How to Pair Wine With Chocolate

Red wine and dark chocolate gift basket

One thing I’ve discovered is that wine and chocolate are the perfect companions, but only if you do it right. When you bite into a piece of dark chocolate, but sip a wine that is a little too bitter for the chocolate both end up tasting bad! When the pairing is correct, though, it is pure heaven.

When finding the ideal wine to go with your favorite chocolate, it helps to remember that everyone has a different palate. While certain flavors are “classic” pairings and are almost always complementary, as long as your taste buds say that the combination is great than enjoy!

Here are some tips to help you select the best wine for your chocolate:

White Chocolate

White chocolate is delicate and creamy and contains cocoa butter but no actual cacao. Technically, it’s not chocolate, but instead is made by mixing milk solids, sugar, and cocoa butter together to form a creamy confection. As a result of its delicate nature, it pairs best with white wines that are on the sweeter side, such as Gewurtztraminer, Riesling, Moscato, and ice wine. Your goal is to find a wine that is just as delicate as the white chocolate itself.

Milk Chocolate

Milk chocolate is a creamy mix of cocoa butter, chocolate liquor, and milk solids. Since this type of chocolate contains a nice balance between the sweet milk and the rich chocolate flavors, it actually pairs well with a wide variety of wines. Because of its higher milk content, any wine that tastes great with white chocolate will also work with milk chocolate, such as Riesling and Gewurtztraminer. Milk chocolate also tastes great with Pinot Noir and Merlot. You can also enjoy sparkling wine, such as Prosecco, with this kind of chocolate.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate has a larger percentage of chocolate liquor than other types of chocolates. Manufacturers often list the percentage of cocoa on their labels. Dark chocolate can contain as little as 35% cocoa but it’s easy to find dark chocolate that is 70% cocoa. The percentage can determine which wines will pair best. However, fuller bodies wines such as Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Bordeaux all work well for dark and bitter chocolate. Pinot Noir and Merlot are great for dark chocolate with a lower percentage of chocolate liquor.

Chocolate Truffles

Since chocolate truffles have a creamy flavor and smooth texture, this changes the nature of the wines that go well with it. No matter which type of chocolate is used, the presence of cream and butter make it almost necessary to find a sweeter, lighter wine to go with it. White wines such as Riesling and Moscato pair with truffles, as do red and white dessert wines. Port wine also goes well with chocolate truffles. If you would like to drink a red wine, choose something on the lighter side, such as Pinot Noir.

Next time you have a hankering for both wine and chocolate, use this guide to help you pair them together! You’re sure to find the best combination for your palate.