Ah, the most decadent of duos: wine and chocolate. Together, they seem so natural, but don’t let their common smooth, silkiness fool you – they’re actually quite the tough match. Not to worry, Gold Medal Wine Club is here to help you make the perfect pairings as you craft your wine and chocolate gift basket for yourself, your girls, or your guy just in time for cupid and his arrow to make his own.
In the name of love, obviously, I staged a wine and chocolate tasting with my roommates (better known as my galentines) with the wines to be mentioned to help provide a guideline for your wine and chocolate date night. If you haven’t experienced the magic of Salt, Acid, Fat, Heat, and how these flavor components enhance your culinary experience, follow these steps, and prepare to have your mind blown.
Step 1: Buy chocolate!
In my pairings, I used Lindt chocolate, a delicious and accessible chocolate brand. However, I encourage you to embrace the world of chocolate and not feel limited in your choices. We also have spectacular handmade chocolate truffles available in our Wine Store and Wine Gift Sets!
Step 2: Drink (but not too much).
Try your wine, ponder it, make the appropriate “oo” and “aah” noises. We start with the wine because chocolate tends to coat your mouth, and you want to be able to taste both without the influence of the other, to start.
Step 3: Ok fine, eat your chocolate
I imagine by now your taste buds have been patiently watering in anticipation – take mental notes of what you taste in the chocolate and compare them to the wine.
Step 4: Try your wine again. Again? Yes, again.
Now, that the chocolate has properly coated your mouth, or is even still in your mouth, take a sip of wine and experience the rush of ecstasy that
your partner could never provide the amazing duo of wine and chocolate provide. You’re welcome.
Step 5 (Optional): Clean your mouth!
No, you don’t need to brush your teeth or swish mouthwash. I want to enhance your experience, not ruin it! If you prefer, a palette cleanser such as a slice of green apple can be used in between tastings so you’re fresh for your next tasting duo.
Disclaimer: I am no sommelier, and in most cases, neither are you! Leave room for error and remember that everyone’s palate is different. Something that pleases the tastes buds of one, could certainly make another gag. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t taste a damn difference. Tasting is truly a skill, and everyone needs to start somewhere. Another helpful hint is to reference general tasting notes for common wine varieties on our site or one like Wine Folly to help connect your brain and your taste buds!
Chenin Blanc & Milk Chocolate with Sea Salt
Chenin Blanc tends to be a light and acidic dry white that won’t do well with too sweet of chocolate, which is why I chose a milk chocolate with sea salt, because as we know, salt makes everything just a little bit better. In this case, the saltiness of the chocolate cuts the acidity of the wine rather than enhance it, which makes my – and hopefully your - heart sing.
GMWC wines to try: Spring Street 2019, Revancha 2018
Pinot Noir & White Chocolate
Pinot Noir Club Members this is for you! Pinot and white chocolate are a match made in heaven. Although white chocolate is actually a chocolate imposter, we let it slide since its lack of cacao does absolute wonders in bringing out strawberries and raspberries in the Pinot.
GMWC wines to try: EX Wines 2017, Ancillary Cellars 2017, Lightpost 2018
Merlot & Dark Chocolate
It’s no surprise these two dark beauties go so well together. Be careful not to go too dark with your chocolate, as the bitterness may cut out what Merlot has to offer. If you’re feeling experimental, milk chocolate & caramel can be a nice pairing with Merlot as well, particularly one that has been on the shelf for a few years.
GMWC wines to try: Ehret 2016, Fattoria Montecchio 2015, Wine Spots 2017
Cabernet Sauvignon & Dark Chocolate Strawberry
My personal favorite of the four, a dark and fruity chocolate makes you want to melt into your seat when paired with a Cab. The often fruit forward and jammy quality (think currants and blackberries) of Cabernet Sauvignon is delightfully complemented by the strawberry and slight bitterness in the chocolate.
GMWC wines to try: Spring Street 2017, Bravante 2014, Kiara Bella 2017
If you want to try your own hand at wine-chocolate matchups, here’s a tip! When thinking about pairings, think, ‘does this wine make the chocolate taste better?’ and vice versa. ‘Does this chocolate enhance the flavor profile of the wine, erupting fireworks in my taste buds?’ It’s that simple. Cheers!
Author Bio: Samantha is a recent graduate of University of California, Davis with a BS in Viticulture and Enology. She is experienced in the laboratory and technical sides of winemaking and loves writing about wine when she’s not working a harvest. She is passionate about traveling the world and sharing her experiences with others!