As with any wine pairing, the most important factor is to drink a style of wine that you enjoy. If you like a barrel-oaked chardonnay with milk chocolate then “dive in”, regardless of what the experts say. With that “rule” in mind, let’s see what others have discovered and recommend with the three most common types of Chocolate; white chocolate followed by milk chocolate, and finishing with dark chocolate. Each type pairs best with different wine styles. There is one rule that most experts will agree on…The wine should be at least as sweet as the chocolate!
White chocolate is the softest, mildest form of chocolate. As cocoa butter is the primary ingredient, white chocolate is creamy, mellow and buttery. Sweet Spanish sherry pairs well with lighter chocolate. Sparkling wines like a Prosecco or Asti from Italy and Champagnes that are demi-sec (much sweeter than brut or extra-dry) compliment white chocolate. Don’t be afraid to experiment with a really sweet Riesling or an Ice-Wine with that buttery white chocolate!!
Sparkling, sweet wines as well as tawny ports pair nicely with milk chocolate. If you prefer a red, a lighter, fruiter wine is something you should experiment with. Merlots and Pinot Noirs are also quite nice with milk chocolate. As mentioned earlier, this is where your personal preference should dominate.
Dark or bittersweet chocolate is our third chocolate and is usually the last chocolate to taste during a tasting. This is the richest, most intense chocolate available and most will agree that the darker the chocolate the more robust the wine should be. Cabernet Sauvignon or a Zinfandel can be a great match with darker chocolates. A Well-aged Vintage Port is also a heavenly experience with a very dark Chocolate.
Many experts will agree that Banyuls, a fortified wine from France is the best to pair with any chocolate, particularly a dark chocolate. They claim that this wine morphs itself to fit the type of chocolate.
Now, that you know what some of the “experts’ have discovered, we would like to hear from you about your personal preferences, with wine and chocolate!!!