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Wine and Chocolate: The Hottest Duos to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

red roses, box of chocolate, and red wine bottle on table

It’s the season of romance and love, but Cupid can drop the bow. With Rieslings, cabs, and merlots filling Valentine’s Day wishes, it just takes some wine-friendly chocolates to send hearts aflutter. Pairing a fine vintage wine and delicious chocolate can be exciting. But the wrong match can displease both refined and unrefined tastebuds. Like anything in life, the key is balance. 

Both wine and chocolate contain flavanols, which belong to a family of polyphenolic compounds that have significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  

But these compounds also affect flavor. The more polyphenols in wine or chocolate, the more pronounced the bitter taste. To find a perfect wine-and-chocolate match, you’ll want to make sure both are somewhat similar—the same bitterness, smoothness, punch, and body. We break it down right here, taking the guesswork out of wine and chocolate pairings. Read on! 

White Chocolate

Pairs with: Riesling, Chardonnay, Moscato d’Asti, or Sauvignon Blanc 

Similarities: White chocolate can come in a variety of forms, but its taste is soft overall and has a mellow sweetness with buttery tones. Here are some ideal pairings: 

  • When grabbing nutty white chocolate, opt for the bottle of chardonnay. Its fuller body and buttery finish will enhance the flavors of the white chocolate.  
  • For a citrusy white chocolate, pair it with sauvignon blanc. The lightness and acidity of the wine make it an easy palate-pleaser.  
  • Riesling and Moscato d’Asti are both light, bubbly, and sweet—a white chocolate’s ideal partner. 

broken pieces of dark chocolate

Dark Chocolate

Pairs with: Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, or Merlot 

Similarities: Some might describe the taste of dark chocolate as dry, bitter, strong, or intense. You’ll want to pick a wine with the same powerful punch. Zinfandels, cabs, syrahs, and merlots are all fuller-bodied wines with some fruity undertones.  

Depending on the cacao content of your dark chocolate, you’ll want to choose a similar-bodied wine for the biggest flavor boost. Here's some inspiration:   

  • Zinfandels and syrahs share fruity and spicy notes, so they’ll probably pair better with semi-sweet dark chocolate.  
  • Cabernet sauvignon tends to be bold and strong, which teams well with the drier, not-so-sweet chocolates.  
  • The richness of merlot wows with a 55% cacao-packed dark chocolate. 

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two glasses of red wine on white tablecloth

Milk Chocolate

Pairs with: Pinot Noir, Port, Riesling, or Pinot Gris 

Similarities: The creamy sweetness of milk chocolate requires a wine that can hold up to its smooth, silky texture. Here are some options: 

  • Try a pinot noir for a light-bodied, sweet, and tannic complement. Are you not into pinot? Opt for a port from Portugal for a fruit-forward tasting experience.  
  • White wines, like a Riesling or Pinot Gris, that are lighter and semi-sweet are also a delight when paired with milk chocolate. 

platter of chocolate covered strawberries

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

Pairs with: Champagne, Moscato, or Brachetto d’Acqui 

Similarities: A combination of fresh strawberries and chocolate sends the tastebuds in all different directions of sweet and tangy. You’ll want your chosen wine to have the same bursts of excitement. For example: 

  • Reach for bubbly wines, such as Champagne, Moscato, or brachetto d’acqui, to get the most flavor benefits from your pairing. While moscato and brachetto d’acqui play off the sweetness of the chocolate, the subtleties of Champagne allow the strawberry to take center stage. 

These wine and chocolate pairings are also fabulous for Galentine's Day! Here's everything you need to know about Galentine's Day and more. 

Mint Chocolate

Pairs with: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, or Shiraz 

Similarities: Whether it’s a thin mint or a peppermint patty, these chocolaty treats offer cool, refreshing bites. Pair mint chocolate with wine that’s equally surprising. For example:   

  • A bold red like a cabernet sauvignon or cab franc has enough intensity to match the cooling flavors of mint.  
  • A shiraz is a medium-bodied wine with earthy notes that happily take a back seat to the chocolate. 

You've Got the Wine & Chocolate Pairings Down...Now You’re Ready for Valentine’s Day! 

Learning about the perfect wine and chocolate pairings is great when planning the ideal evening for Valentine's Day or any regular old day! From chocolate-covered strawberries with Champagne to dark chocolate with merlot, these pairings are sure to be a hit. However, if the classic wine and chocolates alone won’t cut it for Valentine's Day this year, don’t worry—we’ve got you! Check out our article for some last-minute thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift ideas. Enjoy!