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Wine and Chocolate Pairing Guide: Expert Tips for Perfect Matches

By Joseph Steele.

Wine and cheese might be the classic pairing adored by many, but the fusion of wine and chocolate is where the true magic lies.

Venturing into this pairing for the first time might seem rife with complexity. You may wonder, ‘Can it truly be as simple as opening a bottle of wine and pairing it with chocolate?’ Is it plausible to say, akin to cheese, that even a modest wine ascends to new heights with the addition of chocolate?

Absolutely. Yet, the true culinary adventure begins when we pair premium chocolates with exceptional wines.

Why does this duo work so seamlessly? Much like the pairing of meat and cheese, chocolates come with their own distinct flavour profiles that marry well with certain wines. This nuance suggests there are best practices worth following as you select your pairings. We’ve taken the arduous task of many chocolate and wine pairings, to find you those matches truly made in culinary heaven.

Wine and Chocolate Pairing Guide: Expert Tips for Perfect Matches

Milk Chocolate & Riesling:

The allure of the decadently sweet, irresistibly smooth and melt-in-your-mouth quality of premium milk chocolate is hard to resist. When you are faced with such a delightful confection, it calls for equally sublime pairings.

The light sweetness of a Riesling, acting as a background to its characteristic citrus notes, is the perfect canvas for an indulgently milky chocolate. We’ve found the 2002 Insider Riesling from Knappstein Wines is the perfect accompaniment. The award-winning wine is a harmonious blend of lemon sherbert and mandarin flavours, soft floral nuances and a weighty texture.

Alternatively, for a truly decadent experience try the 2019 Enterprise Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Knappstein, with its medium body and broodingly complex notes of deep plum and spices. The structure lends itself nicely to the creaminess of the chocolate.

Wine and Chocolate Pairing Guide: Expert Tips for Perfect Matches

Dark Chocolate & Shiraz:

Dark chocolate holds a certain level of seductiveness with its rich, luscious earthy tones and subtle bitterness. The higher cocoa content pierces the smooth chocolate with notes of dried fruit and liquorice, creating an experience that delights the senses. Pairing dark chocolate and wine can be trickier than you think.

Shiraz is known for its deliciously rich and dark fruit palate. Nuances of pepper, liquorice and sometimes leather enhance the dark chocolate’s flavours. We’ve opted for Sandalford’s elegant 2018 Prendiville Reserve Shiraz showcasing a full spectrum of berry flavours opening into delightful savouries like nutmeg and fennel seeds, floaing on a supple texture. You’re in for a truly opulent experience with this one.

An alternative pairing, for a sweeter match is Sandalford’s 2021 Margaret River Range Cabernet Merlot. This polished, structured red is an elegant mid-weight blend highlighting sweet red fruits and rhubarb with a subtly savoury oak nuance.

Wine and Chocolate Pairing Guide: Expert Tips for Perfect Matches

Spicy Chocolate & Cabernet Sauvignon:

Sometimes you need a little heat with your chocolate. The exciting blend of chocolate and chili is a centuries-old combination, where the intense aromatics of dark chocolate are balanced by hints of chilli. With a dark chocolate background and heat from the chilli, there is plenty of room for experimentation.

While sugar tends to neutralise the intensity of chilli’s heat, you can opt for sweet red wines like Lambrusco. However, we’ve decided to turn up the heat. By pairing the spiced chocolate with Wombat Forest Vineyard’s tannin-rich 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon the intensity of the chilli gets kicked up a notch. The full body, dark berries, hints of eucalyptus and blackberry blend seamlessly with the dark chocolate, while the tannins get to work intensifying the existing heat.

Alternative pairings include Wombat Forest’s 2020 Pinot Noir. Sweet, pristine and featuring black cherry tones, this lightly tangy wine’s sweetness offsets the heat of the chilli and enhances the richness of dark chocolate.

Wine and Chocolate Pairing Guide: Expert Tips for Perfect Matches

Crème Filled Chocolates & Chardonnay:

Crème filled chocolates are the epitome of luxury confections. Rich, smooth exteriors give way to velvety fillings that marry complex flavours in one little bite of opulence. Each piece offers an indulgent escape with the perfect balance of textures and taste that lingers delightfully on the palate.

The perfect match for these delightful bonbons is a delectably oaked Chardonnay - Glenbosch filled that order with the 2022 Chardonnay. Paying homage to classical winemaking, the vibrant fruit flavours marry beautifully with the sophistication of French oak, culminating in a refined, creamy finish. The blend of tradition and modern luxury is the perfect match for a suite of crème filled chocolates.

Alternative pairings include the contrasting 2022 Pinot Gris from Glenbosch. Crisp, elegant and with a savoury overture, the crisp citrus and apricot flavours cut through the creaminess of the chocolates while working nicely with the chocolatey shell.

Wine and Chocolate Pairing Guide: Expert Tips for Perfect Matches

Hazelnut Chocolate & Merlot:

Hazelnut chocolate is a sumptuous blend of velvety chocolate and the distinct, nutty crunch of hazelnuts, creating a delightful symphony of texture and flavour. This combination offers a perfect balance of sweetness and depth, making it a great chocolate to pair with wine.

We cast our eye to the Port Lincoln estate of Peter Teakle Wines and tagged their 2019 Estate Merlot for the task. Notes of mulberry and spice with soft, juicy tannins combined with the velvety texture and depth of the Merlot set the stage to let the richness of the nutty chocolate explode. Each layer of fruit, spice and earth are harmoniously intertwined with the distinct flavours of roasted hazelnuts.

Alternative pairings include Peter Teakle’s 2022 Estate Chardonnay with its creamy texture and flavours of nutty brioche enhancing the indulgent hazelnut chocolate.

While we take the time to give you our notes, the best part of the experience is getting out and trying your own combinations. Take an indulgent moment, grab your favourite bottle of wine and find a chocolate that works best! Let us know your pairings on our socials. 

Featured Locations

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The Line & Label

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