Easy tricks for pairing wine and chocolate
The elegance and complexity of wine melds with the bitter touch of delicious chocolate. Be surprised by one of the world’s most famous, popular pairings: wine and chocolate. Never tried it? Come along with us and discover the best combinations for pairing these two incredible products.
Can you pair wine and chocolate?
The answer is a resounding yes. Although it’s also true that it isn’t always easy. When pairing wine and chocolate, you have to consider the characteristics of each product so that, when you put them together, they complement each other instead of cancelling each other out. So, you don’t want to pair just any wine with whichever chocolate you have to hand.
To know how to pair wine and chocolate, you have to understand something that makes the latter special. Cacao gives chocolate its characteristically bitter flavour we enjoy so much. And it is that bitterness that clashes with wine, because of its famous tannins.
The more cacao it has (or the purer the chocolate) the harder it is to pair it with wine, as it increases the astringency and feeling of dryness in the mouth. The result can be too aggressive for some palates. So, it’s easier to pair with chocolate that has a bit of milk than with the darker ones.
3 rules for pairing wine and chocolate
Whether in a bar, ice cream or cake, remember these 3 rules when choosing the perfect wine to pair with chocolate or vice versa.
- The chocolate should always be as sweet or a bit sweeter than the wine you’re going to be drinking.
- The more intense the chocolate, the fuller bodied the wine should be.
- It’s best to choose wines with mid-to-low acidity to compensate for the acidity in the cacao. Tip: avoid sparkling wines like champagne, for example.
Tips for pairing with chocolate
And, after that bit of theory, let’s look at some practical cases for each type of chocolate. Which will you opt for?
Wines for dark chocolate
Here we apply rule number 2. To pair wine and dark, pure chocolate, it’s best to go for a full-bodied wine, like a red, to strike the right balance between the flavours.
Will any red wine do? Truth is, the best options are those with Tempranillo, Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. If you want our personal recommendation, a glass of El Coto Real Reserva red never disappoints. It’s silky, slow on the palate, with mocha and coffee notes that are an amazing pairing for chocolate.
Wines for milk chocolate
As it has less cacao, with milk chocolate we can go for lighter, softer wines. So, young or Crianza wines (depending on how much milk the chocolate has) and fruity wines, in general, are a great option.
Remember, if the wine is too strong, it will mask the flavour and nuances of the chocolate instead of enhancing them. From our stocks, we’d recommend 875m red or El Coto Crianza Garnacha. The latter has lovely aromas of cherries and red fruit, plus notes of mocha and cacao.
Wines for white chocolate
White chocolate is special because, unlike the other types, it is much sweeter and creamier. And this is exactly what we want to highlight with the wine pairing. So, in these cases, it’s best to pair with white wines.
And, as we had preferences among red grapes, we also have some among white varieties. So, the best option for pairing wine and white chocolate is unquestionably Chardonnay.
Our favourite Rioja wines in this group are the 875 m Chardonnay or El Coto de Imaz Reserva Blanco. Their butteriness and vanilla aromas will make you love white chocolate even more.
And that’s it! Did you get it all? We hope your culinary combinations are a great success. And if you still want to learn more about foolproof pairings and find out how to make the best wines part of your dishes, don’t miss these posts on our blog.