Easy Guide for Chocolate and Wine Pairing

Here’s the good news: If you have a bottle of wine and a bar of chocolate, it’s already a party. But pairing wine and chocolate can be harder than you think! Use this guide to help you find the perfect wine pairing for your favorite chocolate. 

While this luxurious pairing seems like a no-brainer, you might be surprised to learn that matching the right chocolate with the right wine can be a bit of a challenge.

Why is that? Well, when you start getting into wine – taking time to taste each sip, noting the flavor and body – you’ll start to become more aware of how wine and food taste together. Some pairings are pure magic, while others…can taste kind of weird. It’s tragic, we know. 

Here’s how to avoid all that weirdness. Use this guide to learn how to pair chocolate and wine like a pro.

A Drop of Knowledge

A good rule of thumb for pairing wine with chocolate is that the wine should be slightly sweeter than the chocolate. This is true for any kind of dessert pairing, but since chocolate is so intense, it’s especially important to observe here.

Here’s another fun fact: Chocolate has tannins – just like wine. If you combine a tannin-rich dark chocolate square with a highly tannic wine, the whole thing will taste bitter. Fruit-forward flavors and residual sweetness in wine can help mellow things out.

Friends toasting with red wine with white plate of chocolate on wood table

Vino & Confection Perfection

White Chocolate

Yes, we know that white chocolate is not technically chocolate. It’s okay.

Sweet and creamy white chocolate pairs well with a light and sweet wine. You could go with an off-dry Riesling, a fizzy wine like Moscato d’Asti (white) or Brachetto d’Acqui (red), or even a sweet sherry like Pedro Ximénez sherry from Spain. 

Milk Chocolate

Since milk chocolate is part chocolate, part cream, it’s not only delicious but quite versatile. Whether you like white or red wine, you’ve got options when you’re enjoying a Hershey Bar. 

Milk chocolate pairs well with slightly sweet, aromatic white wines like Viognier, Gewürztraminer, and Alsace Pinot Gris. It also pairs well with light- to medium-bodied fruity reds like Pinot Noir and Merlot, as well as sweet and fizzy reds like Lambrusco. In fact, the jammy notes in Lambrusco combined with chocolate sort of tastes like a PB&J. 

Dark Chocolate

Here’s where things get tricky. A dark chocolate square and a sip of red wine sounds great on paper, but a dry red wine with a lot of tannins can turn this dream into a nightmare.

Instead, pair your 72% cacao dark chocolate with a sweet, jammy red wine like Zinfandel or a dessert wine like ruby port or Grenache-based Banyuls

Flavored Chocolate

If you’re all about chocolate that’s got another flavor in the mix, you can use the most prominent flavor to help you pick a wine. Here’s how to get started:

  • Love your chocolate with a hint of mint? Try a bold Syrah with notes of dark fruit. 
  • If chocolate caramels are your guilty pleasure, go with a tawny port or a sweet sherry
  • Chocolate with sea salt or chocolate-covered pretzels go well with a slightly sweet Gewürztraminer or Zinfandel.
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups pair well with a nutty, sweet wine like Madeira or tawny port.
  • Got a date night coming up? Chocolate-covered strawberries pair well with a semi-dry sparkling wine.

three plates with chocolate and red wine on wood background

In Vino Finito

Wine and chocolate are a match made in heaven when paired correctly. Need help choosing a wine? We’re here to help.

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Bright Cellars

Our staff is full of passionate wine lovers. With our amazing sommeliers at the helm, we’ve been schooled on all things wine. We came together to write this article, in hopes of spreading a little wine-ducation with you.

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