What most people may find interesting (myself included) is that although wine and chocolate seem like a match made in foodie heaven, they are actually one of the most difficult types of pairings. This is primarily because of the acidity levels in both items. So with anything, you want to ensure their is a harmonious balance.
Last night we had the chance to pick the brain of former wino-gone-chocoholic (and Head of Taste for Green & Black's) Micah Carr-Hill about why he recommends pairing chocolates with dessert wines vs. more everyday offerings. Here's what he had to say:
On the menu at last night's event, Car-Hill brought this to life with robust pairings that even had me shocked:
Doiy Vedrines, (Barsac), 2007
NOTES: Bright straw yellow color. Noble rot fruit and honey on nose. Very concentrated sugars, but a nice blend of sweet and acidity. Changes the taste of the white chocolate bringing to life vanilla and carmel flavors.
Peanut & Sea Salt
Trimbach, Gewurztraminer "Vendages Tardives," 2000
NOTES: Late harvest. Straw yellow color. Combination of grapefruit and rose on the nose. Peach blended with red raspberry on the palate. Paired well with salt from peanuts in the chocolate. Peanuts were whole and offered more robust taste - roasted, carmelized flavors.
Sandeman, "Royal Corregidor" Rare Sherry (aged 20 years)
NOTES: Light brown color with slight merigold hue. Offered a dryness with underlying sweetness. Buttery end when paired with almond and chocolate combination.
Rare Wine Company (Vinhos Barbieto), Madeira "New York Malmsey"
NOTES: Light brown color. Some scents of chocolate on the nose but also an undertone of citrus, particularly orange and lemon. Balanced nice with the acid and sour in the cherries of the chocolate.
Domain de la Casa Blanca, Banyuls, 2008
NOTES: Made primarily of granache (which is often said to be best with chocolate pairings). Dark garnet color. Blend of red fruits and blackberry on the nose. Berry fruits and plums on the palate.
Bodega Renacer, "Enamore," 2008
NOTES: Dark garnet color. Earthy notes on the nose with a hint of raisin. Full bodied experience with lots of dark, dried fruits on the palate.