Wine & Chocolate

February 14, 2007

In addition to last Saturday’s Old/New World tasting, I ran a Wine & Chocolate tasting on Monday, which is always lots of fun. If you look at them closely, there can be a lot of similarities between wine and chocolate. They can complement each other if you’re careful, but the sweetness and strong flavours can bring a whole new set of challenges to the table.

Now I’ve done this one a few times before, but I always try and tweak it a little bit. This time, we took four chocolates (Toblerone, a generic milk chocolate and two different types of Lindt dark chocolate). They were paired with six wines.

In past years, I’ve done exclusively sweet wines with this tasting. The first time I did this, we covered eight different types of chocolate (!) with eight different dessert wines, Sherries and ports. My teeth hurt for days and I didn’t sleep for the next 36 hours. But it was fun.

Since then, I’ve varied the mix by adding some dry table wines. We’ve done sparkling Shiraz (very good with Toblerone), Chardonnay (not so good with white chocolate – but nothing really is) and various Australian, American and French reds. Young, tannic Cabernets seem to go really well with dark chocolate, as the tannins are tamed by the overwhelming cocoa power of the chocolate. And Toblerone is the single most wine-friendly chocolate out there, which makes me happy as it’s also one of my favourites.

So this time we went with three dry reds, an interesting Italian bubbly and two ports. The reds were as follows (with comments from myself and some of the other tasters):

1) Painter Bridge Zinfandel (Meh. OK at best. It did show well with the milk chocolate. Tastes nasty with dark chocolate).

2) Kanawinka Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon (Wow! Good with everything. OMFG that was good. I think someone drank my wine – is there any more? I need more Toblerone!)

3) Clement de Bertiac – Bordeaux. (OK, that was good. I need a second glass to really get the full effect. Great with dark chocolate. Not so good with milk chocolate).

Needless to say, the Kanawinka Ridge ruled the roost. Moving on to the bubblies and stickies, this is what we came up with:

4) Canella Rossini – a mixture of Prosecco and strawberry puree (This is the perfect Valentine’s combination. I’m going to serve this at my next brunch! Add club soda and Chambord and you’re set for the day. Goes well with all the chocolates)

5) Penfolds ‘Club’ Tawny Port – (Tastes like caramel, I need more chocolate for this one. No, it tastes like fruitcake. Almost too sweet, but the nuttiness balances it out. Mmmm….good. This wine warms you up even more than the chocolate does. Not so good with the darker chocolates but great with Toblerone)

6) Taylor Fladgate ‘First Estate’ Port. (Second-best wine of the night. I’m ready to face the weather now. Made for dark chocolate. Do you have any pears or blue cheese).

In the end, the Kanawinka Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon ($13.49 @ Kenaston Wine Market) won the night. It was just about perfect with all the chocolates, even the sweet milk chocolate. The Penfolds came in a surprising second, and everyone agreed that the Canelli was way better (and drier) than they had expected. The only real bomb was the Painter Bridge, which paired OK with the milk chocolate, but didn’t work with anything else.

For more musings on wine & chocolate, check out this entry on Dessert Blog.

Now I’m out of town again until late next week, so this sudden run of posts (three this week) will come to an end.


  1. Nice run! I have heard Merlot and chocolate are a nice match, and someone pulled out Belgian dark chocolate truffles at our last Merlot tasting – not bad. I thought new world Merlot worked better that evening. Anyway, thanks for this commentary – I will put it to use!

  2. Excellent post. Good dark chocolate makes me crave port like crazy. My biggest wine regret ever is NOT bringing back a bottle of the Penfolds Grandfather Port when I was in Australia. Had it every night while I was there at the hotel bar and second guess spending $75 at duty free. Still kicking myself.

  3. Port & dark chocolate is reason enough to get up every morning. And the Grandfather is excellent. I’ve only tried it once, but it was second only to a Graham’s 40-year old Tawny I once had.

    Glad you both liked this post. I had a lot of fun with it, and I always love the wine & chocolate thing (even if my teeth STILL hurt). And I’ve now discovered what my maximum Toblerone intake is…

  4. Good to see you are still blogging. Gave it up for some other recreational pursuits and have been bogged down at work.

    We recently had the Catena Zapata Alamos Malbec with Chocolate pate at a local restaurant. Absolutely delicious combination.

  5. Nice to hear from you again – any chance we’ll see your blog return?

    Malbec and chocolate pate? I think I know which restaurant you were at. How was it?

  6. Probably no blogging for a while. I am travelling and working and thinking about going back to school on top of it. Will most likely keep reading and posting comments when I have some spare time.

  7. Your comments are always welcome here, so feel free to drop by whenever you’ve got a chance.

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