Classic Wine and Chocolate Pairings

Regardless of your feelings about Valentine’s Day, it’s at least a solid excuse to drink some wine and eat some chocolate (preferably together). Despite this ultra popular pairing, the nuances of pairing a rich confection with robust wine can make even the experience vinophile a little uneasy.

If you’re showering your sweetheart, or perhaps celebrating singleness, these wine and chocolate pairings are sure to fill your heart with happiness.


Milk Chocolate and Pinot Noir

Milk chocolate, according to FDA (yes, they get to regulate chocolate), must at least 10% chocolate liquor and about 15% milk product. We’re not trying to figure out what makes up the other 75%, but suffice it to say milk chocolate is the smooth-sweet-silky balance that has made chocolate the devil’s food.

A sweet, yet balanced chocolate needs an equally balanced wine. Look for a more rounded sweetness—the kind that comes from currants, raisins, and cherry. These richer sugars will please picky palettes. Find a juicy pinot noir that’s had a minute to breathe; you’ll avoid having too much heaviness in your mouth, and the chocolate will playfully dance with the berry and vanilla notes that make the quintessential pinot noir.


Dark Chocolate and Cabernet Sauvignon

Interestingly, the FDA doesn’t dictate what qualifies as dark chocolate. However, dark chocolate is almost universally less sweet than milk chocolates, with much more bitter finish. Less sweetness means a more subtle flavor—one that highlights the subtle nuttiness hidden in cacao that can only be appreciated as dark chocolate melts away on your tongue.

This chocolate can almost certainly withstand a more robust wine. The bittersweet chocolate pairs well with spicy, woody cabernet for a depth-of-flavor explosion. Alternate a sip of cabernet with a small bite of dark chocolate that you let slowly dissolve in your mouth. The melting of the chocolate is similar tasting experience to a slow sip of wine, where different layers of flavor will open up on your palate over time.

White Chocolate and Chardonnay

You won’t find chocolate liquor in white chocolate. Instead, you’ll find rich cocoa butter blended with milk, sugar and other flavors. The vanilla flavor in white chocolate comes through much more without the potent cocoa notes.

White chocolate calls for something equally buttery and balanced. Find a wet, honeyed chardonnay with a smooth, buttered finish.


Chocolate Covered Strawberries and Sparkling Wine

Yes—it’s a bit of a cheat. But we’d be remiss to leave out this romantic favorite. Fresh, tart strawberries dipped in a thin layer of chocolate are a fun burst of flavor with a wonderfully sweet finish—much like a delightful sparkling Riesling, full of effervescent sweetness.  

No matter which pairing you choose, we wish you happy matchmaking…with wine and chocolate, anyway.