Chocolate and Wine is a combo that’s sometimes met with controversy in the world of wine. So, finding the right pairing can be a bit of a minefield. But fear not, as Club Vino is here to guide you through it! Along with commentary and tips from our very own Sommelier, Marco Castelanelli, and professional Chocolatier, Oli the Chocolate man.
1. Quinta do Noval 10yo Tawny Port, Portugal & Fruit and Nut Chocolate
Pass the fruit and nut and crack open the Tawny Port! This pairing will blow you away. Tawny Port is a very sweet barrel-aged wine with notes of caramel and nut, along with aromas of morello cherries – which when paired with the sweetness of the Fruit and Nut truly is a treat for the tastebuds. Chocolatier Oli, recommends pairing this port with a bar of Hotel Chocolat’s Fruit and Nut. He says, adding a crunch to this thick, sweet wine adds to its deliciousness. He tells us, the crunch in the form of nuts and fruits balance this pairing beautifully.
2. Pinot Noir 2018 McManis, Lodi, Californian Wine & Green and Blacks Sea
If the Tawny Port doesn’t quite butter your crumpets, then another wine recommended by Marco is a bottle of 2018 Pinot Noir, McManis. This delightful drop offers strawberry preserves and fresh cherry, mixed with vanilla and cream aromatics. Once in the mouth, these flavours are recognisable, along with a hint of Blueberry. When it comes to pairing this wine with the perfect chocolate, Oli suggests Green & Blacks Sea Salt – matching the most moorish of chocolate with some of the most drinkable wine. This combination of sea salt and chocolate is one of Oli’s favourites. With the sea salt enhancing the sweet and creamy elements of the Pinot Noir, so that when these two meet you are in for a real treat. Alternatively, Oli says his self-crafted Holy Grail Chocolate is a very close match if you’re wanting to try something new!
3. French Malbec Wine from Cahors & Firetree’s 100% Cocoa Solids
Cahors is a region in the south of France, renowned for its Malbec. This wine can be described as leathery, with flavours of black plum, black currant, cherry and liquorice. Oli recommends pairing this drop with Firetree’s 100% Cocoa solids. He says, this single-origin Chocolate is something special and when matched with the fruity date notes of the wine the bitterness from the cocoa is less harsh – giving a more balanced flavour. When combined with the Malbec, this pairing gives an antioxidant overload with flavours working in perfect harmony – a delightful balance of bitterness, acidity and sweetness when these two beauties are brought together. Oli loves pairing good wine with very dark chocolate, as it balances the bitterness leaving a smoother fruity aftertaste.
Oli tells us the Cocoa trees used when producing this chocolate grow in rich volcanic soil, providing a unique flavour. Their beans encapsulate a subtle cocoa flavour, overlaid with delicate plum and citrus notes which provides the perfect match to the wine.
Now that you know a few winning combinations, all that’s left to do now is stock up and indulge! If you’re wanting to learn a little more about the wine you’re drinking and the story behind every bottle – take a look at our Home Wine Tasting Packages and check out Oli’s Home Chocolate making kits. Who knows, there might even be a chocolate specialty coming soon.