February 2006                               


Wines of the month - Paul DeRose

Cupid’s Delight – CHOCOLATE and Wine?

I think it’s safe to say that most women love chocolate and although, I have given other Valentine’s Day gifts to my wife, chocolate is definitely one of her favorites. On the other hand, my favorite Valentine’s Day gift, not surprisingly, is a bottle of wine. But are there any wines that go well with chocolate? I’m happy to report that the answer is YES, but the wine must be at least as sweet as the chocolate. Fortified, sweet whites, which include Sherry, Madeira, Marsala and white tawny Port are excellent choices, but be sure you are picking a sweet one, as dry versions of each of these are also produced. Red tawny Port goes just as well as white and is much easier to find. Fruit wines (non-grape), such as blackberry and blueberry wines, are another option. White dessert wines made from the Muscat grape go well with white and milk chocolate, lighter-colored and sparkling versions going with the former and more concentrated, honey-tinted versions going with the latter. Dry wines tend to be overwhelmed and made to taste bitter by most chocolate, but bittersweet chocolate can go well with a big, rich (California style) Merlot or Cabernet.

Listed below are some of the best, readily available wine accompaniments for chocolate. I also consider tawny ports (red) to be some of the best, where any Portuguese or Australian version that has been aged in wood for 10 years or more will do. Feel free to direct any questions or comments to me at deroseline@comcast.net.

• 2003 Alvear Pedro Ximenez $20 (half bottle)
• Gonzalez & Byass Oloroso $20 (half bottle) *
• Lustau San Emilin Pedro Ximenez $20
• Lustau Rare Cream $14 *

Muscat – half bottles
• Bonny Doon Vin de Glaciere $20 *
• Yalumba Museum $17
• Chambers Rutherglen $15
• R.L.Buller & Son $15 *
• Quady Essensia $13

Sparkling Muscat
• Martini and Rossi Asti Spumante $12 *
• Ballatore Gran Spumante $7 *

* indicates available in Montgomery County