Wine and chocolate. Two treats that just seem to belong together. Whether it is the perfect Valentine’s date or a Tuesday night solo session of binging Girls, this combo makes not just for a great pairing but for an experience. That experience is rooted in so much more than you’d think!
More than just insanely delicious and fun, both wine and chocolate are complex agricultural products. It is common knowledge that wine comes from all over the world. Wine grapes have a home and where they come from and how they are harvested can completely shape what that wine tastes like once it reaches your glass. In wine geek speak this idea is known as terroir aka a sense of place.
Not as commonly discussed with chocolate, but the indulgent treat also has its own version of terroir. Chocolate doesn’t come from the same geographical places as wine, but it absolutely has a home. Both products are farmed and chocolate is harvested from the famous cocoa plant, while wine obviously comes from grapevines. Cocoa plants are farmed in some of the most interesting places on the globe in Central America, South America, Western Africa and the South Pacific. Chocolate, like wine, is unique based on where it comes from in the globe and how it was harvested.
On a nutritional level wine and chocolate have a ton in common as well. Both products are considered vices, but actually both bring a lot of health value. The aroma of chocolate boosts Theta brain waves which decrease anxiety and is loaded up with antioxidants that help combat aging. Wine has its very own health benefits. It is also full of antioxidants, but most famously red wine has resveratrol which helps keep the heart healthier!
But most importantly, how can we maximize the combo of enjoying wine and chocolate together!?! For this we look to Paula Abdul’s 1988 tune “Opposites Attract” as a lesson in what not to do when it comes to pairing wine and chocolate.
Dark, intense chocolate like one’s with 70% cacao is calling out for an equally intense wine. Think port or other fortified vino. Chocolate originally starts as fruit before it is roasted and many chocolates hold on to fruity notes. These chocolates pair perfectly with jammy, fruit forward California pinot noir.
Dense and weighty chocolate needs a big bold red wine to hold up to each other. Zinfandel, Syrah, and Shiraz (if you’re hanging in South Africa or Australia) are your go to’s for this indulgent pairing.
More sweet chocolates like milk chocolate make the best matches with sweet wines. This could be a dessert wine, ice wine or sweet Rieslings.
But do not fret! We’re not here to judge your wine and pairing game. Experiment. Try new things. Find out what works the best for you because wine and chocolate are just getting better and better.