Wine Matching: Chocolate

There are many complexities involved when trying to match wine to rich dessert flavours, particularly with chocolate.

We asked our resident super-buff, Master of Wine Justin Howard-Sneyd, for his thoughts: “In my book, when it comes to wine and food matching, anything goes. With one exception – wine and chocolate. The raw cacao bean is bitter. It kills any flavour in any wine, and the added sugar and milk only make it worse. If you want give it a go, you need something with enough power and concentration to overcome the bitterness of the cacao bean!”

This was the perfect challenge for our Wine Advisors who, in the face of bitter convention came up with the following ‘match made in heaven’ suggestions:

“Pair chocolate desserts with a sweet Madeira, an Amontillado or Oloroso Sherry or, a Tawny Port. The combination can create a greater complexity of heightened pleasure, as the two combine.”


You could go for the Cossart Gorden Malmsey 05 or the Andresen Royal Choice 20 Year Old Tawny Port as an ideal way to finish off your meal.

If you are fond of white chocolate then a sweet Riesling like the Seifried Estate Sweet Agnes Riesling Half Bottle 2012 has a lusciousness that perfectly complements the vanilla, caramel and honey flavours of white chocolate.

white choc

During our recent Q&A with Reader’s Digest, Johanna Dunn asked What’s the best red wine for dark chocolate? Our buyer Beth Willard had this to say “Tricky but a sweet wine from Maury in the South of France is perfect. Or try a classic Bordeaux if you prefer a dryer style.”

Why not experiment and let us know your favourite matches?


About Laithwaites Wine

Laithwaite's began in 1969, when Tony Laithwaite took a job washing bottles in Bordeaux... and fell in love with real wine and the people who make it. When he borrowed a van to share these delicious wines with friends and neighbours at home, things went so well that boutique wineries were soon queuing to take part. Today we're the UK's No.1 home-delivery wine merchant, with over 1,500 wines to choose from... including red, white and rosé, plus Champagne and sparkling, beer and cider.

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