' Red Wine and Chocolate, Yes Please! - VanArnam Vineyards
Chocolate & Wine, Yes PLEASE!

If you are like me, you love some chocolate and wine paired together, but sometimes struggle with which chocolate goes with which wine. Do not fret, I’m here to help. 

Chocolate & Wine, Yes Please!

Wine and chocolate hold various similarities such as both being rich in antioxidants. The process of making both wine and chocolate involves fermentation with the same type of yeast. They have a huge fan following across the globe and can make any day better. But maybe it is the similarity that causes them to fight for the palate when tried to pair together.  

The first step before deciding on a wine and chocolate pair is to know each of them individually. There might be certain flavors from both that may not pair well. So, the task here will be to pair in such a way that it enhances the best aspects of both and compliments each other.  Red wine is usually considered to pair best with most chocolates and is often preferred.  But the truth is that white wine, sparkling wine etc, also pair well with certain types of chocolates which we will explore here.

1) Milk Chocolate & Wine Pairing

Milk chocolates: Partly chocolate and partly cream, milk chocolates have extra fat that comes from the cream which makes the task of pairing it with a wine quite easy.

Pair with– A sparkling red wine from Italy such as Brachetto d’Acqui or late harvest Syrah, Petite Sirah and Pinot Noir will make an outstanding combination with Milk Chocolate.

Muscat which is a white dessert wine is popularly used to pair with milk chocolates. The peach and apricot flavors of the wine will blend smoothly with your chocolate.


2) Dark Chocolate and Wine Pairing

Dark Chocolates: Unlike Milk chocolates, dark chocolates need more attention while pairing as the bitter taste does not go well with many wines. With a minimum of 35%, cocoa solids which might go up to as high as 99%, sharing the palate with other non-sweet wines may not be a good idea.

Pair with- Strong red wines with dominant fruity notes are the best pairing elements for dark chocolates.

Various Port-style wines such as Petite Sirah and Malbec will make a divine pairing with cayenne chocolates and ginger chocolates respectively.

Cabernet Sauvignon and  Merlot pair great with a smooth dark chocolate of at least 55% cocoa solids.


3) Chocolate with Nuts, Berries and other tasty treats & Wine Pairing

Nuts and berries: Chocolates which contain nuts and berries are a tricky forte to handle while trying to pair with wine. They have a dominant fruity flavor of their own and hence red wines may not always be the best option.

Pair with- Rose is a great pairing wine with dark chocolates that contain raspberry or hazelnut.

A mild palate of a sweet sparkling  wine could sweep you off your feet when paired with chocolate strawberries.

Wines such as Madeira, Oloroso Sherry, and Marsala go perfectly with Peanut butter cups.


4) Mint Dark Chocolate and Wine Pairing

Mints: Mint in dark chocolate could be paired with Zinfandels to experience a flash of flavors in your mouth.

Pair with– Cabernet’s also go great while pairing with mints.

Experimenting with not necessarily minty tones of wines can also be great such as with mild fruity wines with low acid content.


Some tips to remember while pairing:


    • If you want to try a new pairing of your own then lay down some choices in both wines and chocolates. Start the tasting with chocolates which have the lowest cocoa percentage and move forward towards higher percentages. This will help you enjoy the pairing as well as define it better.


    • White chocolate can also be paired well with wine even though it is only made with chocolate liquor and hence it can hardly be considered a chocolate.  

Orange Muscat, Riesling and an Un Oaked Chardonnay make an amazing pair with white chocolate.  A sparkling glass of Champagne on the sweeter end could also be a great pair with white chocolate. Slightly sweeter tones of wines go well with these chocolates.


All of these pairings are only suggestions based on general likings.  So, if you decide to experiment on your own, keep an open mind and pay attention to what you like and don’t like while tasting.  Who knows, you might come up with a new favorite pairing!





Post By:   Noelle Cook