Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Sweeten Up Your Valentine with Wine & Chocolate

That's right. Once again it's time for that totally useless holiday, Valentine's Day. In my opinion, this holiday was created by women simply as a way to get yet another gift. That being said, it is a day for romance, love, passion, blah blah blah. Two items immediately come to my mind when you mention romance and Valentine's Day - wine and chocolate. In fact, if you pair them correctly, you may very well have some sexy time after dinner...can you hear the Barry White music yet? But, before you start spraying yourself down in perfume and cologne, and slipping on your sexy pants, there are some things to consider.

Let me start by saying that all wine and chocolate combos were not created equal. In fact, pairing the wrong wine and chocolate can lead to some very unsavory results. However, if you have the right wine to complement the right chocolate it can be a match made in heaven! As Robert Dinero would say, "fugget aboudit!" Whether you are pairing a delicate white chocolate or a lively dark chocolate with wine, try to keep the following in mind.

Rule #1, the wine should be at least as sweet, if not a touch sweeter, than the chocolate you are serving it with. Otherwise, the taste may quickly veer towards sour. This is a general rule that I have read over and over again in various wine magazines.

When pairing wines with chocolate, you should generally try to match lighter flavored chocolates with lighter-bodied wines; likewise, the stronger the chocolate, the more full-bodied the wine should be. For example, an intense dark chocolate tends to pair well with an intense, in-your-face Zinfandel.

White Chocolate Wine Suggestions
White chocolate tends to be more mellow and buttery in flavor, making it an ideal candidate for a Spanish Sherry, a Moscato d'Asti from Italy’s Piedmont region, or an Orange Muscat. The Sherry and Moscato d’Asti will pick up the creaminess of the chocolates and the Orange Muscat will pick up any fruit tones present. Another drink that I would recommend with white chocolate is some good ol' relaiable champagne. Also, Chardonnay and Sauv Blanc.

Milk Chocolate Wine Suggestions
Pinot Noir or a lighter-bodied Merlot will complement a bar of milk chocolate, a creamy chocolate mousse or chocolate accented cheesecake. Rieslings, Muscats or dessert wines tend to hold up well to mild milk chocolates. In additiona to Pinot and Merlot, try some Shiraz and Malbec. In my opinion, Port wine and milk chocolate is perhaps the best food & wine pairing you could ever wish for. Don't believe me? Just give it a shot...you will once again hear Barry White music. Also

Dark Chocolate Wine Suggestions
Dark or bittersweet chocolates need a wine that offers a bold, powerful flavor itself. Cabs and Zinfandels would be the best bet for dark chocolate match. A Cabernet Sauvignon or a Zinfandel will more than fill your chocolate pairing expectations. Also feel free to try some of these full-bodied beauties: Rioja, Chianti, Sangiovese, Vinho Tinto. I once had a Rioja with some dark chocolate, and I truly enjoyed it.

If you have had a wine & chocolate pairing that you absolutely loved, please share your ideas with us. This blog is not about us downloading onto you...it's about us all sharing our experiences.

That's all for now...so get busy being romantic. And, if you don't have anyone to be romantic with, go ahead and try some of these pairings anyway. At least you'll be ahead of the game when you do have a Valentine. I'm gonna try some with the Mrs. this weekend and I'll let you know how I make out (wink, wink).

By the way, if any of you are interested, the Garden State WIne Grower's Association is holding it's annual Valentine's Day wine and chocolate trail this weekend (2/10 & 2/11). Here's a link to more info. http://www.newjerseywines.com/chocolate.html

That's all for now. Remember to swirl, sniff and swig. Cheers.


Grape Nut said...

I don't think you can beat port and chocolate. Maybe port and chocolate covered strawberries or dried fruits.

Farley said...

Long time fan of dark chocolate and big reds, I'm still laughing about the advice to wait for your sexy pants.

The Vine Guy said...

Thank you, Farley. I'm here all week.