Planning on indulging in some chocolate on Valentine’s Day? Make the day even more special and pair your heart full of chocolate with the perfect wine.
Chocolate and wine really is a marriage made in heaven. The process of making chocolate is very similar to wine and both cocoa beans and wine are fermented with the same type of yeast.
White chocolate is the mildest form of chocolate. Some don’t consider it real chocolate, as cocoa butter is the primary ingredient. Good quality white chocolates are creamy and buttery and benefit from a wine that shares its sweetness like a sparkling Prosecco or Moscato d’Asti from Italy or a demi-sec champagne. Demi –sec varieties will be sweeter than a brut or extra-dry so be sure to read your wine labels.
Milk chocolate is the most popular style of chocolate. It’s versatile and offers the right balance of sweetness and creaminess without being bitter. There is a higher sugar content. This combined with its milk content, results in a mild, sweet candy with few flavors or aromas. That is why it is the preferred chocolate type for filling with strong flavors like nuts, caramel and syrup-soaked cherries. Tanglerose Backyard Red, a blend from California, is an ideal milk chocolate pairing wine. It has a nose of dark chocolate, black fruits and cassis with some earth in the background. Supple on the palate, with some spice (black pepper over fruit) and a good overall structure.
To be considered real dark chocolate it must contain a minimum of 35% cocoa solids. The higher the cocoa solid value, the more bitter the taste. Consider that when you pick a wine. High tannin wines may compete too much with the bitter taste of a chocolate that is 70% cocoa or more. So, choose one that has subtle tannin notes, like Traveling Vineyard’s Amped from Argentina, if you love really good dark chocolate.
The tannat grapes in Amped are sourced from Argentina’s Tulum Valley in the San Juan province. A semi-arid dessert climate, San Juan is the number two-ranked wine-growing province in Argentina, sitting at elevations ranging from 2,000 and 4,500 feet above sea level. The Tulum Valley averages about 300 days of sunlight per year, with moderately hot summers and mild winters, a combination that results in a grape that produces a medium-to-full bodied wine with notes of ripe black fruits, subtle tannins, dark chocolate, leather and anise.