What wine goes with chocolate? Let’s find out!

Pairing wine with chocolate isn’t just about taste. It’s an art form. Ever had that “Eureka!” moment when you tasted a piece of dark chocolate with a sip of deep red?

That’s the universe telling you that there’s some sort of magic happening. It’s that connection where both flavors elevate each other, creating something even more spectacular.

Now, let’s deep dive a bit into what makes these pairings so perfect.

Understanding the Basics

The science behind pairing

Science and wine? And chocolate? Yup, they’re totally related.

On a basic level, wine and chocolate have chemical compounds. Flavonoids in wine, phenylethylamine in chocolate… sounds all geeky, but this is where the magic brews.

These compounds react with each other and our taste buds. The result? That blissful sensation when what wine goes with chocolate hits just right.

The role of sweetness, bitterness, and flavor profiles

Let’s break it down. Both wine and chocolate come with a spectrum of flavors. From the ultra-sweet to the “whoa-that’s-bitter” range.

Sweetness: Everyone knows the super sugary taste of milk chocolate or a sweet dessert wine. The sweetness in both wine and chocolate can complement or contrast each other. It’s all about finding that sweet spot.

Bitterness: Enter dark chocolate. Bitter, rich, and oh-so-delicious. Now, think about the boldness of certain wines. They pack a punch, right? Pairing these correctly means dancing on the thin line where the bitterness of the chocolate and the robustness of the wine amplify each other.

Flavor Profiles: Beyond just sweet and bitter, there are so many undertones. Berry, nutty, fruity, smoky, you name it. Recognizing these will make you a pro in understanding what wine goes with chocolate.

Types of Chocolate and Their Characteristics

Dark Chocolate

Ah, the king of chocolates, dark and mysterious. It’s like that brooding character in every great novel.

Flavor profile: Dark chocolate is intense, man. It’s got a richness, a depth. There’s that prominent bitterness, a hint of sweetness, and sometimes even fruity or earthy undertones. A piece of good dark chocolate can take you on a flavor journey.

Best wine pairings: Thinking about what wine goes with chocolate, especially the dark kind? Think bold. Wines that have robust flavors, maybe a touch of berry or spice. Reds usually, but hey, don’t let anyone box you in. Experiment, and find your own groove.

Milk Chocolate

The sweetheart of the chocolate world. Smooth, creamy, and always there to comfort you after a long day.

Flavor profile: Milk chocolate is like a warm hug. It’s sweeter, creamier, and less intense than dark chocolate. Sometimes, you might even get hints of caramel or vanilla.

Best wine pairings: For milk chocolate, you might want to lean into lighter wines. Reds that are fruit-forward, or even some whites. The goal is to complement the creaminess without overpowering it. Remember, it’s all about that balance.

White Chocolate

The wild card. Some swear by it, some think it’s not even real chocolate (the debate is real!). But one thing’s for sure, it’s got its own charm.

Flavor profile: It’s sweet, super creamy, and often has vanilla or milky undertones. No cocoa solids in this one, so it marches to its own drum.

Best wine pairings: Given its sweetness, you might think about wines that offer a refreshing contrast. Something sparkly, perhaps? Or wines with a slight acidity to cut through the creaminess. Again, thinking about what wine goes with chocolate, the white kind in this case, is a fun exploration.

Types of Wine and Their Characteristics

Red Wines

The deep thinkers of the wine world. Bold, varied, and always ready to make a statement.

Flavor profile: You’ve got a range here. From berry notes to woody undertones, reds can be fruity, spicy, or even herbaceous at times. And let’s not forget tannins – they give red wines that distinctive astringency.

Best chocolate pairings: Given their boldness, reds often dance well with dark chocolates. But hey, a silky milk chocolate with a fruit-forward red? That’s a date.

White Wines

Light, breezy, and versatile. They’re like the best friend you take to every party because you know they’ll get along with everyone.

Flavor profile: Crisp, often with notes of fruits like apple, pear, or citrus. Some can be sweet, while others are more on the dry side.

Best chocolate pairings: These can be paired with milk chocolates or even white chocolates, especially if they have a fruity undertone. It’s like having a picnic in a meadow.

Dessert Wines

Sweet, delectable, and the perfect ending (or beginning, we don’t judge) to any meal.

Flavor profile: Think sweet, often with a viscous texture. Notes can range from honey to apricot to nuts.

Best chocolate pairings: Given their sweetness, they often go hand in hand with chocolates that can balance them out. Dark chocolates, especially those with fruit fillings, can be a match made in heaven.

