I don't know about you, but we think that wine and chocolate are two gifts in life. Why not have them together? Though it might seem that simple, there are a lot of details that make up a perfect wine contender for chocolate.
Because both chocolate and wine have strong tastes, this can lead to a fight for your taste buds, ending in disaster. But when the perfect match is made, you will never want to eat or drink them by themselves again.
These are the tastiest wine and chocolate pairings, and why they work well together. Feel free to experiment with these combinations on your own to discover your favorite two. You could even make a wine and food pairing party out of it.
White chocolate is not technically made using cocoa, rather cocoa fat. Therefore, it's not considered a chocolate. However, we're going to let it slide, because it goes great with certain wines, especially sweeter wine. Something important to keep in mind before choosing a wine for your favorite white chocolate is that it's one of the more muted candies. Because there isn't strong flavor coming from the chocolate, this leaves room for the wine to do the talking.
A sweeter candidate is perfect for white chocolate, and frankly, the sweeter the better. This includes fruity wines like Sherry and Moscato d'Asti. Moscato d'Asti, popular among white wines, pulls accents of peaches and cream with a hint of rose, while Sherry portrays orange highlights that will pick up the creamy texture of the chocolate.
Other suggestions for this chocolate are ice wines, sweet rosés, late harvest, Pinot Noir, or Beaujolais. An example of a sweet rosé is Rosé Port. This wine is known for its accents of strawberries, which go hand in hand with white chocolate and maybe even a macadamia nut cookie.
Pinot Noir is a great pair because of the raspberry and strawberry combination, while Beaujolais' light red, grape variety pulls stronger with the creamy chocolate.
Milk chocolate lovers know that a great truffle includes half cream, half chocolate. With this in mind, pair the smooth and creamy mousse with a light bodied wine. You're in luck, there are plenty of those. This might be the easier chocolate to pair with wine. Some examples of great combos are Lambrusco di Sorbara, Ruby Port, Maury, PX Sherry, Recioto della Valpolicella. They are definitely some of the tastiest wine and chocolate pairings.
Lambrusco di Sorbara is a light, sparkling red wine. Though it's the lightest option of the Lambruscos, it has slight hints of peach and strawberry. Ruby Port is a little different, while still showing flavors of berries, it also hints at some spice. Maury, originally from France, has earthy tones, much different than a typical choice with milk chocolate, but worth a try.
PX Sherry is a common, sweet, dessert wine with lots of sugar and a high alcohol level. Recioto della Valpolicella and Montilla Moriles are not as common of a wine, but their sweet dessert style makes them a perfect couple for milk chocolate.
Opposite of white chocolate, dark chocolate contains a lot of cocoa, at least 35 percent to be considered so, to be exact. You can choose a dark chocolate that goes all the way up to 99 percent cocoa for an intense flavor. When it comes to dense, dark chocolates with strong flavors, you need to choose a wine with a full body.
The chocolate will give off a bitter taste, which will also create the same kick among the wine. In simple terms, the chocolate will take over your taste buds, especially considering the amount of cocoa. To balance the bittersweet chocolate taste, wines like Vin Santo del Chianti, Port, Zinfandels, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pedro Ximinez will go hand in hand with your choice of dessert.
Zinfandels are perfect because they have a fruity, yet dense taste, with a hint of spice. The high alcohol level allows the wine to stand on its own in relation to the chocolate. Vin Santo del Chianti has cherry, nut, and cinnamon hints, which allows a rich taste. Port, originating from Portugal, also has cinnamon tastes with a combo of spice. This is a great option for chocolates with high cocoa percentages.
Pedro Ximinez, a wine from Spain, has a very deep, almost black, red color. Though there are hints of both nuts and raisins, this is to be sipped very slowly to enjoy the pairing. You could even drink this with your favorite dark coffee. And finally, Cabernet Sauvignon is the most basic contender when it comes to dark chocolate, with a full body, dark fruit taste, and black pepper notes.
Sweet and salty requires a wine that will either be complementary or congruent. So choose a wine that has notes of either caramel or something that goes well with caramel. An example of a congruent pairing would be Cream Sherry while a complementary pairing would be Brachetto d'Acqui.
You should also be pairing wines that have been aged with oxidation to ensure some of the tastiest wine and chocolate pairings. Tawny Port and Moscatel de Setubal are both examples of wines that have been aged this way. Tawny Port is a deep red that has a very sweet taste with both nut and caramel hints, while Moscatal de Setubal has notes of grapes, flowers, and marmalade.
Other suggestions are Banyuls, Grenache, Grappa, and Australian Shiraz. Banyuls has a taste of peaches or apricots while Grenache is mainly spicy with a hint of berry, more of a soft wine. Grappa is one of those bottles that you are going to want to splurge on; a cheap bottle of Grappa tends to flop. Originating from Italy, it's made from distilling pulp and seeds. Australian Shiraz is a more full body wine with it's dark flavor and sweet berry and black olive contrast.
If you like the pairing of sweet and salty with your wine, try out pairing pretzels or asian foods like fried rice with a glass.
Peanut Butter Cups
Peanut butter cups are important to pair with a wine with similar taste to the chocolate itself; so grab something sweet and nutty. This makes the process of choosing a little easier because it's solely wines that match the same tastes as the candy.
However, there aren't too many wines that will work with the complexities of the peanut butter and the creaminess of the milk chocolate. Amontillado Sherry, Madeira, Lambrusco, and Oloroso Sherry are all great options alongside a Reese's.
Amontillado Sherry has been referred to as tasting like "liquid Christmas cake." Sign us up. A very sweet and creamy Sherry will go great with your candy. Madeira has hints of roasted nuts, caramel, and toffee, the perfect dessert wine. Lambrusco is one of the sweetest reds with cherry, berry and plum flavors.
And finally, Oloroso Sherry has a very nutty and toasted taste, which makes for one of the tastiest wine and chocolate pairings ever.