Wine & Chocolate Pairing in the Yakima Valley
February 11, 2011 by Doug Haugen
Our friends over at Wine Yakima Valley have put their heads together with their combined expertise, and assembled some great tips for pairing wine with chocolate.
- When pairing wine and chocolate, it is preferable to taste them individually first. Taste the chocolate again, letting it melt on your tongue, and then take a sip of wine to combine their flavors and textures. Chocolate will not melt at room temperature, so it is difficult to properly taste the chocolate if you already have a mouthful of wine.
- For an ideal pairing, avoid wines and chocolates that are overly tannic in nature; otherwise, the tannins will compete with each other, resulting in a muddled and flat combination.
- When drinking buttery or sweet whites, salted milk chocolate provides a stunning contrast. This may come in the form of something like a salted caramel confection with milk chocolate or a dark milk chocolate bar with salt throughout.
- Wines with savory notes, such as smoke, wood or meaty qualities, are outstanding when paired with chocolate with a smooth texture and similar savory notes, such as leather, cheese or smoke.
- When drinking full-bodied wines with bold flavors, a chocolate that is hearty and rustic in texture with a similarly pronounced flavor works best.
- Wines or chocolate with similarly distinct notes, such as black pepper, can be mutually enhanced when paired together.
- If you’re struggling with pairing a wine with chocolate, selecting a chocolate that contains berries, dried fruit or nuts can quickly and easily make the pairing more successful.
For examples of Yakima Valley wine and chocolate pairings visit Wine Yakima Valley.
Or, if you’d rather try this out yourself, you might try picking up a Premier Pass for the Red Wine & Chocolate event. Visitors to the Yakima Valley can purchase a “Premier Pass” for $30 in advance or $35 at the door. The Pass entitles guests to exclusive wine and chocolate pairings, guided cellar tours, library tastings and other activities not available to the general public at certain wineries. As a “Premier Pass holder” you are entitled to the following benefits during Red Wine & Chocolate. The wineries are listed as a basic “itinerary” going from the west side of the Valley to the east side. If you are traveling east to west, simply start at the bottom and move toward the top. Passes purchased prior to February 8, will be shipped to the buyer. Passes purchased after February 8, will be available at three separate will call locations throughout the valley. On-line Premier Pass sales will be discontinued February 13, 2011.
For more information and to purchase Premier Passes, visit Wine Yakima Valley’s website at www.wineyakimavalley.org.