Every year it happens.
Around Easter, Halloween and upon the release of Girl Scout cookies, it’s the same thing.
Charts matching candy and wine. Clickbaity titles hyping the supposed magical combination of chocolate/candy/cookies/ice cream is with wine.
I admit, out of all the wine pairings you can imagine, few sounds more romantic and downright delicious than red wine and chocolate. So decadent! Two of the best things in the world, coming together in harmony.
What could go wrong? Unfortunately, a lot.
Sadly there are way too many articles proposing fantastic marriages of the two, like this one, this one, ad this one. Even sillier posts about pairing wine and girl scout cookies, Halloween candy, and other foolish ideas exist.
Why it’s a bad idea
When it comes to pairing wine and food, you should follow a few rules. Wine and food should complement or contrast each other in some way. For example, a lemony buerre blanc fish sauce would do nicely with either a lemony Chablis, or a racy minerally high acid Sancerre.
Here’s the bottom line: chocolate is sweeter than wine, and will rob your wine of all its fruitiness, complexity, and leave behind a tart, one-sided impression.
“Wine and chocolate can go together, but you need to match sweetness with sweetness, so avoid trying to pair a dry red wine (like Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir) with chocolate, and instead look to some great dessert wines, like Vintage Port and Madeira from Portugal, or sweeter versions of sherry from Spain,” according to this website.
This isn’t to say a dry red wine and chocolate can’t live in peace. On occasion, a red wine and chocolate do work nicely together. Most of the time, a bittersweet, 70% or higher dark chocolate, usually one that has something added – a complementary spice, a type of herb, or nuts perhaps – something extra that can totally jive with the right wine. Just don’t go thinking your s’mores cupcake will taste great with a bottle of Silver Oak Cabernet.
A few wines that might work with chocolate? One is Brachetto d’Acqui – a sweet wine from Italy. You could work this with a chocolate mousse. Late harvest Port, which is very sweet, could pair nicely with a range of chocolates. And so might a Lambrusco, a bubbly sweet Italian wine.