Wine and chocolate: a guide to pairing two of life’s great pleasures


Some say that chocolate and wine just don’t mix, but we beg to differ. Wine and chocolate are two of life’s greatest pleasures, and when paired together, they create an experience that’s truly nothing short of heavenly. Chocolate and wine both offer a wide variety of flavours, undertones and aromas, so finding the right pairing can create a harmonious balance of incredible flavours that are guaranteed to mystify your tastebuds. 

If this is your first time delving into the world of chocolate and wine pairings, you’ve certainly landed on the perfect page. Whether you are pairing the subtle, creamy nuances of milky white chocolate or the deep and intense flavours of dark chocolate with a favourite wine, there are a few pairing tips to keep in mind.

Today, we provide a guide to pairing wine and chocolate, including the best types of wine to pair with different types of chocolate. Read on to find out more! 

Wine & Chocolate Pairing General Guidelines

First, it is important to understand the basic principles of pairing wine and chocolate. The key is to balance the flavours of both elements so that they perfectly complement each other. It is also important to take into account the tannins and acidity of the wine, as they can either enhance or detract from the chocolate.

To get you started, here are some general wine and chocolate pairing guidelines: 

Light Goes With Light & Heavy Goes With Heavy

When pairing wine and chocolate, the general rule of thumb is to pair lighter-bodied wines with lighter chocolates and heavier-bodied wines with darker chocolates. For example, bottles of Pinot Noir or dry Rieslings pair well with milk chocolate or white chocolate, while a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon or a Syrah pairs well with dark chocolate.

Wine Should Match The Sweetness Of Chocolate 

Generally, it’s advisable to always choose a wine that can match your chocolate in its level of sweetness, if not exceed it. If the chocolate is sweeter than the wine you select, the wine will taste acrid or bitter in contrast. When we use the term “sweet” in this context, we are by no means referring to dessert wines alone. In the fine world of wine, the term “sweet” is sometimes used to denote ripe, fruit-forward flavours in a wine. 

Give The Champagne & Chocolate Combination A Miss

As sensible and irresistibly romantic as it may seem to pair champagne and chocolate, we’re here to steer you in a different direction. Unfortunately, champagne tends to be too dry and astringent to be enjoyed with chocolate. This is probably also where the notion that suggests wine and chocolate don’t go together was born, but don’t quote us on that. If you’re attached to the idea of bubbly and chocolate, consider opting for a demi-sec or a sweet sparkling wine instead. 

Consider Other Ingredients 

When pairing chocolate that features ingredients such as caramel, fruit, nuts or other flavourings, consider how these flavours will play with the wine. A general rule is to try to match the wine with the dominant flavour of the chocolate filling or mix-in. For example, a chocolate studded with juicy raisins might pair well with a fruit-forward red with berry undertones.

In the next section, we will dive a little deeper into how you can perfectly pair your wine with different varieties of chocolate. 

Pairing Wine With Dark/Bittersweet Chocolate

Although dark chocolate would seem to be the most obvious of choices when pairing chocolate and wine, there are a few challenges that need to be overcome in order to create the perfect pairing. This is because the tannins found in dark chocolate can come to blows with the tannins in wine, leaving a nasty and bitter taste in your mouth. Thus, this variety of chocolate requires bolder wines to stand up to the match. 

We recommend pairing your favourite dark chocolate with bolder, denser and fuller-bodied red wines that have more concentrated fruit notes. Some examples include Port, Zinfandels, Shiraz, Grenache, Ruby Port, Merlot, New York Pinot Noirs, or even Chianti. When it comes to pairing these two, bigger and bolder is always the way to go. 

Pairing Wine With Milk Chocolate

Before we start, apologies to chocolate snobs in advance. Milk chocolate is indulgently smooth, sweet, creamy, and is widely regarded as the most popular type of chocolate. This type of chocolate is classically low in cocoa solids and rich in sugar and milk. Remember what we said about how wine should match the sweetness of the chocolate it pairs with? With this in mind, milk chocolate pairs best with dessert wines and lighter-bodied red wines, such as Moscato d’Asti, Pinot Noir, or a sweet fortified wine such as Port. Riesling can also work well with milk chocolate, especially if the chocolate has a fruity or nutty flavour or filling.

For a vegan take on this wine and chocolate pairing, try pairing your next glass of dessert wine with some soy or even oat milk chocolate!

Pairing Wine With White Chocolate 

Did you know that white chocolate isn’t technically chocolate because it doesn’t contain any cocoa solids? In reality, it’s just cocoa butter mixed with sugar, often with a little vanilla added for flavouring. Regardless, it is still an incredibly popular treat amongst many, and is certainly worthy of being paired with its perfect wine counterpart. The sweetest of all chocolates, white chocolate is best matched with white wines like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or a sweeter bottling like a Moscato. Some people also swear by the Pinot Noir and white chocolate combination, but we’ll let you be the judge of that. 

Do note that these guidelines also apply to other forms of white chocolate such as caramelised white chocolate, also commonly referred to as gold, blonde or Caramilk. However, it can be beneficial to take into consideration the undertones of caramel, toffee and maple syrup that may be present in this subcategory when choosing the perfect wine pairing. 

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Final Words 

When pairing wine and chocolate, it’s important to experiment and find the combination that works best for your personal taste. While the guidelines above can be helpful, there are certainly no hard and fast rules when it comes to pairing this iconic duo. What works for one person may not for another, and the ultimate goal is to create a pleasurable experience for your own taste buds. Start by tasting the wine and chocolate separately, then try them together to see how the flavours interact. The goal is to create a balanced and harmonious pairing that enhances the flavours of both the wine and the chocolate. You might also want to try special chocolates from Tabs.


And there you have it —- everything you need to know about the art of pairing two of life’s greatest pleasures. Although pairing wine and chocolate may seem intimidating at first glance, a little knowledge and understanding of a few simple concepts will certainly go a long way. When done right, pairing wine with chocolate can be a fun and rewarding experience with the added bonus of transporting your tastebuds to cloud nine. What’s not to love? 

Be sure to hone your newfound wine and chocolate pairing skills over 2024 so you’re ready to make the most of this year’s World Chocolate Day festivities!