sauternes 2010, and her favourite pairing was… *drum roll please*... Indulgent fudge or even a Creme Egg! If you’re as surprised by this pairing as we are then surely it’s worth trying, right? She tells us ‘The richness of these chocolates pairs well with the full bodied dessert wine. ‘
Now it’s your turn!
Now you’ve had some insight on some of the best chocolate and wine pairings from our good friend Jenni, it’s time to put your own taste buds to the test!
Here are some top tips from Jenni to set you off in the right direction, and don’t forget… enjoy!
‘Wines with higher tannin (or that drying effect) when paired with chocolate can taste even more dry and bitter, therefore a top tip is to choose smooth, softer wine, usually with a lower alcohol content or those with a focus on fruitiness.’
This may mean stepping out of your comfort zone, and swapping your favourite bottle for something that is fruitier and easier to drink. With our ‘mix six’ offer, you can bag a discount on any six bottles of wine, so why not try something a little different and see what pairings you like best?
Once you’ve chosen your wines, it’s time to shop for chocolate!
‘To create your own pairings, grab a box of miniature heroes, celebrations, or even just a good selection from the supermarket and see which ones you like best. Everyone’s palette is different so its fun to play around with the flavours. You may even want to experiment with chocolate with nuts or berries to give yourself an additional challenge!’
We can’t wait to hear about your favourite pairings, let us know what you try over on Facebook ( we’re totally here for your pairing fails too!). If you already have a tried and tested combination - share it with our community, and let’s turn this unpopular opinion into a dream combo!