No matter what your relationship status — married for 30 years, recently hitched, just starting to seriously date someone you’re into, #treatyourself-style single, etc. — we should all use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to indulge in one of the world’s most luxurious epicurean experiences: wine and chocolate.
Here are six pairings that go beyond the classics to make February 14 just a little bit sweeter.
Dark chocolate and rosé
You’re more likely to hear people talk about dark chocolate and cabernet sauvignon, but we’d like to take you down a less-trodden path: welcome to the realm of rosé! The general rule here is to make sure your wine is sweeter than the chocolate — but since dark chocolate is so bitter, that’s not a tough task. And when you get it right, the intense flavours and tannins in the chocolate (yes, chocolate has tannins, too!) will meld with the brightness and fruitiness of the rosé for a duo you won’t soon forget.
The general rule here is to make sure your wine is sweeter than the chocolate.
Chocolate hazelnut and Champagne
Whether it’s a Ferrero Rocher or another type of chocolate hazelnut delight, pairing this type of sweet with Champagne will blow your palate into the stratosphere. The pleasant nuttiness of the hazelnut and the creamy smoothness of the chocolate sparkle like a 100-carat diamond next to a similar type of nuttiness and the classic baked bread, brioche, and biscuity notes characteristic of Champagne. We’ll toast to that!
Chocolate peanut butter and shiraz
A fun way to look at wine and chocolate pairings is to imagine that you’re putting together ingredients for a complete meal. In that sense, sipping on a big ol’ shiraz while you bite into a chocolate peanut butter treat is sort of akin to eating a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich. The creamy smoothness of the PB and the chocolate meet the intense, jam-like fruit notes of the shiraz for a grown-up version of the classic childhood snack.
A fun way to look at wine and chocolate pairings is to imagine that you're putting together ingredients for a complete meal.
Milk chocolate and pinot noir
Okay, so this one isn’t far off the beaten path, but why fix what isn’t broken? Milk chocolate and pinot noir make for a time-honoured pairing that’ll have you raising your palms to the heavens in ecstasy. Because it’s far lighter on the tannins than dark chocolate, milk chocolate calls for a similarly lighter-bodied wine — and with its equally soft tannins, delicate fruitiness, and a smoothness that highlights the creaminess of the chocolate, pinot noir beautifully answers that call.
White chocolate and viognier
White chocolate is all about cream and sugar, which means it’s got a ton of natural sweetness — just like viognier. If you decide to give this one a go, you might just find that the juicy flavours (succulent tangerine and mango), floral notes (hello, rose and jasmine!), and classic oily texture of the wine fuse seamlessly with the sugary smoothness of the chocolate to create an irresistible fruit-and-cream situation.
Coffee chocolate and a GSM blend
GSM stands for grenache, syrah, and mourvèdre (aka garnacha, shiraz, and mataró/monastrell), and it’s a typically spice-centric red blend with bright notes of red and black berries and hints of espresso and dark chocolate. All that makes the good ol’ GSM heart-eyes-emoji-style wowza with coffee chocolate. Want bonus points? Make it dark choc with espresso.
Any favourite wine-and-chocolate pairings we didn’t include here? Share with your fellow WineFriends by commenting on social! And make sure to stock your wine pantry with chocolate-worthy vino by becoming a WineFriend member today.