Days are passing by and Valentine's Day is approaching. Numerous chocolates , heart shaped, with strawberry filling, milk or bitter will be caned by lovers.... and non-lovers! Does Chocolate pair well with wine? And if so, what wine should we choose to go with?
To answer this question, let me first start, with some basic principles of combining wine with food.
Initially, never combine food with bitter taste with intense tannic wines, because the combination will intensify even more the bitter taste.
Secondly, rich, sweet dishes better be combined with full bodied wines with the same or greater levels of sweetness. Otherwise, the wine seems more acidic than it is ,less fruity and considerably more tannic and bitter, if it’s red.
Let's see how we can apply those principles to our favorite chocolate.
With a bitter chocolate, we could drink a sweet wine such as Port, which has notes of coffee, chocolate and ideal levels of sweetness.
A sweet wine from Agiorgitiko (like Vin De Zennes from Domaine Gofas) or a naturally sweet wine like Liatiko of Idaia Winery or Euphoria of Dourakis Winery would be a perfect combination with milk chocolate or even bitter chocolate truffles.
For the more adventurous, an Agiorgitiko with spicy character, velvety tannins and chocolate aftertaste, could accompany desserts with chocolate and red fruits, even in the dry version.
Another interesting combo would be, chocolate with a "juicy» Syrah from the New World, e.g. Australia or the excellent Greek, Le Roi des Montagnes Syrah from Domaine Papargyriou, made from overripe grapes. The density and ripeness of the fruit can pair well with chocolate, preferably bitter but with low cocoa content, or even better with pink peppercorns!
The most classic combination is chocolate with Mavrodafne. The aged Mavrodaphne Reserve 2000 of Cavino, with aromas of chocolate and a coffee aftertaste, would be a wonderful combination with a mocha praline.
Apart from bitter and milk chocolate, there is white chocolate, and its combinations with sweet Greek wines are way too many. Try it with Vinsanto, sweet Muscat of Lemnos or a white Muscat of Spinas. Now if you insist to try something from the foreign vineyard, you could accompany your white chocolate with an aged Chenin Blanc Moelleux from the Loire, especially if it’s enriched with lime or lemon zest to balance the acidity of the wine. Finally a caramelized white chocolate e.g. Valrhona (it’s called Dulcey, if you find it, try it anyway) would be a unique accompaniment to a white Port.
In love or not, enjoy your chocolate!