Wine and chocolate.
Often seen together in gift hampers. Not actually the easiest food and wine pairing!
Wine and chocolate is probably one of the trickiest paring for me to give advice on because chocolate is sweet and should therefore pair best with sweet wines but I do not at all have a sweet tooth. Yes, I do sometimes drink sweet wines, but I tend to pair them with spicy things or with strong cheeses.
Wine-pairing is all about balancing as Tim Atkin explained here , and that is precisely the sticky point.
Most wine experts agree that this is a really difficult pairing. Chocolate, like wine, can have many different tastes and textures. I used to really love chocolate. Over the years, my taste buds have changed a lot and whilst I will sometimes fancy a little bite of chocolate after a meal I never really crave chocolate and never feel the urge to try as many different types of chocolate as possible like I do with wine. So I think I do not actually know enough about chocolate itself to give great advice on what to drink with it.
Like Will Lyons says in this video You will need to scroll to the middle of the article.. ,” Chocolate can ruin wine and it’s not something I’d go out of my way to do” In the article, he writes that he accidentally quite enjoyed the pairing of dark Belgian chocolate with a Pomerol! I m not sure I d be that brave, I do like Pomerol too much.
I of course always try to read Jancis Robinson’s view on wine issues and in her article ” Matching Wine and Chocolate”, she actually provides a list of wines to be paired with chocolate and they are all fortified wines ( Port, PX, Rivesaltes, Banyuls etc…)
She writes: “ I find it difficult to think of many unfortified sweet wines that are powerful enough to stand up to chocolate, however. Sauternes, Monbazillac, Vouvray Moelleux, Alsace Sélection de Grains Nobles, Tokaj, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese…These can all be absolutely wonderful, and it is hugely regrettable that they are not more popular than they are.”.
Now, I do not normally sell fortified wines so I was pleased to read that Monbazillac also works because I do sell some and it is very popular with some of my customers!
Something else made me smile in her article. “The strangest wine to serve with chocolate in my view is a bone-dry champagne. It usually tastes even drier and tarter with something as sweet as chocolate, yet there are many French tables at which Champagne is regarded as the dessert wine of choice.”
You see, in my house (definitely French) it was Vouvray Petillant Brut ( it’s cheaper than Champagne). And the thing is, even after all the wine-tasting theory that I have studied, unless I am in working mode, I will still probably shamelessly choose a dry white wine to drink if I have to have chocolate. I have even once had chocolate with a Sauvignon Blanc and I don’t care what people think.
My point is that, as always and even more so with chocolate, there are some rules that you can choose to follow so you don’t make a big social blunder or romantic gaffe but ultimately it’s what you enjoy that’s the right pairing for you. As Jancis Robinson points out, at Easter, it’s not real chocolate that we eat anyway ! So if you want to drink Prosecco with your Easter eggs then go for it. (just make sure you get an organic one from your local supplier 😉 )