Wine and chocolate together seems like a no-brainer. Both are luxuries that most would consider synonymous with 'relaxation' or 'indulgence.' However, willy-nilly pairings can leave the consumer dispirited. To avoid disappointment, here is a common rule for optimizing enjoyment of the two together: match the sweetness of the wine with the sweetness of the chocolate. Meaning: if the chocolate is sweet, go with a sweeter wine like a Port, Maury, or Sherry. Inversely, if the chocolate isn't very sweet, match its more assertive profile with a medium-bodied red such as Merlot. You can also experiment with a Malbec or Zinfandel. Alexandra Leaf, culinary historian and director of The Big Chocolate Show, suggests pairing chocolate with a Moscato D'Asti this summer. Moscato is a very chocolate-friendly DOCG wine from the north of Italy. It can be served with a range of chocolate, both tablet bars and bon bons as the flavor notes include honey, peach, nectarine, citrus, and tropical fruits. Its light effervescence makes it refreshing for the warm weather months.
However simple and delectable this equation may be, there are contrarians to the rule. Chocolate expert and fellow planner of The Big Chocolate Show, Clay Gordon, believes, "if you follow the 'conventional' advice, it's hard to be surprised." He enjoys pairing white wines with dark chocolates, and red wines with milk chocolates. "Sure, I get a lot of misses-but when the combinations work, they really work."