Wine And Chocolate Pairing

wine and chocolate pairing
photo credit: soleg_1974

Pairing Wine and Chocolate

One of my favorite desserts is our Chocolate Espresso Pots de Creme which is dark and rich, paired with a nice cabernet. Here are some tips we gathered from some real wine experts.

Light Chocolate desserts such as mousse:

  • Italian light sweet sparkling wine (Asti Spumante)
  • Young Sauternes
  • Unfortified sweet wines from the Muscat family
  • California Orange Muscat (Quady Essensia, which is great with chocolate/orange desserts)
  • California Black Muscat (Quady Elysium)
  • A lush, ripe California Cabernet or Merlot 

Medium weight desserts such as flourless chocolate cake:

  • Muscat de Beames-de-Venise
  • Muscat de Rivesaltes
  • Muscat vins doux naturals from Languedoc-Roussillon
  • Muscatels de Valencia

Heavy, rich chocolate desserts like a rich double chocolate cake or chocolate torte, truffles

  • Ruby port
  • Ten-year-old Tawny port
  • Australian liqueur Muscats
  • Malaga

The Experts at FoodNetwork.com Suggest...

Not Sweet Chocolate - The Chocolate: Chocolat Grand Amer, 85% cacao, from the Paris house of Michel Cluizel

Actually, all of the wines in my tasting went well with this super-dry chocolate, which has a kind of coffee-bean bitterness about it. When chocolate is this austere, it's an ideal backdrop for almost any wine. I'd even go so far as to say that rich California Cabernet would go well with chocolate this un-sweet. My favorite sip with it, however, was a spirit that went poorly with the sweeter chocolates in the tasting:

  • The Wine: Bas Armagnac, Cerbois
  • Wine maker: Cerbois
  • Price at review date: $25 for 350 ml
  • Region: Southwest France
  • Country: France
This brandy from southwest France has a gorgeous nose of vanilla, nuts and earth, followed up by a palate that's unusually silky and gentle for Armagnac. The touch of sweetness is just enough to get it over the chocolate hump. The result is two austere tastes playing a lively duet; the flavors of neither get canceled out. This is a serious, sophisticated, thoughtful match--a good one for a pensive Valentine's Day, for lovers who prefer subtler pleasures.
author

Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of GourmetSleuth.com she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.