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Wine and Chocolate Pairings

Wine and chocolate, two of the greatest pleasures in life - when paired properly, the experience can be out-of-this-world. When poorly matched, however, the combination can be a bitter disaster. 

Chocolate and wine have extremely intense flavor profiles which can dominate your palate if you're not careful. When pairing the two, be sure to match the intensity of both components, or choose a wine that's just a little bit sweeter.

Follow the simple guide below to find your perfect match.

Fool-Proof Pairing Concepts:

Milk Chocolate & Dessert Wines - Milk chocolate is the Goldilocks of chocolate: not too sweet, not too bitter, but just right. Look for a sweeter red wine, such as Port (we like Ruby Port or Maury) or a nutty Sherry (either Moscatel or PX based) to add a layered texture to the wine. For something a little different, try a Lambrusco! Bubbles, froth, and jammy red-fruit flavors paired with milk chocolate gives the pairing a little PB&J-like effect. 

Dark Chocolate & Juicy Reds - Dark chocolate's lower sugar content allows the treat to be paired with a lower RS (residual sugar) wine, though you'll generally still want a hint of sweetness for balance. Seek out juicy Zinfandels or New World Pinot Noirs, or go sweeter with a Vintage or Tawny Port. Just avoid dry reds with high tannins that will accentuate unpleasant bitterness.

White Chocolate & Sweet Whites - OK, so white chocolate isn't actually chocolate, but that doesn't mean it can't go great with wine! This cocoa fat-based delicacy is intensely sweet, demanding a wine with just as much RS to stand up to it. Look for a frothy Moscato d'Asti, late-harvest Riesling, or Eiswein

The Perfect Balance - Put your pairing skills to the test with all kinds of desserts - the possibilities are endless! The basic rule to remember is to match intensity and sweetness. Dessert Wines like Sweet Madeiras and Tawny Ports are killer with caramel, adding a nutty complexity to the richness of the filling. They'll also work with Peanut Butter, or try a sweet red blend for a grown-up version of your favorite childhood sandwich. Don't be afraid to get creative - it's all about having fun and trying new things. 

Take it to the Next Level - Learning about pairing is just like learning about wine - you can read about it all you want, but the best thing to do is to taste, taste, and taste some more. Get a group of chocolate & wine loving friends together and experiment! Assign each person a different type of wine to bring, as well as a dessert or chocolate of their choice, and see for yourself which pairings work best for your palate.