Sipping a little wine while enjoying sweet chocolate with your valentine is a great way to celebrate the holiday-or any day for that matter. Whether the chocolates are classics from a heart-shaped box or locally made artisan creations, you can find a wine to complement your treats-just skip the same bottle you may get for a steak dinner as that could leave you with a less-than-pleasing partnership.
Sweets can emphasize a wine’s acidity, and if they are paired with a wine that is drier than the dessert, the combination can result in a bitter taste. Keeping it sweet is your best bet.
Wines that are classified as dessert wines are natural matches. Port is a perfect choice-with flavor descriptors such as caramel, honey and dried fruit, port can’t help but make a match, especially with dark chocolate candies or chocolate desserts. Ruby port is one of the few wines that complements milk chocolate.
PX (Pedro Ximénez) sherry from Spain also makes a fine friend. The best examples display intense, ultra-sweet aromas along with balancing flavors of chocolate, coffee and spices.
If you prefer a white wine, the hints of orange flavor in Muscat can accent those in a chocolate orange treat. Raise a glass to your valentine with sweeter styles of bubbly and chocolate-covered strawberries.
Outside the dessert wine category, blends can help in pairing. Merlot softens Cabernet Sauvignon, for example, and adds fruity elements that help make a match. Merlot’s lush, plummy aromas, silky dried cherry, and raspberry flavors complement the Cabernet’s structure, blackberry and cherry jam flavors and hints of vanilla oak. These elements help the wine complement chocolate with fruit and nuts in the recipe below.