The chocofight 2010! Pairing wine and chocolate – pleasure or pain?

Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching. It has reignited the annual hot debate in anticipation of the hot date: should you pair wine and chocolate?

Consider this exchange. Paul Grieco, owner of Hearth restaurant and Terroir wine bar in NYC, tweeted that he was going on the TODAY show to talk wine and chocolate. (See segment here: both regular and sparkling shiraz feature.) Eric Asimov tweets back “chocolate and wine? what are you thinking, man? Who cares about what to drink with chocolate? Food mag nonsense.”

Oooh, snap! Wine and chocolate are two fine things. But this is one of those “impossible” pairings that has yet to convince me. My rule of thumb: Have wine before dinner. Have wine with dinner. But let chocolate dessert stand alone! Then resume drinking, if necessary. (Or try a Banyuls with the chocolate dessert if it’s a question of life or date.)

Have your say about the great chocofight 2010 in the comments–or with the latest poll!

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19 Responses to “The chocofight 2010! Pairing wine and chocolate – pleasure or pain?”

  1. Eric Asimov is right. I try to rant about this every year; this year’s link is below. But who listens to us when every lifestyle mag in the country assigns some insipid hack to write a foolish story about things she likes that don’t go together? I love baseball and sex, but nobody ever claims those have to go together. (Hmmm, I see a new trend …)

  2. I second the motion. Dry wines + chocolate = heartbreakingly disappointing. However, fortified wines–Port, Madeira, sweeter sherries, Banyuls, etc.–do work.

  3. I may just have an undeveloped palate but I really enjoy a big, jammy, blockbuster of a Zin (Think Tobin James stuff) with some dark chocolate. I don’t think I’d ever do a dry red/white with chocolate though, doesn’t seem like it would go together.

  4. Brachetto d’Acqui! It is made for chocolate – almost any kind of chocolate dessert works with Brachetto.

  5. […] Sure, you can have wine with chocolate, but do they taste good together? That’s the subject of a rather un-V-day skirmish. […]

  6. I recently had young “straight from the barrel” 2009 Châteauneuf-du-Pape and it paired with milk chocolate almost miraculously well 🙂 On the other hand the wine was more in the “interesting to try” category than something I want to drink more often 🙂

  7. Valentine’s Day and dry wines are like oil and water. The day is all about sweets, so might as well induldge. That Jam Jar looked interesting, and I’m sure my wife will love the bottle.

  8. Wine with chocolate is not something we usually try but have had good and bad experiences. Good was a cabernet paired with dark chocolate covered with raspberry sauce. So was it the chocolate or the sauce that paired well? Usually we have chocolate alone so we don’t spoil it or the wine.

  9. I agree with Katherine Cole above. Chocolates does pair well with fortified wines, like Port with chocolate. Dark chocolate that’s too dark and bitter makes dry red wine taste sour and bitter. That’s why if you do pair wine with chocolate or any other sweet dessert for that matter, the wine better be sweeter than the chocolate/dessert or equally as sweet as the chocolate/dessert.

  10. I love it when Dr. Vino says, “Oooh, snap!”

  11. Nice call by Dave McIntyre… check out my video on the various degrees of atmospheric pressure in sparkling wine, starring Brachetto d’Acqui!

    & column, too…

    Cheers, all.

  12. You know, years ago, when I was starting my wine journey and didn’t know the “experts” opinions on pairing wine and chocolate, I enjoyed wine and chocolate together a few times. Then I learned more, and realized I wasn’t “supposed” to like that pairing, I mean, c’mon — chocolate and dry red wine — blech!

    So is the equation, dry red wine + chocolate = terrible, always true? Doesn’t it depend on the chocolate? What if it’s a dark chocolate with low levels of sugar? All I know is, I’ve enjoyed a big ol’ jammy Zin before with a good quality, low-sugar, dark chocolate, and lived to tell about it. Call me crazy.

  13. How dare the wine snobs condemn any type of tasting! People desire to experiment with wines and foods with results being different for each individual. Perceptions are what count so wine snobs stop condemning what people like. Let each individual make his own determination. We need more wine teachers and not wine tasters and not wine snobs.

    If you want a hard pairing, what would you pair with a liverworst sandwich on rye with Dijon?

  14. the poll says it all while “experts” cring

  15. I’m with yeah Dr. V! Myth Busters: Rubik’s Cube Cat Does Chocolate:

  16. My favorite advice by a local wine writer and educator was Chardonnay and chocolate. Not sure the combo makes the cut.

  17. I say, let them eat chocolate cake! I don’t personally care for wine + chocolate but I would never condemn in either…

  18. In my experience, chocolate is better paired with fortified wines like port (as noted above.)

  19. I agree that dry red wines and chocolate are not a great pairing. However, in my opinion chocolate desserts and Port are a fantastic pairing!


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