With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it’s important to know which wine to drink with your chocolates that you receive or buy for yourself. Chocolate and wine go together like Peanut Butter and Jelly. Luckily, there are a few guidelines that will help direct you on your chocolate and wine matching quest this weekend. Ideally, the chocolate and wine selections should be close in sweetness. Here’s why: if the chocolate is much sweeter than the wine, it will enhance the bitter flavor of the wine. If the wine is much sweeter than the chocolate, it will overwhelm your taste buds leaving no room for the flavor of chocolate. Another good rule of thumb is to match flavor intensities. A deep, richly flavored chocolate needs a similarly deep, rich wine. Likewise, a chocolate light in flavor needs a light wine. It’s very important that you take a sip of the wine, eat the chocolate, and then drink the wine again. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes in the flavor of the wine and how much it enhances its characteristics. This is a good rule of thumb to keep in mind when tasting wines in general and pairing them with food. (wine, food, wine) Now that we’ve gone over the basics, it’s time to get to the good stuff.
Chocolate and red wine are both delicious indulgences, but delicious together? You may be a bit wary of this pairing and with good reason. Matching a chocolate with a red wine is not as simple as quickly grabbing any chocolate and bottle off the shelf. It requires a little forethought and a taste for experimentation. If bittersweet, dark chocolates are your preference, then you’ll need strong red wines with concentrated fruit notes like Cabernet Sauvignon or Ten Point. Bittersweet chocolates, because of their strong flavor and lack of sugar, can stand up to these higher tannin red wines that make your mouth dry and lips pucker. If you recall from the previous #winewednesday about Ten Point, a tannin is a naturally occurring polyphenol found in the fruit skins of the grapes and make the wine “dry” in taste. Sweeter dark chocolates need a wine with slightly robust flavors. This is the perfect opportunity to accentuate the subtle chocolate notes of one of our dry reds. A port wine also goes well with the rich, full flavor of dark chocolate. Additionally, dark chocolate or milk chocolate can be paired with our Merlot or Pinot Noir. Red wine and milk chocolate are a natural, easy go-to pair.
White chocolate, considered by some as technically not a chocolate, is surprisingly a match for Zinfandel or Chardonnay. This pair is a case of opposites attract. Chardonnay pairs well because of the buttery and yogurt characteristics of the chocolate, and the wine is round and rich in structure. The high tannic and high alcohol content of the Zinfandel paired with the creamy, buttery white chocolate blends well together. Our Afternoon Delight is a similar comparison to a zinfandel.
With this being said, our Black Raspberry is another prime example of “opposites attract.” With 12.3% residual sugar, it pairs perfectly with a dark chocolate. If you take a sip of the wine, eat your dark chocolate, and then take a sip of the Black Raspberry wine again, you’ll notice how much the chocolate enhances the flavor. Scott, our winemaker, says, “it’ll taste like raspberries on steroids.” Many people question why our Black Raspberry wine, and other dessert wines of ours, are in the skinny wine bottles. This is because of high sugar content, we consider it a dessert wine, and it’s often served as a 2 or 3 ounce pour rather than your usual 6 oz pour. So with this is mind, you can get many glasses of wine out of the dessert bottle, and the wine will oxidize before you are able to finish it and we want it to stay fresh for you. We also know that your typical glass of wine while on the couch isn’t going to be a 2-ounce pour, and the bottle may be finished in one sitting. LOL
Once you start adding in fruit with the chocolate, these guidelines may no longer hold true. Allow these suggestions to get you started on your chocolate and wine pairing adventure but don’t be afraid to make your own matches. Of course, it’s always your own preference on which wine pairs “best,” but we think if it’s Seven Mountains, it’ll be the best. 😊
Stop by this weekend to the café and pair our Black Raspberry or one of our Red Wines with the Chocolate Tasting Plate or Chocolate Covered Strawberry Crème Brulee we will be offering on Friday or Saturday. The special for this weekend is Filet Mignon, Crab Cake and a Side Salad beginning at 4pm. Music Friday is JT Thompson Piano Player from 6p-9p and Saturday is Dustin Pollock from 7p-10p.
We also sell wine by the bottle and have a selection of over 40 wines! Nice to know and saves you a trip from going over the mountain 🙂 If you haven’t tried our Black Raspberry yet, you’re missing out! We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!