Pairing Strategies

Finding what wine goes with chocolate is not just a casual fling; it’s a committed relationship. Here are some pro tips.

Matching sweetness levels

Simple rule: Sweet with sweet, and bitter with robust. Like calls to like. A super sweet wine with an ultra-bitter chocolate might clash, but who knows? You might discover something out of this world.

Complementing and contrasting flavors

Think of it like a seesaw. You either balance it out, or you let one side tip a bit more for fun. A chocolate with a hint of orange might go well with a wine that has citrusy notes.

Considering tannins and bitterness

Tannins in wines and the bitterness in chocolates can either fight for dominance or raise each other up. So choose wisely, and always trust your taste buds.

Specific Pairing Recommendations

Dark chocolate and Zinfandel

You ever meet two people and think, “They should totally be together?” That’s dark chocolate and Zinfandel.

Why it works: Zinfandel often has these deep berry notes, maybe a hint of spice. Dark chocolate, with its rich and slightly bitter profile, just meshes with that. The chocolate mellows out the wine’s tannins and suddenly, boom! Taste explosion.

Milk chocolate and Pinot Noir

Remember those teen rom-coms? The jock and the quiet, artsy girl? Totally different but somehow perfect. That’s milk chocolate and Pinot Noir.

Why it works: Pinot Noir is like that elegant friend who knows about art and stuff. It’s got these subtle red fruit flavors, maybe some earthy undertones. Milk chocolate, being all sweet and creamy, complements this perfectly. It’s not overwhelming, just two flavors dancing gracefully together.

White chocolate and Moscato d’Asti

Alright, picture a beach party. Sun, sand, and fun tunes. That’s the vibe of white chocolate and Moscato d’Asti.

Why it works: Moscato d’Asti is light, bubbly, with a hint of sweetness. White chocolate, with its creamy and sugary profile, pairs with it like a dream. It’s playful, it’s fun, and oh-so-delicious.

Experimenting with Pairings

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I always say, “Rules are just guidelines, and taste buds? Well, they’re rebels.”

DIY pairing tips

  • Small Bites: When tasting, don’t gobble up a whole bar or down a glass. Small sips and bites help you appreciate the nuances better.
  • Temperature Matters: Serve wine a little cooler and let the chocolate be at room temp. It just lets the flavors blossom.
  • Start Light: Begin with the lighter wines and chocolates, then move to the bold ones. It’s like warming up before a workout.

Hosting a wine and chocolate tasting party

Want to be the talk of the town? Or, at least among your friends? Host a wine and chocolate tasting party.

  1. Invite Over the Crew: The more the merrier. And trust me, everyone’s down for some wine and chocolate.
  2. Variety is the Spice: Get a range of chocolates and wines. From milk to dark, from white wine to robust red.
  3. Guided Tasting: Have some fun cards or notes about each pairing. Let folks know what they’re tasting and what to look out for.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Man, we’ve all been there. You’re super hyped to match that wine with the choc and boom – something’s off. So, let’s save some heartaches and talk pitfalls.

Overpowering the chocolate or wine

You know when you’re jamming out, and someone cranks up the bass too much? And suddenly you can’t hear the lyrics? That’s what happens when one flavor bulldozes the other.

The deal: If you’ve got this bomb, intense wine and pair it with a super delicate chocolate, one’s gonna shadow the other. Think harmony. Think duets, not solo performances. Especially when pondering the age-old question: what wine goes with chocolate?

Ignoring the importance of quality

Alright, real talk. You wouldn’t wear a Gucci belt with ripped dollar-store jeans, right? Mixing high-quality stuff with meh stuff? It’s not gonna look or taste great.

The lowdown: If you’re splurging on some top-notch wine, don’t skimp on the choc. Make it a royal affair. Make them both shine.

Forgetting about personal preference

Okay, I get it. There’s science, there are experts, and there are those fancy articles telling you what wine goes with chocolate. But, end of the day? Your mouth, your rules.

What’s up with that? Just because someone says, “This is the BEST combo,” doesn’t mean it’s your jam. Maybe you’re a rebel. Maybe milk chocolate and a spicy red wine make your taste buds do the cha-cha. You do you.

FAQ about what wine goes with chocolate

What types of chocolate go best with wine?

Good news, wine and chocolate can be a match made in heaven! But remember, there’s a huge variety of each. Generally speaking, the darker the chocolate, the more robust the wine needs to be. So, with dark chocolate, go for a full-bodied red, like a Cabernet Sauvignon.

