Wine and chocolate pairing essentials
29
Nov 2021

The Romans referred to wine as the ‘drink of gods’, while the Maya and Aztecs called cacao ‘the food of gods’, so it’s no surprise these two indulgences are a perfect match. 

Matching wine with chocolate is all about balance and using the ‘Big Five’ framework ensures the perfect pairing. The framework assesses the characteristics of chocolate based on:

  1. Look
  2. Smell
  3. Texture
  4. Sound
  5. Taste

The goal is to balance the characteristics of both the wine and chocolate, allowing the subtle flavours of both to emerge beautifully.


Wines to pair with dark chocolate

Dark chocolate contains a minimum of 55% cocoa and has the highest cocoa mass of all chocolate varieties. Typically characterised by fruity, earthy, nutty, ashy, woody or roasted notes, dark chocolate makes a perfect match for bold, denser, fruit driven red wines, such as:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Shiraz
  • Grenache
  • Malbec
  • Merlot
  • Zinfande


If there was one wine and chocolate pairing that is always a winner, it’s Cabernet Sauvignon and dark chocolate. The full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon is the perfect match for the intense flavours of a dark chocolate and its high cocoa content.

We recommend trying our Charles Woodland Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, GS Limited Release Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 or Tynan’s View Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 & 2015.

The fruit intensity and medium to full bodied nature of Shiraz make for a rich mouth-filling combination with chocolate featuring over 50% cocoa content. From the Tynan’s View collection, you can’t look past our customer favourite, The Old Man 2016 Barossa Shiraz

Grenache matches wonderfully with heavier chocolates thanks to its sweet fruit weight and being low in tannins which balance out the bitterness of dark chocolate.


Wines to pair with milk chocolate 

Milk chocolate is a combination of cocoa beans, cocoa butter, milk solids or milk powder and sugar and the percentage of cocoa mass can vary from 10% to 20% up to 55%. 

When pairing wine with milk chocolate, choose a light to medium bodied wine with fruity character to avoid being overwhelmed by the sugar in the chocolate. Our top picks include:  

  • Muscat 
  • Tokay
  • Sparkling Reds 


Wines to pair with white chocolate 

White chocolate differs significantly from dark and milk chocolate as it doesn’t contain the cocoa solids that give them their flavour and colour.

The light flavour of pure white chocolate allows it to perfectly pair with lighter style white wines, such as: 

  • Riesling
  • Moscato
  • Sparkling Whites
  • Sherry


As each and every one of us has a unique palate the only proven way to find your favourite chocolate and wine match is to experiment. 


A few tips before tasting

Before you get started, consider the following tips that will enhance your wine and chocolate pairing experience. 

Wine 

  • Open your wine and allow it to breath for two hours prior to tasting, the contact with oxygen will help it unfold it’s full potential,
  • Ensure your chocolate is at room temperature (never use the household fridge to store your chocolate as it’s too cold and humid and can cause the chocolate to bloom).


Chocolate

  • Ensure your chocolate is at room temperature (never use the household fridge to store your chocolate as it’s too cold and humid and can cause the chocolate to bloom),
  • Break chocolate into small bite sized pieces.