Pairing your wine and chocolate – Does it really matter?
Red wine and chocolate is a darling pair these days. With all those deep, dark chocolate notes right in a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine seems like a natural match for an intensely-flavored, dark chocolate dessert.
But are the two perfect together? Maybe not, according to Sara Schneider, Sunset wine editor.
“Along with those sweet-seeming chocolate flavors and dark berries and plums, good (young) Cabernet Sauvignon has a backbone of tannin that can suddenly taste harsh and astringent when you put it with chocolate, especially if the chocolate is quite sweet,” she says.
“Merlot, on the other hand, tends to have softer, rounder tannins under its cocoa and mocha layers; it’s often a more seamless partner for chocolate,” says Schneider
Tips for pairing:
• The chocolate shouldn’t be sweeter than the wine.
• The darker the chocolate, the more likely it will be to taste good with red wine (partly because chocolate with a higher percentage of cacao has less sugar).
• The darker chocolates, with deep-roasted flavors, pair well with wines with dark, toasty notes themselves.
• Port-style and sweet late-harvest reds tend to be the best matches for chocolate desserts.
An ideal couple
Here are some of Schneider’s favorite chocolate desserts with her suggestions for the perfect wine partner.
• The flavors of warm chocolate souffle cakes with raspberry sauce explode when paired with a late-harvest Sauvignon Blanc or a late-harvest Chenin Blanc.
• A sweet sparkling rosé adds extra sparkle to chocolate fudge cheesecake.
• A tawny Port or an orange Muscat are the perfect match for bourbon pecan tart with chocolate drizzle.
• Give chocolate-chip shortcakes with berries and dark chocolate sauce a try with a late-harvest / Dessert wine.
I love wine and chocolate and if the two is not pairing well, it is just bad luck.
This perceived mismatch will not put wines or chocs in disregard. If for instance a Cadbury’s Wholenut chocolate is not suppose to pair well with a Merlot… So what.
What do you think?