Thoughts of wine and chocolate conjure up romance and a certain February holiday, but trust us—you don’t need Cupid’s arrow to strike or a special occasion to indulge. Pairing wine and chocolate is a tasty proposition all year long.
We love hosting pairing events at Penns Woods Winery (more on that later!), but we want you to know you can experiment at home with great results. We’ve got a few tips and tricks up our sleeve that we’re willing to share, yet we encourage you to try different combinations and see what pleases your palate.
Wine and chocolate are great friends for many reasons, not the least of which is because both are fermented. Yes, cacao seeds go through a fermentation process, then are dried and roasted, giving chocolate some of the same characteristics as wine. Chocolate is a complex and intense confection: what happens to it next is the secret sauce that makes this go-to treat creamy, sweet, fruity, acidic and even bitter. There really is a chocolate for everyone.
Wine also teases us with virtually every flavor profile imaginable: mild fruits, sweet honey, bold berries, savory vanilla, even smoke and leather—and so much more. No wonder it’s the perfect partner for multifaceted chocolate.
At Penns Woods, we’ve sipped and nibbled our way through our fair share of wine and chocolate—and we’ve learned a few things we’d like to share:
Bancroft Riesling and Milk Chocolate
We’re starting with an unconventional white wine pairing because good milk chocolate tends to be sweet. Our Bancroft Riesling is light-bodied with hints of jasmine and tastes of rich honey and floral with a just-right sweet finish.
Cabernet Franc Reserve with Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate gets a bad rap for bitterness, but that isn’t always the case. The higher the cocoa percentage, the more you’ll find, but some people love that bite. There’s a big range of treats that fall into the dark chocolate category, and all will partner well with our Cabernet Franc Reserve. You’ll smell toasty flavors of blackberry, dark cherry and herbal spice with hints of leather and tobacco. The wine’s firm tannins usher in tastes of red fruit and cranberry with nice acidity.
Bancroft Cabernet Sauvignon with Chocolate and a Coffee (or Espresso!) Infusion
This killer pairing appeals to both sexes—but guys in particular. For a winning combo, try our silky Bancroft Cabernet Sauvignon, with its soft flavors of raisin, medium finish and a bit of black cherry on the nose. The coffee-chocolate brings out Cab’s rustic and bold tannic finish.
Chambourcin with Chocolate and Nuts
Adding nuts to chocolate creates an umami experience with a crunchy textural bonus. With notes of pomegranate and sage, plus earthy flavors and a spicy black pepper kick at the finish, our Chambourcin is a worthy match.
Bancroft Moscato Rose with Chocolate and Fruit
Think raspberries or other red fruits enrobed in luscious chocolate—sweet on sweet. Our Bancroft Moscato Rose—yes, a rose!—is enhanced by those delicate fruit undertones in the chocolate. It’s smooth and refreshingly sweet with its own flavors of white peach and strawberry.
Chardonnay Reserve with White Chocolate
This faux chocolate (no cocoa!) is still the darling of many candy lovers as it tends to be mildly sweet, not over-the-top sweet. Select our Chardonnay Reserve for its natural bright fruit flavors, touch of nutmeg and hints of toasted nut and vanilla creaminess.
Merlot Reserve with Chocolate Desserts
Sometimes you just need a big, rich, decadent, roll-your-eyes-back-in-your-head chocolate dessert. Our Merlot Reserve can handle it, with big and bold tones of ripe dark berries, chocolaty tannins and enticing flavors of smoke, vanilla and even leather.
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Go behind the scenes with the Penns Woods Winery team in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.