How to Pair Wine with Chocolate (and Other Desserts)

Wine or chocolate: Why choose? Thanks to the vast number of delicious dessert wines available, there’s no need to. Contrary to popular belief, your go-to bottle of red is probably not the pairing for your favourite sweet treat, but with so many other options out there, you’re sure to find the perfect bottle to accompany your dessert. These are the top tips to keep in mind. 

What Is the Most Important Rule for Pairing Wine with Chocolate?

The golden rule for pairing wine with chocolate, and any dessert for that matter, is that the wine should always be sweeter than the treat. If the wine is less sweet, it generally makes the wine taste less-than-great, sour and overly bitter. Keep this one rule in mind and you’ll be on your way to a delicious pairing in no time. 

Can I Pair Dry Wines with Chocolate?

For the most part, dry wines don’t go well with chocolate. As per the golden rule above, when it comes to pairing wine and chocolate (or other sweet treats), the former should always be sweeter than the latter. There are a few exceptions that can sometimes work (for instance, Beaujolais or zinfandel), though we recommend erring on the side of caution and going for a bottle of sweet wine instead. 

Do Certain Wines Go Better with Milk Chocolate Versus Dark Chocolate?

Kind of! Certain wines will go better with different styles of chocolate (see our at-a-glance guide below), although milk and dark chocolate pairings are more flexible or interchangeable than white chocolate pairings. This is due to the sweetness of the chocolate. 

Are Fortified Wines Good with Chocolate?

Absolutely! Fortified wines make some of the best chocolate pairings out there. While many white-grape-based fortified wines (think sweeter sherry styles) are great with both white and darker chocolates alike, we recommend saving red fortified wines (such as port) to drink with milk or dark chocolate.

Which Wines Pair Best with Chocolates That Contain Nuts or Other Fillings?

It depends on the chocolate. We recommend taking the base chocolate (white, milk, or dark) into consideration first, then thinking about the fillings. Don’t forget that coming up with your own creative wine and chocolate pairings can be a blast. Have a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup on hand? Try pairing it with a sweet sparkling red wine for a PB&J-like experience. Prefer caramel-filled chocolates? Think of wines (tawny port, for example) that exude similar caramel notes for an out-of-this-world pairing. The possibilities are endless! 

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