How do you pair wine and chocolate?

March 9, 2021

As our friends over at Montezuma’s say, “Tasting a good wine is much like chocolate, you have to appreciate the mouth feel, the initial flavours, the intensity and the after taste.” Isabelle, our Head of Wine, has been working with the chocolate brand to come up with a guide on how to pair wine and chocolate together. And it’s safe to say, some of Isabelle’s suggestions might come as a surprise.

Pairing Chocolate with Red Wine

When it comes to red wine, having a square of rich, dark chocolate is not the ideal pairing. In fact, white chocolate is a more complimentary choice. Wines like Bordeaux and Cab Sauv, which are high in tannins, clash with foods that are also high in tannins - like dark chocolate. 

If you can’t resist an oaky red, however, try a chocolate that is high in salt - this will balance out the tannins. Montezuma’s suggest their Happiness Bar for this; the salt and fat content from the hazelnuts will pair well with a full-bodied oaky red. Why not try our Château Franc-Cardinal and test this theory for yourself? 

When it comes to red wine and white chocolate, Isabelle says that “tannin in red wine goes really well with anything with a good chunk of fat content. That’s why red wine goes so well with cheese and meats. Fat softens tannins, the wine and chocolate act in perfect opposition here.” So if you’ve got a red - ideally with light tannins, like Syrah or Pinot Noir - you’ll want to try something like Montezuma’s Great White Bar

Pairing Chocolate with White Wine

When it comes to white wine, milk chocolate is a good place to start. As Montezuma’s say, “Full-bodied creamy white wines like Rioja or Sancerre are a match made in heaven for our Smooth operator milk chocolate.” White wine works well to compliment chocolate, as it brings out the sweetness rather than overpower it like red wine.

A creamy white wine has lots of lees ageing and malolactic fermentation, which are winemaking techniques that make it more milky than like acid in fruit. A great wine to try would be a Muscadet sur lie, or an Albariño. (You can find out more about these wines from our YouTube channel). 

Dark chocolate is another great pairing suggestion for rich, aromatic white wines. This is because the fruity and floral aromas will lift the darkness of the chocolate. Isabelle sums this up nicely: “Imagine like when you put raspberries in dark chocolate and it makes it even more wonderful.” All in all, wine should work in opposition to the chocolate, to highlight the flavours and best qualities of the other. Why not try a riesling, or the Vale de Lobos from our March box, with a bar of chocolate that's dark, but not too overpowering - like Montezuma’s Darkside.

Surprised by what you’ve read? Let us know how you find these pairings, and don’t forget to give our friends at Montezuma’s a follow on Instagram

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