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A Guide to Pairing Wine and Chocolate

Wine and chocolate are two of life’s greatest pleasures, yet pairing them can be tricky when you factor in the sheer variety in today’s chocolate confections alongside the diversity in personal palate preferences. Whether it’s chocolate themed desserts, artisan 80% dark chocolate bars or chocolate creations dotted with nuts, sea salt crystals, mint infusions, dried berries or simply caramel, there are versatile wine and chocolate pairings that can bring out the best in both. Here are a few ideas for wine and chocolate pairings to get you started.

Image of Milk Chocolate and Wine Pairing

Milk Chocolate Wine Pairing

PLAIN
Mild & malleable tannins need a fruit-forward subtle red, so for this wine and chocolate with pairing try a New World Pinot Noir or a soft and smooth Merlot.
Innocent Bystander 2014 Central Otago Pinot Noir or Chateau Mayne Vieil Cuvee Alienor 2014

NUTS or CARAMEL
This sweeter style chocolate with a caramel or nutty backdrop needs something like an Australian “sticky.” For this chocolate wine pairing, try a fortified wine from old Muscat or Muscadelle vines in the dry climate of Australia, “stickies” offer a nutty flavor profile with a caramelized texture.
RL Buller Fine Victoria Muscat or RL Buller Victoria Tawny

BERRIES
For this chocolate wine pairing, think chocolate-covered strawberries, or cherry-infused truffles. Match that bright berry fruit with a Rose’ Champagne or Sparkling wine.
Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rose

MINT
If you’re mixing mint and milk chocolate, try a red from the Coonawarra region of Australia, where a minty-eucalyptus note shines through the ripe berry fruit, making this combination the ideal wine and chocolate pairing.
Jim Barry Cover Drive Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Image of Dark Chocolate - Perfect Dark Chocolate Wine Pairing

Dark Chocolate Wine Pairing

PLAIN and ARTISAN
Artisanal dark chocolate wine pairings call for a wine that will stand up to its structure, but not overwhelm the nuanced flavors. A classic California Cabernet is an optimal choice here.
Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

NUTS or CARAMEL
Dark chocolate laced with nuts or tinged with caramel need a Tawny port, which mirrors the toasted flavors of nuts and velvety textures of caramel.
Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Old Tawny or Graham's 20 Year Old Tawny Port
Chocolate Cake Topped with Berries - Perfect Chocolate Wine Pairing

Pairing Wine with Chocolate Cake

A dense, dark chocolate cake will actually hold up to nearly anything above, but an Australian sticky or Tawny port will bring out the best in both.
Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Old Tawny or Graham's 20 Year Old Tawny Port or RL Buller Fine Victoria Muscat

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