Chocolate and Wine?


While its rumored that the gods (Zeus in particular) devoured chocolate and wine every hour, on the hour, I've never been a huge fan of the combo. In fact, it wasn't until recently that I relatively enjoyed the two in the same bite. The countless other times I tried them as one, the acid was off, the chocolate was too sweet for the wine, or the wine was too full of itself to submit to the chocolate.

Then I had a Madiran and chocolate together. Mainly Tannat based, the Madiran had the stuff to lull the chocolate into submission. Dark and creamy, the chocolate was a sucker for the wine. Fierce and strong-headed, the tannic wine coated the chocolate from the harsh outside world (my tongue).
Since then, I've had a few other wines that I've liked with chocolate. The other was a big Cahors, also from Southwest France, but Malbec, instead of Tannat based. For the life of me, I can't remember the other one, but I know that it was not a California Cab or Merlot, like what so many suggest is the best pairing with cocoa.

So in preparation of my weekly post on my wine and food pairing blog, my question is, what are the best chocolate pairings that you've had? The worst? And please, don't just give me pairing suggestions that you've heard tastes good. I want to hear what you've liked and what made you want to throw the chocolate out of the window (but close to the house still so that you can claim it and eat it after your fit).

I'm asking because most of my wine and chocolate consuming pairing attempts have been failures, and with chocolate, I want happy conquests.

Kirstin Jackson Ellis works as a wine bar manager and wine and food consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area and writes about wine and food pairing at Vin de La Table, her luxurious and lighthearted blog.

Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: oceank8
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    55708 2,030

    I like chocolate with ruby port. I have had a chocolate infused port and would have to say, that made me want to chuck it out the window - yuck!

    May 27, 2008 at 8:15 AM

  • Ivan

    I really like the Morandé Late harvest (Chili) with good Belgian chocolate mousse. I also like a Moscato D'Asti to go with that.

    Did you try strawberries with a chocolate fountain? I preffer a really sweet wine to go with that, like the ones above or a Pineau de Charantes (red version).

    Some people prefer dark chocolate, some people prefer sweet chocolate, I will always suggest dark chocolate.

    Then again when I only want to eat chocolate (like a snack without the wine) I preffer sweet chocolate.

    Just try and experiment with it, you will be surprised.

    Enjoy your chocolate.


    May 28, 2008 at 5:50 AM

  • Marta Strickland

    I find you can't go wrong with a great dark chocolate and a powerful California Cabernet. We have had many many good chocolate wine combinations. I do not like to have Port or sweet wine. I think a very berry, overpowering red, with even some heavy oak and new world character can perform quite well with a more bitter and intense chocolate. We love Lindt, and their chocolate is good just about anything.

    May 28, 2008 at 7:55 AM

  • Snooth User: Chris Carpita
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    33093 5,546

    Haha, I just posted one about wine gum to show off the images. We should start a post with only pictures of delicious food.

    May 29, 2008 at 4:13 AM

  • Snooth User: Kirstin
    46671 68

    Some good ideas here, I'll post my results on sometime next week. Until then, I'm still liking my port with chocolate.

    May 29, 2008 at 12:04 PM

  • Snooth User: Philip James
    Founding Member Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    1 12,575

    Port and chocolate for me too. I love wine and sugary foods, but am notoriously bad at pairing them expertly. If i was paying attention i'd go with a dark, more bitter chocolate and pair it with a smoky Syrah, Zin, or maybe even a cab. Ports and dessert wines would work.

    I have some crystallized ginger infused chocolate at home and i thought about having that with a Riesling. Will let you know how it goes.

    @Ocean - yeah, i've had a few chocolate infused wines, and I have to say they have been universally unappealing

    Random image, i know, but i'm showing off the new image support, and making myself hungry at the same time:

    May 29, 2008 at 12:25 PM

  • Snooth User: lrossouw
    Hand of Snooth
    72254 152

    How about wine that tastes like chocolate?

    This wine is lovely:

    May 30, 2008 at 9:13 AM

  • Try Maury, a dark red sweet wine from the French Southerly end of the Spanish Border.
    Also very sweet Pedro Ximenez from Andalucia.
    Some say Hungarian Tokay Aszu as well.
    I am surprised by the recommendations for dry reds, and being of a risk averse disposition, would tend to go with the sweet ones.

    Sep 29, 2009 at 4:59 AM

  • Snooth User: emiswing
    256489 1

    It's been awhile since I paired the two together but I have two wines that I remember going absolutely perfect.

    First Seven Deadly Zins. I took a huge piece of triple chocolate cake, you know the one's chain restaurants serve for dessert and the raspberry on this Zin set everything into motion.

    The second was the Ironstone Cab Franc. One of my favorite candies is the Dark Chocolate Molasses Chew by Russell Stover. Now you only can get one two pieces of this in the variety box, but if you live near an outlet center you can usually pick up a whole bag of them in the seconds bin. The cab franc was able to tame the bitterness the molasses, while pairing perfectly with the chocolate.

    Oct 06, 2009 at 7:02 AM

  • I find that pretty much any Grand Cru Bordeaux will work with dark chocolate -- and I admit a preference for a very high cocoa content (85%). Because at that level, the chocolate is not too sweet or milky, it balances easily with the earthiness of the Bordeaux wines.

    Nov 20, 2009 at 3:55 PM

  • Snooth User: MJnOrmond
    391374 1

    I would suggest eating a hefty % cacoa bar with wine. Its dark chocolate, but the best of the best for dark chocolate. My favorite brand is easily DAGOBA. The New Moon (74%) version is my overall favorite, but the Eclipse (87%) version is very good as well. This organic chocolate is outstanding with red wine. I prefer a good Italian red (Chianti or Sangiovese blend) or a Madiran red - Laplace and Ode d' Aydie are fantastic wines from the Madiran region. An alternate for me is a Penfold's Shiraz/Cab blend from South Australia. This is the range I prefer, and I find the above mentioned chocolate going very well with these wines. The heavier wines (Chianti/Tannat) work best with the higher% cacao. The lighter wines work well with the lighter% cacao. However, never skimp on the cacao content. 70% or more is highly recommended for quality and flavor in general, and with a delectable red.

    That's my 2 cents... I love these combinations.


    Feb 23, 2010 at 8:50 PM

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