The ultimate guide to pairing chocolate and wine

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Love chocolate? Love wine? Enjoy them together for the ultimate taste sensation on International Chocolate Day this July 7.  

To enhance the flavours of your favourite chocolate, Christine Ricketts, Cellar Director and Wine Educator at Cellarmasters, has shared her expert tips on what wines to match.

“The secret is to find a wine that is sweeter than the chocolate. If the chocolate is sweeter than the wine, it can actually make the wine taste bitter,” she says.

Dark Chocolate

Cabernet Sauvignon has rich black currant and blackberry flavours, which add a lovely sweetness to dark chocolate’s bitterness. If you’re after a more complex taste, try it with Zinfandel, a richly flavoured red wine full of dark berries, licorice and black pepper. The fruity, spicy and smoky taste will paired with the chocolate give you a rich, bold taste sensation.

White Chocolate

White chocolate is not actually chocolate, but cocoa fat, so an acidic, sweet wine such as Moscato d’Asti, a sparkling wine from Italy, or a Gewürztraminer, an aromatic white wine, will cut through the fat and bring out the buttery and creamy flavours of the ‘chocolate’.

Milk Chocolate

Milk chocolate has high levels of cream and sugar, so a crisp Riesling will contrast the sweet and milky taste. If you are a red wine drinker, a plush Merlot will pair nicely as its soft, velvety and plum flavours will enhance the cacao of the chocolate.

Hazelnut chocolate

Sweet, red Tawny port has a wide array of subtle flavours, including hazelnut, dried fruits and caramel, which means it will enhance the nutty flavours of the chocolate.

Caramel chocolate

Caramel chocolates are the perfect harmony of sweet, salty, fat and bitter. Again, a Tawny port is will enhance the caramel, or pair with an Olorosso sherry which has a dark and nutty flavour that will bring out the chocolate flavour.  

Salted Caramel

A sparkling Shiraz is brilliant as it boasts a velvety palate, flavours of sweet fruits such as blackberries and blueberries, hints of chocolate and exotic spices – it has an overall sweetness that complements the saltiness and bitterness of the chocolate

Mint Chocolate

The ultimate match for mint chocolate is a Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon, as it will really highlight the mint flavour. Cab Savs that are from wine regions that are warm enough to have low pyrazine levels but are still generally cool tend to have a beautiful, mint aroma.

Orange milk chocolate

With flavours of green pepper and lime, a Grüner Veltliner – a dry, white wine will highlight the citrus flavours. If it’s a dark orange chocolate, a sweet, dark Liqueur Muscat will leave a beautiful finish.

To find some fantastic wines to go with your favourite chocolate, head to Cellarmasters.

Christine Ricketts is among a select group of people in the country to be a Wine & Spirit Education Trust qualified teacher, and is one of Australia’s more respected and knowledgeable women in the wine industry, and is often asked to take part in tasting panels for wine magazines.  

What’s your favourite way to indulge in chocolate?

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