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Wines to pair with Chocolate for Valentine’s Day

Ahhh, who doesn’t love chocolate? So, what wines pair best with your favorite chocolate? Well, it all depends on you, the chocolate and the wine.

The most important factor is you! If you like a big Cabernet Sauvignon with milk chocolate then go for it! It’s truly what you enjoy that matters, regardless of what the experts say. With that “rule” in mind, let’s explore pairing wines with chocolate. White chocolate followed by milk chocolate, finishing with dark chocolate, each type pairs best with different wine styles. The wine should be at least as sweet as the chocolate. This is critical.

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 sherries pair well with lighter chocolate. Sparkling wines like a Moscato d’Asti or Prosecco from Italy and Champagnes that are demi-sec (much sweeter than brut or extra-dry) compliment white chocolate. Orange Muscats can be fun to enjoy if you enjoy that style of wine. Lastly, really sweet Rieslings such as Eisweins (icewines) add to your chocolate experience.

Milk chocolate is the most popular style of chocolate. The best wine to drink with milk chocolate is Brachatto d’Aqui’ a sweet, slightly sparkling wine from Italy. Tawny ports also pair with milk chocolate, especially if there are nuts in the chocolate. If you want to drink a red wine with milk chocolate choose a lighter, fruiter red instead of a big bold red wine. A fruity Merlot or a bigger style Pinot Noir might suit you. Some experts suggest a Hungarian Tokjai with milk chocolate.

Dark or bittersweet chocolate is very popular. This is the richest, most intense chocolate available. The darker the chocolate the bigger the wine! Most people choose a Cabernet Sauvignon to drink with dark chocolate-be careful-too much tannin can make the wine taste harsh. Try a Cabernet Sauvignon that’s softer than the one you would drink with that rib-eye steak. Zinfandel can be a great match with darker chocolates. Well-aged Vintage Ports can be a sublime taste sensation with dark chocolate.

Banyuls, a fortified wine from France is The Wine Counselor’s Choice for pairing with chocolate, particularly dark chocolate. This wine morphs itself to fit the type of chocolate you’re enjoying. Try it, you’ll be amazed!