Red Wine and Chocolate

red wine and chocolateRed Wine and Chocolate

By Mark Adams

Mark is a professional winemaker, former winery owner, author and frequent speaker on wine.  He currently teaches wine classes throughout the United States.

Red Wine and chocolate, mannnn, talk about life’s simple pleasures.

Ya know, some things just go together.  Beer and brats, steak and potatoes, bacon and eggs and of course wine and chocolate.

Let’s talk a little on how to match this perennial favorite.

With all due respect to Mr. Hershey, I’m a big fan by the way, but let’s talk about the only chocolate you can actually match with wines and that’s a very dark chocolate.

When you’re matching wine and chocolate, here’s the simple rule to remember.  The darker the wine, the darker the chocolate.

To determine the darkness, simply look at the wine.  Pinot Noir is much lighter than Zinfandel.  That would be the red zinfandel, not the pink.  Chianti is more red than Pinot Noir, but lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon.

Here’s all you need to know about chocolate.  Cacao is the part from the chocolate bean and the main ingredient that makes chocolate.

The darkness of the chocolate is determined by the amount of cacao in the final chocolate.  To determine the amount, look on the chocolate label and look for the percentage.

Sometimes it’s on the front, sometimes it’s on the back.

Any brand of chocolate will do, but dark chocolate is far better than milk chocolate to have with wine.

Milk chocolate is too sweet and will not be a good match for red wines.

Chocolate in the low 50’s percent is perfect for lighter color wine.  High 50’s to low 60’s is perfect for a wine that’s a little darker.

Chocolate in the high 60’s to low 70’s is perfect for dark full bodied red wines.
Instead of worrying too much, I have made a chart for you to make it really easy.

Wine                                         Chocolate     % of Cacoa

Pinot Noir                                  Low 50’s to Mid 50’s

Chianti                                      High 50’s to Low 60’s

Cabernet Sauvignon                 Low 60’s to High 60’s

Zinfandel                                   High 60’s to Low 70’s

This chart is not an absolute.  They final pairing really depends on how dark you like your chocolate and what variety of wine you like.

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There’s actually a company in San Francisco called the San Francisco Chocolate Company that makes chocolates that are designed to blend with specific varieties.

I’ve tried them and they are very good.  As close as they are to Napa, creating chocolates to match wines seems like a natural fit, doesn’t it?

I’ve also seen a whole bottle of wine that has been dipped in chocolate up to the neck.  It’s pretty clever, but I’m not sure how you would eat the chocolates.

Sounds like it would make a great gift, though, maybe for valentines.

Remember, the fun is to experiment to find your perfect pairing of red wine and chocolate!

Tough experiment, no doubt.

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