Wine is one of life’s great pleasures. Between the sight, the smell and the taste, a good glass of wine is a feast for the senses. Another such pleasure can be derived from chocolate. Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate and everything in between: No doubt, chocolate can offer a little bite of heaven no matter what your taste preferences. It stands to reason, then, that if wine and chocolate both give pleasure, a combination of the two could be worth trying.
The worlds of wine and chocolate can come together in numerous ways. For a start, lots of wines may have aromas or flavours that remind us of chocolate. Wines with chocolate flavours can come from numerous regions around the world, but a key reference point here is Bordeaux, and particularly the right bank regions of Pomerol and Saint Emilion: these oak-aged, Merlot-dominant red wines typically show chocolate aromas. Château La Conseillante 2007 is a case in point from a top producer.
That’s not the only way to get your chocolate kicks and drink wine at the same time. Next, you’ve got chocolate and wine pairing. Chocolate and wine are similar in that there really is any number of different flavours, styles and textures available. This opens the door many fantastic chocolate wine food pairings: Sweet milk chocolate and sweet dessert wine like Emilio Hidalgo Pedro Ximénez from the Jerez region is a match made in heaven. Take a stronger dark chocolate and offset it with something lighter and less bitter such as Marcel Lapierre Morgon 2015. There are many options here, so don’t be afraid to experiment!
So, you’ve got chocolate flavours in wine and pairing wine with chocolate. Still not satisfied? There is another option to satisfy those cravings to combine both chocolate and wine: Chocolate wine is a thing. Seriously. It may shock and disgust wine purists, certainly those who champion natural wine, but there are people out there today making chocolate wine. Whether you like it, hate it or intrigued by it: Chocolate wine exists.
What is chocolate wine?
Though it’s not strictly wine in the legal or regulatory sense, there are producers out there today making alcoholic beverages labelled as chocolate wine. Without getting too much into the wine science (or the Willy Wonka chocolate science, for that matter), here’s what chocolate wine is:
It starts its life as any other wine, with grapes in the vineyard. Harvest takes place when the grapes are good and ripe, and alcoholic fermentation turns the grape sugars into alcohol. Now you’ve got a wine, in the true sense. Things don’t stop there, though. The wine now becomes the base liquid, and is infused with chocolate to produce what we know as chocolate wine. Chocolate wine production is certainly a niche market, but you will find some small producers in Europe and the USA.
How to drink chocolate wine?
It’s a matter of taste, really. Chocovine, a Dutch producer, encourages its customers to drink its chocolate wine as part of a cocktail. You may like to serve it as a digestif after a meal, or perhaps you’d like to pair it with a dessert – chocolate comes to mind!
Is chocolate wine any good?
Again, a matter of taste. If you’re in doubt, perhaps you should stick with actual wine from Bordeaux or Rioja, where the chocolate flavours and aromas occur naturally and form just part of the overall bigger picture. Or else grab your favourite wine and go buy a handful of different chocolate styles and experiment with different pairings until you find the perfect match for your palate!