Chocolate and wine have a lot in common. For instance, just as the flavour profile of wine varies depending on its region (a California cabernet tastes different from a cabernet from Bourgogne), the flavour profile of a cocoa bean varies depending on where in the world it’s grown. In particular, red wine features many flavour notes that complement dark chocolate, which is why pairing a glass of merlot or shiraz with your favourite Excellence bar can elevate your tasting experience. But first, some wine pairing tips:
Generally, the more full-bodied the red wine is, the higher percentage of cacao you can pair it with.
A red wine that is higher in tannins will intensify hot spices in food; if you’re having Excellence Chili, but don’t want to amplify its heat, look for a wine that is lower in tannins such as a Merlot or Zinfandel.
For the best tasting experience, set your palate with a small sip of wine first. After a few seconds, take a bite of the dark chocolate, allowing it to melt and warm up on the palate. Then, take another larger sip of wine and enjoy!
Let this flowchart—created with the help of wine expert and educator Mark Donaldson—help guide you as you decide what red wine to pair with your dark chocolate flavour or cacao percentage of choice.