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Wednesday 2 November 2011

Weekly Wine: Wine is From Venus, Chocolate is from Mars

Oh, sweet chocolate. Oh, delicious wine. I love you both in equal measure, so why can't you just get along? For too long I've believed all the horror stores I've read about pairing wine with chocolate, and had to sacrifice one for the other on those chilly winter evenings in. Okay, okay, so maybe this is like the most watered down Sophie's Choice ever, but I'm writing to tell you that after months of gruelling experiments (ahem) I've found some devillishly good matches to share with you all.

The problem with chocolate is it coats your tongue more than most foods, so drinking wine (even the sweet stuff) after eating it can leave you with a bitter taste. You need to find something equally rich as well as sweet, and the answer tends to be to go with something a little fortified - this does mean you get a little more sauce in your glass, though, so it's not necessarily bad news.

Dear Madeira

It may be the stuff that you imagine only your gran drinks, but Madeira is seriously good with the chocolatey stuff. My number one example is the Henriques and Henriques 10yo Malmsey - I had it at Christmas last year with the post-dinner truffles and, even though I had already stuffed my face with enough to feed a small village, I still couldn't stop eating and drinking this super rich and warming combination. You can pick up a bottle from a number of places, but one of the cheapest I've found is KWM for £16.99 per 50cl bottle. Alternatively Tesco do a younger version for £10.99 which isn't quite as rich, but will probably do the job.


I've mentioned this before a few weeks back but you can't beat the Bleasdale Sparkling Shiraz with a slab of chocolate cake - it's rich and robust enough to be the perfect match. You can grab a bottle for £15.99 from Fine Wines Direct.

Fortified French

I mentioned Tannat a few weeks back too - it's the grape variety that grabbed a load of press last year for being the best for your heart - but it also makes a mean chocolate wine in some forms. The Maydie Tannat Vintage £13.95 from The Wine Society and is truly moreish: dark, sweet without being flimsy, and oh so rich. Heaven with chocolate tart.

Another fortified beauty from the South of France is the Maury Solera 1928. It's Malmsey-like, and drawn from a cask that was first filled in 1928 so they've had enough time to get it right. You can pick up a 50cl bottle from The Imperial Wine Company for £16.05.

What's your favourite tipple with chocolate? Tell us (or ask us for help with any other wine & food nightmare combinations) on our Twitter and Facebook pages.
Image taken from John Loo's photostream under the Creative Commons license.


  1. Oh wow, I was going to ask you about this! I love dessert wines but never know how to choose one.

  2. My favourite dessert wine to have with chocolate is.... made by Yalumba. It's a Noble Pick Botrytis Viognier - a unique, and luscious dessert style wine . . .. Give me more ;)

  3. How about combining the two? There's a small vineyard in South Africa called Boekenhoutskloof that makes a red called Chocolate Block. It does what it says on the bottle - goes with everything and is decidedly moorish. It's usually available in very small quantities each year around Sept/Oct in the UK.

  4. When I was in Flordia Last month they had Chocolate Wine. An actual mixture of chocolate and wine in a bottle. I didn't try any because, you know, ew, but I wonder if it tastes any good? I think it's called Rubis wine?


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