There is nothing more romantic than the delectable combination of wine and chocolate. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we thought it would be helpful to enhance your wine and chocolate pairing expertise so that when the special day arrives you can experience the best chocolate pairing combinations possible.

In order to accurately complement wine and chocolate it is important to have a proper smelling and tasting technique. To enjoy a burst of flavor you first want to sniff your wine then sip your wine by itself. Really try to taste the different ingredients that make up the aroma. Next, it is essential to taste the chocolate without mixing it with the wine. Let it sit on your palette for a little to experience its’ taste individually. The final step is when you can finally combine the two by taking another sip of wine and mixing it with the chocolate to create a zest of flavor. This is a fun technique to use in order to gain the greatest experience for your taste buds.

Tasting wine and chocolate together is delectable in itself. But complementing chocolate with the appropriate wine can make for an exceptional flavor experience. Chocolates with intense flavors pair excellently with full-bodied reds. It is important to smell the aroma and taste to properly match the chocolate and wine together. Since February is our month focusing on full-bodied reds, we thought it would be fun to give some advice on pairing some of these reds with chocolates.

When dealing with a Cabernet Sauvignon it is best to pair with a hazelnut, cinnamon, or fruit dark chocolate to complement the black cherry, plum, black current, and tobacco flavors. A wine like LaVelle Vineyards’ 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon is a great pairing for this. Since a Merlot is known for its plum, blackberry, and vanilla flavors, it couples perfectly with a dark chocolate macadamia or milk chocolate. It would be fun to try pairing Sarver Winery’s 2012 Merlot with a chocolate ganache or with chocolate covered fruit.  However, a Petite Sirah pairs wonderfully with a dark chocolate with mocha or hazelnut because of its’ spicy, peppery, and blackberry aroma. This would be great with Noble Estate’s Petite Sirah.

No matter what kind of wine you want to try there is a chocolate out there that pairs with it beautifully. If you want some more practice on pairing chocolate with wine head out to Pfeiffer Vineyards for a wine pairing special going on for the month of February where they will be pairing 5 selected wines with 5 selected truffles.