Milk chocolate is more forgiving, pairing well with lighter reds and even some whites. White chocolate’s creamy, buttery notes often do well with sweet wines like Moscato or even champagne.

Is it true that sweet wines work best with chocolate?

Often, yes! When pairing wine and chocolate, it’s important to remember one golden rule: the wine should be as sweet as, or even sweeter than, the chocolate. Otherwise, the wine may taste bitter or sour.

Port, late harvest Zinfandel, and dessert wines often strike the right balance. But don’t forget about dry reds! They can pair wonderfully with dark chocolate, creating a complex taste that’s utterly divine.

How about red wine and chocolate – are they a good pair?

Well, we can’t talk about wine and chocolate without mentioning the classic red wine-dark chocolate duo. It’s a bold combo, full of intense flavors. A rich, dark chocolate plays off the deep, fruity flavors of a robust red wine, like a Malbec or a Zinfandel.

It’s like they were made for each other – the tannins in the red wine pair perfectly with the bitterness in the chocolate. So go ahead, give it a whirl.

Can you pair white wine with chocolate?

Well, many folks would say, “Nay!” but I say, “Why not?” Here’s the secret: aim for lighter, sweeter chocolates. A citrusy white, like a Riesling, can work nicely with white chocolate or even some milk chocolates.

You might also find success with a dessert wine or a sparkling white, both of which can balance the sweetness of chocolate. Just remember, the wine should always be sweeter.

Are there any wines to avoid when pairing with chocolate?

Hmm, good question. It depends on your personal taste, but I’d generally steer clear of very dry, acidic wines. They might struggle to hold their own against the rich, creamy sweetness of chocolate.

It’s like bringing a knife to a gun fight – they’re just not equipped for the job. Also, really complex, spicy wines might clash with equally complex chocolates. Remember, you want them to complement, not compete!

What about chocolate desserts – what wines should I pair with those?

Ah, now you’re speaking my language! With chocolate desserts, the options are endless. Try a fortified wine like port with a rich, dark chocolate mousse.

Or how about a raspberry chocolate cake with a juicy Zinfandel? If you’ve got a creamy, milk chocolate dessert on your hands, try a sweet Riesling or a Moscato. The most important thing is to have fun and experiment – that’s the joy of pairing!

Is it better to match the intensity of flavors or to contrast them?

When pairing wine and chocolate, matching is usually safer. A heavy wine with a robust chocolate or a light wine with a delicate chocolate makes sense. They’re equally strong, so one doesn’t overshadow the other.

However, sometimes contrasting can surprise you! Think spicy dark chocolate with a sweet dessert wine – the spice contrasts with the sweetness, creating a harmonious flavor that’s just chef’s kiss.

How should I serve wine and chocolate together?

Serve wine slightly cooler than room temperature and chocolate at room temperature. It’s fun to set up a tasting, starting with lighter chocolates and wines and moving to darker, more intense ones.

Try a small bite of chocolate, letting it melt in your mouth, then take a sip of wine. Let them mingle and explore how the flavors change. It’s not just about the pairing, it’s about the experience too!

Can I use wine in my chocolate recipes?

Absolutely! Wine-infused chocolate recipes can be a game-changer. Imagine a dark chocolate cake with a hint of port, or truffles laced with a touch of champagne.

The wine can add depth and complexity, elevating your dish to the next level. Just be cautious not to add too much – you don’t want to overpower the chocolate. And remember to save some wine to drink alongside!

What about the wine-and-chocolate detractors? Are they onto something?

Well, you can’t please everyone, right? Some people argue that both wine and chocolate have complex flavor profiles, which makes them difficult to pair effectively.

They might say that chocolate coats the palate and masks the wine’s nuances. But I say, to each their own. If you love both wine and chocolate like I do, it’s worth playing around to find a combo that sends your taste buds into orbit! Life’s too short not to.


  • Chocolate and wine? A romance older than that dusty bottle in your grandpa’s basement.
  • The game is all about balance. Don’t let one star overshadow the other.
  • Quality matters. Like, a lot.
  • Trust yourself. Wondering what wine goes with chocolate? Your palate has the answer.

Now, it’s all on you. Dive into that world of velvety chocolates and wines that speak stories. Throw a lil’ tasting shindig with friends. Try out whacky combos. Laugh at the misfires, and celebrate the oh-so-right ones. Remember, the journey to find what wine goes with chocolate is half the fun.

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