Though people talk about pairing wine with chocolate like it is a no-brainer or something everyone should be doing with ease, you should know that nothing could be further from the truth, and this post is going to speak candidly about why most of the pairings you read about in magazines or see on socials are ABSOLUTELY wrong.
Have you ever read articles or seen posts where someone is talking about how well their Twix bar pairs with their Merlot? That's full of hogwash. A standard Twix bar contains 24 g of sugar, while your average glass of Merlot contains less than 1g of sugar. The truth is that when pairing sweet things like chocolate, you have to pair it with something as sweet, if not sweeter otherwise, the sugar in your sweet item, in this case your Twix bar, will aggressively overshadow your paired item, in this case the Merlot.
As humans, there are five unique tastes that our palates observe:
Fat (now being considered)
Of all of these, studies have shown that the taste of 'sweet' is the most limiting to pair with. You have to find pairing items that are as sweet and preferably sweeter than the dessert item you are trying to pair with in order for the pairing to work on the palate. If you pair desserts and chocolates with a wine that is less sweet, the flavours of your wine will be masked and appear as though you are drinking days-old wine that has gone flat and lost its structure; no one wants that in a pairing.
Things To Keep In Mind When Pairing Wine With Chocolate
When trying to pair wines with chocolate, look for infused chocolates. Primarily dark chocolates infused with violets, peppercorns, and sea salt. Dark chocolate is obviously less sweet than milk chocolate and possesses a level of bitterness that works with the tannin and phenolic bitterness that you find in red and white wines, respectively. Moreover, the infused elements give you another dominating factor to pair. With less sugar in your chocolate, your infused elements have a chance to shine in the pairing.
Pairing wines with milk chocolate or white chocolate? Look at sweet wines such as Sauternes, Off-dry Riesling, Madeira, and or Port. But never listen to those who tell you milk chocolate items pair with dry white or red wine. That simply is not true!
And that is the truth about pairing wine with chocolate.