Here's a public service announcement just in time for Valentine's Day: Red wine with chocolate - don't do it! Sure, you'll find lots of chocolate and wine festivals this time of year, and the image of a fancy box of chocolates next to a bottle of red wine remains an enduring romantic theme, but don't believe the hype. Pairing a dry red wine with chocolate is a rookie move with food and wine pairings, mainly because the sweetness in chocolate clashes significantly with the dryness of wine. But hey, if you like your palate turning bitter and sour from chocolate with red wine, go ahead playboys and playgirls.
Sparkling wines paired with chocolate are also considered a culinary no-no. Don't believe me? Here's what the venerable Mike Dunne, the Bee's former food and wine editor, had to say about this issue in 2005:
"Yes, sparkling wine is romantic. Yes, chocolate is romantic. But with very few exceptions, the two don't belong together. They make for a quarrelsome couple, the wine generally too delicate for the rich chocolate. Yet, as Valentine's Day draws near each year, vintners and chocolatiers a little too eager to bring joy to others insist that their products are meant to be together. They aren't, and only the most desperate of suitors sees romance in such an unsuitable marriage."
Before you put that corkscrew away, keep in mind that port-style wines and other dessert wines can make for some wonderful pairings with chocolate. The key is for the wine to have some significant residual sugar to match the sweetness of your chocolatey confections.
For some proper chocolate with sweet wines pairings, check out this link from Serious Eats.
FROM THE BEE: