If you’ve tried wine and chocolate together, odds are you’ve had a pairing that wasn’t so successful. Wine and chocolate sound like a great idea because both have intense, fruity notes and both are sweet. Unfortunately, this can be too much of a good thing where the pairing doesn’t resonate on the palate because of the similarities. For this reason, you will want to look for wine and chocolate pairings that play up the differences between the two treats.
Polyphenols in wine and chocolate also affect the pairing. Scientifically, polyphenols are the components within wine and chocolate that make them beneficial — anti-inflammatory, for instance. Yet polyphenols are responsible for giving dark chocolates their bitter notes and for giving wines their tannic notes. If you pair a dry wine with a bittersweet chocolate, the experience won’t be pleasurable due to an overload of polyphenols.
Start with the lightest in both wines and chocolates and work your way toward more intense pairings. By starting light and working your way dark, you will be able to taste the subtler notes at play. If you began with a dark chocolate and then tried white or milk, you’d miss out on a lot of the flavours.
While a general rule of success is to pair sweeter wines with chocolates — everything from ice wines to fortified wines such as sherry or port — these wines can be syrupy.
So, the guide as it may be is, the best wine pairings for balanced milk chocolates are sweet whites or mild reds. Think light Pinot Noirs or Merlots on the red side, or sweet Rieslings and Muscats, along with dessert whites. Avoid anything that’s too heavy when pairing a red wine with milk chocolate, as the wine will overpower the chocolate.
Sparkling wine works for milk chocolate, too, especially those varieties that have fruity flavours. For nutty milk chocolates, port is a natural pairing.
If you a fancy more of the dark Chocolate sensory experience then Cabernet Sauvignon is another red to consider, or if you prefer New World wines pick up a Shiraz. Cabernet with their berry flavours, often work well with chocolate, and they are high in tannins without being too bitter.
Lighter dark chocolates, such as those with around 55 percent cocoa, pair well with Merlots and Pinot Noirs. If you’ve tried these wines with milk chocolate, look for a fuller bodies, more tannic Pinot or Merlot to pair with your dark chocolate to keep things exciting for the palate. If this is your final pairing of the night, conclude with a nice port. Why not?
Remember there are no rules, this is an indulgence sensory experience. Just go with it. Enjoy our Paired Duo Collections.
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