Chocolate and wine sounds like such a romantic pairing. The problem is…chocolate is a very hard food item to pair with wine. Chocolate is loaded with sweetness, fat, and bitterness…all taste components that are tough on wine. There certainly are wines that can handle chocolate as a pairing partner, but they tend to be red (to handle the intense flavor and the over-dose of fat), and sweet (to handle the intense sweetness of the chocolate). Below we have three suggestions that might calm the chocolate/wine relationship.
At the northern limit of the Beaujolais lies the romantically-named Cru of Saint-Amour. The name is derived from Saint Amateur, a Roman soldier who converted to Christianity and founded a monastery overlooking the river Sâone. Today, much is made of the name, and the wines are heavily promoted in connection with Saint Valentines day. Saint-Amour wines can sometimes be a little reserved when young, needing some time to open up and show their character. After a year or so however, they become supple and fruity, with flavors of apricot, cherries, spices, and with great intensity of color.
Champagne and chocolates are a classic Valentine’s treat. The combination works best if you remember the sweetness rule and choose a demi-sec Champagne. A demi-sec with chocolate-covered strawberries can be heavenly.
Champagne is arguably chocolate’s most glamorous match, but another wine may be chocolate’s most compatible mate: Brachetto d’Acqui, a lightly effervescent, fruity, low-alcohol red. An obscure grape grown in the Piemonte region of northern Italy, Brachetto tastes of strawberries and raspberries, two fruits that play well with chocolate. I can’t guarantee that a glass of Brachetto with a rich chocolate mousse or tart will bring you romance, but the flavors are as compatible as wine and chocolate get.