Think wine goes with just any chocolate? Think again! The richness, sweetness, and center palate of any type of chocolate pairs best with wines with equal richness. They also pair best with wines that have some perceived sweetness, either from residual sugar or alcohol, and a structured tannic center and finish to help draw out the extractive nature of both the chocolate and the wine.
With that, we’ve broken down the three most popular types of chocolate and paired them with the perfect Scott Harvey wine for you to enjoy year-round. Whether you use this for a blind tasting, a girl’s night, dinner party, or date night, these pairings won’t disappoint!
White Chocolate & Angel Eis Ice Style Wine
It’s no secret white chocolate is sweeter than dark, and a great rule of thumb is the sweeter the chocolate, the sweeter the wine. Just south of Ukiah on the Nelson Ranch in Mendocino County, a 43-year-old Riesling vineyard produces small yields of flavorful grapes for us to use in our Angel Eis Ice Wine - the perfect companion for white chocolate.
Frozen grapes were pressed to create this well-balanced dessert wine with hints of peaches, pears, and apricots. High acidity balances the 24% residual sugar to bring you this ice-style wine.
White chocolate typically has a very creamy texture on the palate with a gentle flavor, so this ice wine freshens the palate while maintaining the soft notes of the chocolate.
Milk Chocolate & Forte Port-style Wine
Milk chocolate requires something a touch heavier, and our Forté Port-style wine is the ticket. Flavors of candied red fruits, raspberry, and cranberry melt into flavors of red licorice and chocolate, while the soft tannins flow into a long, sweet plum finish. This hint of sweetness coupled with earthy undertones rounds out the chocolate beautifully.
While our Port is a touch sweet, it won’t overwhelm the palate with too much sugar, meaning it can also pair perfectly with fudge and chocolate chip cookies. This wine is complex enough to make the tasting experience intriguing, but won’t clash with or overpower it.
Dark Chocolate & Just One Last Kiss Red Blend
Last but not least, bold and savory dark chocolate is the perfect excuse to explore a dryer wine. The polyphenols in dark chocolate mirror those in wine which can give both a somewhat bitter taste. The bitterness in dark chocolate is what you want to balance out with a properly selected wine pairing.
Our first recommendation is the Just One Last Kiss Red Blend, which has 11% of our Forte Port-style wine blended in to add to the complexity of this pairing. The base of this fruit-forward red blend is Zinfandel, while the Forte laces through the wine to make up the full-bodied finish. Made with a mouthwatering balance, the wine is full of spicy cloves and blackberry fruit.
Because dark chocolate is such a show-stopper, our pairings don’t end there! Our Jana Cabernet Sauvignon hails from three vineyards all very close together off of the Silverado Trail in Napa Valley. This wine was aged for 21 months in French Oak creating a flavorful experience with well-rounded tannins, structure, and aromas. This dark chocolate works with this wine because it mellows the tannins, but also has enough fruit and structure to withstand the boldness of the chocolate. This is the ultimate classic pairing!
Finally, if you’re feeling “zin-ful”, our InZinerator Zinfandel - which has 9% of our Forte included - is also a wonderful option because it’s full of bold black cherry flavors. This wine is a lone warrior in the world of Zins, and Oak aging contributes to its rounded complexity with just a hint of sweetness.
No matter your chocolate preference, we have a wine for every type and every occasion!
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