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4 min read

Pairing White Wine & Chocolate

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Did you know that wine doesn’t have to be reserved for big meals, or only paired with extremely savory dishes?

When thinking about wine pairings, many people default to looking for something to pair with their main dish for dinner–most of the time, lighter wines are good for chicken and seafood, while a full-bodied red would pair nicely with a steak. Wine can also complement sweet flavors, like chocolate, beautifully if done correctly! If you’re skeptical, we get it, so was our very own CEO, Jack Farrell, at first! 

“I thought wine and chocolate just won't go together at all. And of course, in my naivete, I had never tried it. Well, I tried it and I loved the combination. It was just exceptional. Now, a lot of people say, ‘Oh it just can't be done.’ Well, sure it can,” says Jack on the Weekly Wine Chat with WCCO News Radio.

White wine and chocolate pairings are often overlooked, but they can make for a delightful and indulgent experience. When pairing wine with chocolate, there are just a couple of tips to bear in mind:

  1. Don’t overcomplicate it! As Jack advises, “Keep it sort of simple. Take a wine that's a little sweeter than the chocolate or chocolate dessert that you're going to have, and play around a little bit together.” 
  2. If you’re going to be trying multiple chocolate pairings, start from the lightest and work your way down to the darkest or fullest; if you don’t, it can confuse your palate and muddle the lighter flavors.
  3. Wine pairing and tasting are supposed to be fun! There are no hard-and-fast rules, so experiment! Do what feels right and tastes good to you.

READ MORE: How to Find Your Favorite White Wine

With all of this in mind, we’ll break down some of the best white wine pairings for each category of chocolate, starting with white, and working down to dark/semi-sweet.

White Chocolate

White wine and white chocolate are a match made in heaven; this is because “you want a similar style and weight,” says Jack, “for example, with a lighter chocolate, you want a lighter-bodied wine.” The wines we have picked out for this section fit the bill perfectly!

  1. Flowers Camp Meeting Ridge Chardonnay is a little on the pricier side, but Jack recommends it for a reason! It’s buttery, rich, flavorful, and really melds well with the creaminess of white chocolate making it the perfect indulgence for the occasion.
  2. You could also go with a nice prosecco like Cavatina. This one is fruit-forward but still dry so it won’t overpower the light flavor of white chocolate. It’s fresh and fruity, and you’ll enjoy the delicate bubbles flirting with your tastebuds.
  3. Jack’s last suggestion is a unique type of wine from Germany called ice wine. This wine is very special: it comes from grapes that have received a natural freeze from the elements, and while the water freezes in the grapes, the sugars and other dissolved solids do not, leaving behind a very sweet wine with higher natural sugar concentrates. Ice wines like the Heinz Eifel Eiswein are a treat in and of themselves, but if you’re going to pair it with chocolate, white chocolate is the way to go! 

Milk Chocolate 

As we go down the list into richer chocolate flavors, it can get a little tricky keeping the balance with white wines because they are often light and will get lost if paired with bolder flavors, but rest assured, we’ve still got some suggestions. 

  1. Champagne is a bold white wine, and can often hold its own in a number of different pairings, but with milk chocolate try a demi-sec (half-dry) over a sec or brut champagne, remembering that you’ll want the wine to be just a little sweeter than the chocolate. This Vueve Clicquot is great with milk chocolate because of the ripe berry flavor with hints of toast and brioche meld with the nutty, caramel notes of the chocolate.
  2. You could also go for a Riesling like Sittmann. This one is a fresh wine with aromas of green apples, pears, and apricots. While the flavors of this wine won’t necessarily meld with the chocolate like the last one, the contrast in the flavors highlights their counterpart in a fun little dance, with the sweetness of the wine not letting chocolate overpower it.

Dark Chocolate

“With dark chocolate, you'd generally want a big, robust red wine,” says Jack, and you can find more about our beloved reds in the full wine guide, but pairing dark chocolate with white wine is not an impossible task! The key is to select a white wine with enough body and sweetness to balance the bitterness of the dark chocolate. Look for a white wine with a higher alcohol content and enough residual sugar to stand up to the bitterness of the chocolate. 

  1. Here, we’d recommend trying a Maderia like Miles Rainwater because the flavors are complex enough to stand with the bitterness of dark chocolate. Its medium sweetness offers enough contrast, and the walnutty caramel finish makes for a great pairing with something more bitter, like dark chocolate. 

All-in-all, wine pairing is about what tastes good to you, but hopefully, the suggestions listed give you a good starting point to pair white wine with different kinds of chocolate!

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