Valentine’s Day means a lot of chocolate from heart shaped boxes. Of course this article is about wines to go with your chocolate. If you ask most people what wine goes with chocolate they’ll say Port wine. Port, a fortified wine from Portugal goes somewhat with chocolate, it isn’t the best choice. Most people just say Port because that’s what they’ve been told and have never explored the world of wines that go best with chocolate.
Mas Amiel, from the southwestern town of Maury in France is a favorite wine to pair with chocolate from real people in the know. Mas Amiel is based on the Grenache grape and fortified with neutral grape spirits, its alcohol content is slightly higher than most at around 15%. The rich berry flavors in Mas Amiel intensify the fruit components in chocolate, especially dark chocolate and the combination that results is an explosion of flavors in your mouth. Mas Amiel comes in vintage bottlings as well as 5, 10 and 25 year old wines; the older ones really intensify the fruit of chocolate. The Mas Amiel Blanc goes great with white chocolate.
From Uruguay, Alcyone, by Vinedo de los Vientos is another wine that goes fantastic with chocolate. It is harder to find than Mas Amiel, but it worth seeking out. This is another fortified wine; the grape used for Alcyone is Tannat, the signature grape of Uruguay. The winemaker, Pablo Fallabrino combines his tannat with tannat brandy to create one of the best wines to pair with chocolate. Like the Mas Amiel this wine exploits the chocolates fruit characteristics to create magic in your mouth.
Brachetto d’Acqui, a sweet lightly sparkling wine from Italy’s Piedmont region is another wine that goes fantastic with chocolate. Brachetto’s strawberry flavors make this pairing a natural, chocolate and strawberries. Low in alcohol, around 6% it is a light way to finish off a dinner party. Try dipping champagne flute rims in chocolate and save in the refrigerator when you host a dinner party. When dessert time comes pour the brachetto in to the flutes for a great ending to your dinner party. Your guests will think you are a genius and you can take the credit.
White Chocolate can be difficult to pair with wine; sparkling wines make a good match. Italy’s Stemmari Winery has come up with a great wine to pair with white chocolate, Baci Vivaci, which means lively kisses, is a lightly sparkling wine from Sicily. Made from Grillo, a native grape from Sicily, Baci Vivaci has aromas of freshly picked wild flowers and ripe peach. The palate has a slight sweetness and the bubbles are light and just tease the tongue. Baci Vivaci finishes with a medium dry finish with nice citrus acidity. At 10.5% abv. a couple of glasses of Baci Vivaci will still keep you in the game for a great St. Valentine’s Day.
Now you are ready to eat those chocolates in the heart shaped box and have choice of wines to drink with them. Enjoy!