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Wine & Chocolate: The Best Pairings & Tips

chocolate box istock valentines wine pairing

With Valentine’s Day fast-approaching the Coravin team has just one thing on our minds: Chocolate. Well, actually, that’s a small fallacy because we have wine on our minds too. Can you relate? Whether you’re the type of person who buys chocolate ahead of Feburary 14th or the kind of person who runs to the shop the days following Valentine's Day for those steep discounts, we’re here for it with a chocolate and wine pairing guide.

If you ask us, there’s nothing like a near-perfect chocolate and wine pairing. As a general rule of thumb, Pinot Noir pairs best with milk chocolate and Sherry with dark chocolate. If you’re looking to get more creative and drink your way through that classic box of variety chocolates, keep our chocolate and wine guide handy.

Coravin’s Chocolate and Wine Pairing Guide

Grab your Coravin wine preservation system and open that heart-shaped box of chocolate... it’s pairing time! Here are some classic chocolates paired with some amazing varietals. Keep scrolling for our pairing guide to save, print, and share with whoever you’re gifting chocolate to this year. All of these recommendations come from Julien Moreno, Head Sommelier at Benoit New York.

We kick things off with some milk chocolate pairings.

1. Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter and Vintage Port

Chocolate and peanut butter are already a match made in heaven, but adding an older Port into the mix sweetens the deal even more. Moreno shares, "Because of the nutty character of a milk chocolate with peanut butter, I would suggest an old vintage Port.” Cabernets that have particularly fruity notes like blackberry or cherry to complement the nutty, cocoa flavor. Cabernet Sauvignon also pairs well with any milk chocolate and hazelnut or macadamia nut confections.

2. Milk Chocolate Raspberry and Maury

The very sweet nature of a Maury elevates this raspberry-filled chocolate. Moreno tells me, "Because of the fruity character of milk chocolate with raspberry, I would suggest a young Maury. Looking for something extra special, search for a sweet Tannat from the south of France."

3. Milk Chocolate Caramel and Bual Madeira

“If you have a more ‘savory’ type of chocolate, for example, one with caramel or salt, my choice is a Bual Madeira because of its dry, almost sherry-like profile," says Moreno. A Ruby or Tawny Port also pairs well with milk chocolate and toffee or caramel treats. If you’re curious, the only difference between toffee and caramel is that caramel traditionally includes cream or milk, while toffee is simply butter and sugar.

4. Milk Chocolate Almond and Vin Santo

Vin Santo or "holy" wine isn't easy to find, but it's worth adding it to your wine cellar if you come across a bottle. The fig, raisin, and almond flavors of Vin Santo works well with the smooth taste of milk chocolate and almond. A milk chocolate treat with nutty praline also pairs well with this special wine. If you’re in need of a backup plan, Cabernet Sauvignon won’t disappoint here.

We now move on to some delectable dark chocolate pairings.

5. Dark Chocolate Sea Salt and Marsala

A playful red Marsala with its stewed apricot, vanilla, and brown sugar flavors pairs well with rich dark chocolate topped with sea salt. We suggest looking for Florio Dry Marsala, it's an affordable, tasty pick.

6. Dark Chocolate Walnut and Sherry

The nutty, dried fruit characters of Sherry lend themselves perfectly to the combo of dark chocolate and walnuts (or any other nut for that matter). Try Alvear Pedro Ximenez Solera Sherry.

7. Dark Chocolate with Ganache and Banyuls

Banyuls, a sweet, fortified Grenache-based red made in Southern France, is a good match for dark chocolate. This dessert wine works well with creamier chocolate desserts like a dark chocolate lava cake, too. A backup wine for dark chocolate is a Zinfandel. Try Chapoutier Banyuls.

Finally, white chocolate, which technically isn’t chocolate because it doesn’t contain cocoa. But, since it’s in your box o’ chocolates, here’s our recommendation.

8. White Chocolate and Riesling

White chocolate is the most versatile chocolate to pair with wine, meaning the exotic sweetness of Riesling works well with its typical nutty caramel and vanilla flavor. Another wine to pair with white chocolate is Sauvignon Blanc, especially if there are more citrus notes. Moreno tells us, "I’d pick a Riesling by JJ Prum from the Mosel region because this wine’s acidity can cut through the richness of the chocolate."

Have you tried any of these pairings before, or are planning to for Valentine’s Day? Tag us @Coravin.