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Wine and chocolate are arguably two of the world’s greatest creations; they are sumptuous, decadent and utterly delicious with numerous flavours and textures to suit all tastes. Pair these two glorious creations together and you have a truly indulgent gastronomical experience. Whether you're curled up on the sofa or treating your dinner guests, a memorable evening is guaranteed with this divine duo.
Firstly, we'll discover the delicious chocolate aromas found in wine, how they are created and, most importantly, the best wines to find them in. Then we'll explore which wines match best with chocolate and all things dessert.
If you have a sweet tooth and love a bit of luxury in your life, we invite you to join us on our voyage of cocoa and vinous exploration.
A wine famous for its cocoa-like notes is The Chocolate Block from South Africa.
It has a loyal following and for the very best of reasons – it simply tastes superb! Made by the innovative winemaker Mark Kent at Boekenhoutskloof in South Africa, the wine famously ferments in egg-shaped concrete vats.
The end result is a complex blend of rich, spicy Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Cabernet Sauvignon with a splash of Viognier to really bring out the sweet cocoa tones.
Wines with cocoa aromas are intense and rich with a dense, opulent, almost creamy mouth feel, vanilla notes and a bitter-sweet moreish finish. They are highly seductive - the vinous equivalent of an indulgent square of high quality chocolate.
The reason why some wines can be reminiscent of chocolate is something of an alchemical mystery. It’s thought to be a combination of factors in vineyards, and compounds in the wine that react with the oak barrels that the wine matures in. These elements seem to come together most frequently in some South African reds and in those really special Italian reds such as Amarone. If you’re considering splashing out for a special family meal, give them a try.
Switching focus for a moment, let’s explore wines that match well with chocolaty, rich desserts. The general rule when matching wine to sweet things is that the wine should be the sweetest element.
If you’re a fan of dark, bitter, high cocoa chocolate, try the Seriously Plummy Maury . It’s decadently sweet, with an opulent liqueur cherry note and a lovely blueberry note that's wonderful with dark, rich desserts such as tiramisu or dark chocolate fondants.
Alternatively fortified wines can make a delicious match to your dessert of choice. They are great with chocolate as well as cheese and fruit based desserts. Sweet sherries and all styles of port are worth a try a great example is the Quinta do Noval Tawny Port or the Waitrose Tawny Port.
Madeira can be a real revelation as a match with chocolate as well, it lasts forever; even after you’ve opened it, so you can make it last over a few different occasions.