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Wine and Chocolate:

A Match made in Heaven?

Wine and Chocolate. For many, these two delicacies are the embodiment of decadence and self-indulgence. However, these two, seemingly harmonious, culinary sensations often clash, leading to disappointment.

To avoid this happening to you, we’ve selected six wines we know intimately and paired them with a chocolate matching guide. The guide provides handy tips to help you decide which chocolate styles are right for you.

Let’s look at the science to understand how wine and chocolate work together. Wine and Chocolate both contain compounds called flavanols (falvan-3-o). Flavanols are more commonly known as antioxidants. They’re also responsible for tannin, known to wine lovers as the level of astringency a wine contains. This is the science bit - when foods that contain high flavanols are eaten together, they clash and tend to make the other taste bitter or astringent.

Like most things in life, it’s a case of balance. Drinking a high tannin Cabernet Sauvignon with a piece of dark chocolate is not balanced. The high level of flavanols will result in extreme bitterness and an unwelcome sensory overload.

The key to balancing wine and chocolate is relatively simple. The more bitter the chocolate, the fruitier or higher residual sugar the wine should have. Conversely, you can match sweeter, less tannic, wines like port and fortified wines with higher percentage cocoa chocolate. Port and 70% dark chocolate truffles are heavenly.

Match fact: The higher the fat content in chocolate (cream, milk & Vegetable fats i.e. Copher) will help bring forward the fruit characteristics in the matched wine.

Read below to see our own tailored six pack and the ideal chocolate matches.

Delatite Estate Pinot Noir & White chocolate

An obscure match for our first suggestion but, this pairing is fantastic. White Chocolate often falls outside of the chocolate category as it rarely contains cocoa. However, some high-quality producers will craft their white chocolate with cocoa butter. Because this match is so good, we’ve made the decision to call it a chocolate. Let’s not let technicalities get in the way of a great taste match.

The fat in white chocolate will amplify the sweet fruit flavours prominent in Pinot Noir, usually red cherry, strawberry, and raspberry. Make this match even more luxurious with white chocolate covered strawberries, fresh or freeze-dried.

Flametree Shiraz & Milk Chocolate

Generally speaking, milk chocolates tend to work best with wine. This is thanks to the amount of cream and other fats present. The fats act like microscopic delivery vessels, carrying the fruitier flavours of the wine to your tongue.

The Flametree 2015 Margaret River Shiraz is a bold and supple red. It’s fruit driven but balanced by soft, velvety tannins. This wine is powerful and it is a great match with a ganache chocolate truffle or soft centred milk chocolate ball.

Stella Bella Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot & Milk Chocolate/ Dark Chocolate

Normally, the suggestion of Cabernet Sauvignon with dark chocolate is an instant mistake. But here’s the exception that makes the rule; a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Merlot is a bold, fruit driven varietal that, when blended with Cabernet, can make for the perfect match with milk chocolate and 50% - 60% dark chocolate.

Match this wine with milk or dark chocolate blocks blended with dried fruits and nuts.

Amelia Park Frankland River Shiraz & Milk Chocolate

A rich Shiraz from West Australia’s Frankland River, this Shiraz is ideal to match with milk chocolate. With a natural aroma of cherry and chocolate, the wine’s palate follows through with deep black and blue berry fruits and a silky tannin.

Perfect for a pure milk chocolate block or even melted chocolate fondue and strawberries.

Evoi Wines Cabernet Sauvignon & Milk Chocolate Mints

A wine variety that often displays high tannins which makes it difficult to pair with chocolate – straight Cabernet Sauvignon rarely makes chocolate pairing lists.

However, the Evoi Wines 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon has naturally attained an aroma of chocolate and a deep, berry-driven palate of blueberries and plum. This wine also displays a natural spiciness that would clash with most forms of chocolate. But, paired with chocolate covered mints, this wine enhances the flavour profile and makes for a delightful post-dinner nightcap.

Hungerford Hill Pinot Meunier & White Chocolate

While lesser well-known, Pinot Meunier is similar in flavour and body to the ever popular Pinot Noir. A light bodied wine, this red has a subtle flavour profile of Morello Cherry and a delicate spiciness.

Pinot Meunier is an ideal match for white chocolate. The chocolate’s fat helps bring out the subtle fruit flavours of the wine without being overpowering. White chocolate-covered raspberries would be an ideal match for this beautiful wine.

Whatever your taste there’s a wine for every kind of chocolate. The only way to truly discover for yourself is to start tasting for yourself. Have a happy and safe Easter.