Phillip Minton M.D.

Pairing Wine with Chocolate

In chocolate on April 3, 2012 at 4:03 am

The same concepts that pertain to foods and chocolate pertain to wines and chocolate. Dark chocolate is most commonly thought to pair with richer red wines, while white chocolate pairs best with light bodied “white” wines. Chocolates with a smokey flavor, such as those infused with toasted rice kernels, seem to pair best with rich well-oaked red wines, such as merlots, carbernet sauvignon, or cab-merlot blends. Chardonnays, especially those aged in oak, seem to taste best with white chocolate that is not too sweet. Sweeter white chocolates require, to most palates, light bodied wines that do not expose the taste buds to anything too sweet or flavorful on its own, since the sweetness of the white chocolate will need to predominate, so that the taste buds are not overwhelmed with “sweet”.

Since dark chocolate is our main focus, let’s specifically discuss wines that pair well with the darker chocolate confections. Many people find that fruity red wines pair well with dark chocolate, particularly when the dark chocolates are not particularly sweet.

There are two taste  components of both dark chocolate and red wines that must be considered, so that each of us can match wines and dark chocolates to our liking. Those taste components are “bitter” and “sweet”, since both red wines and chocolates can have varying degrees of bitterness and sweetness. Bitterness can be quite prominent in richer dark chocolates and in dark red wines that spent a long time in oak barrels. The other component, the taste “sweet”, may not be as prevalent in dark chocolate as in other types of chocolate, but still can be prominent enough to be a very important factor. Certainly each of us must decide what degrees of bitter and sweet in the wines we like pair well with dark chocolate, but in general it can be said that most dark chocolate tastes good when paired with darker, mid-bodied red wines such as moderately-oaked cabernet sauvignon, merlot, red zinfandel, cabernet franc, and cab-merlot blends.

@2012 Phillip Minton, M.D.

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  1. I really love to eat chocolates specially dark chocolate because they taste sweet and special. ;:’,;

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