It's the run up to the annual end of Lent and the weekend of bunnies, and chicks and of course....chocolate.
How do you pair yours?
Some people will swear by a mouthful of rich, fruity, full bodied dry red wine to accompany their post-lunch Easter egg (or pre-lunch….no judgement here) and though there are certainly some dry reds that will work with chocolate; there is a risk that the sweetness of the chocolate could make the wine taste sour, or in the case of dark chocolate, the tannins in both could clash in an astringent mess. You must of course make up your own minds, taste is personal and one person’s idea of wine and chocolate heaven, may be the equivalent of eating marmalade with tinned anchovies to another. However, to quote Fiona Beckett, Queen of food matching, “I’m not a fan of pairing full-bodied red wines with chocolate, although I know many are. For me the wine needs to be sweeter than the dessert.” So with that in mind, and to give some of our sweeter wine offerings a little air-time, here are some suggestions….
Being the very sweetest of the sweet Easter options, white chocolate needs something to meet it head on. Ontañón Marco Fabio Moscatel from Rioja is just the thing. Made from Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains (or Moscatel de Grano Menudo seeing as this is Spain), this pale, liquid gold drop will lend delicious notes of ripe stone fruits and tropical aromas to the creamy, vanilla-y-ness of white chocolate, with fresh citrus acidity to stop the whole thing becoming too much.
Ever popular, milk chocolate has the benefit of the lovely rich cocoa-y, velvety flavours with the more bitter notes tempered by, well, milk. Flavours such as strawberries, raspberries and cherries which combine well with the chocolate itself also work when they come from a wine. So for this we propose a glass of fragrant and rosy Alasia Brachetto d’Acqui from Piemonte. Lightly sparkling, with aromas of crushed raspberries, and juicy red fruit balanced by bright acidity. Also highly recommended as a delicious, refreshing way to end a meal with or without dessert!
Dark chocolate is high in tannins, as is red wine and certain grape varieties in particular. So normally, Mourvèdre would be a terrible pairing for this bittersweet treat, especially if it had a particularly high cocoa percentage. However the luxurious sweetness and layers of coffee, prunes and blackberries in this Late Harvest Mourvèdre from Cline Cellars, provide a perfect foil for the more bitter cocoa notes in dark chocolate. It will also taste superb if the chocolate contains dried fruit such as figs or raisins.
Happy eating and Happy Easter!