How to Find the Best Chocolate Wine

Perhaps the mixture of chocolate and wine seem strange to you, but we are here to persuade you to think differently. 

There are records showing that chocolate wine has been around since the 1700s, but it only became popular about 12 years ago. At this time, it was introduced to the US and was well received. By the end of 2011, one company sold a massive amount of bottles of chocolate wine. In fact, they sold over a million bottles. 

It’s not as unusual a concept as you might think. After all, many of us indulge in a dessert wine which can be very sweet. We drink it with a dessert which could be as rich as a chocolate torte. We also may drink sweet bubbly wines, and fruity wines like Moscato so why not chocolate wine?

Still, there are sceptics like Alison Shoemaker who writes for an online publication called ‘The Takeout’. She recently wrote an article about chocolate wine, decrying it. She wrote that it was taking sweetness too far, but is she right?

So, what is the truth? In this article, we will give you the pros and cons of chocolate wine and we will give you our top choices.

What Exactly is Chocolate Wine?

Recipes vary, but simply it is a mixture of wine and chocolate. Examples include mixing dry red wine with sweet red wine and then adding chocolate. Red wine can be mixed with sugar and bitter or sweet chocolate. Some recipes use cocoa powder instead of chocolate and others even use milk and eggs. 

A recipe that has been discovered from the 1700s, called for port or sherry instead of ordinary wine, and unsweetened Baker’s chocolate, as well as a little rice flour.

The procedure to make chocolate wine is pretty simple. If you are using two wines, they need to be mixed. Then separately, the chocolate is melted and if you are using milk or eggs, they are combined with the chocolate. The two mixtures are then blended until the mixture is smooth.

Did Ms Shoemaker Have a Point?

If you are looking for a chocolate wine, you should choose the best as it can make a difference in whether you like it or not. Ms Shoemaker only tried a few wines, most of which were from the supermarket chain, Aldi. It was likely that she was trying wine made in bulk and the low price reflected the quality. 

Of course, not everybody will like chocolate wine. If you only like dry wines and won’t touch dessert wines, it is highly likely that you won’t like chocolate wine. However, if you do like dessert wines and thick liqueurs, you will probably like chocolate wine. The only way you will know it’s for you is by trying a glass of chocolate wine.

Is Chocolate Wine a New Fad?

Chocolate wine could be thought of as something relatively new, but it has been around for centuries. In 1723, a man called Jon Not published a recipe for white chocolate wine in a book called ‘The Cooks and Confectioners Dictionary’. During the 18th century, dry red wines and port were combined and to this was added a mixture of bitter chocolate and milk.

It isn’t clear if chocolate wine was popular over the centuries, but it has certainly made a comeback, especially in America, where the people generally have a sweeter palate than those in Europe.

Why Wine and Chocolate?

It’s not that unusual to pair wine with chocolate so why not have them mixed together? These chocolates go well with different wines:

  • White chocolate goes well with Lambrusco, Moscato, Riesling, Ice wines, Cream Sherry, and Port.
  • Milk chocolate goes well with Moscato, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Port, and Madeira.
  • Dark chocolate pairs well with Zinfandel, Shiraz, Syrah, Port, and Sherry.

The best thing to do is to measure the level of boldness or subtlety of the wine to the sweetness of the chocolate. The more bold the wine is, the darker the chocolate should be.

However, it is a little different and perhaps more difficult to choose a chocolate wine to pair with food than it is to pair actual chocolate with wine, 

What Could I Serve with Chocolate Wine then?

What you pair chocolate wine with is up to you. You may be looking for a sweetness kick. If so, serve it with a chocolate dessert. However, perhaps you don’t like too sweet a taste. In this case, serve it with an angel food cake or a victoria sponge which isn’t too heavy. Chocolate wine also goes well with fruit and a cheeseboard. It is also fine as an after-dinner drink. However, as you would expect, it won’t go well with savoury dishes.

What Exactly Does Chocolate Wine Taste Of?

Yes, chocolate wine has a taste of chocolate as you would expect, but there is a hidden depth. It isn’t a total sugar overload. Many chocolate wines taste like fruit from the wine element and chocolate from the chocolate or cocoa element.

How Do I Find the Best Chocolate Wine?

It can be slightly difficult to find the best chocolate wine out there. It is not like ordinary wine for which there is a lot of information just on the back of the bottle or on the internet. However, if you think of what chocolate goes well with different wines may help. We will suggest some more strategies as we go through this article/

Who Makes Chocolate Wine?

There are now many companies that make chocolate wine nowadays and we will give you a list of the ones we think stand out. Look them up on the internet to find out which one appeals to you. The top choices are Trentadue, Copper Vineyards, Red Decadence, Cocoa di Vine, NV Desiree, The Chocolate Cellar, Chocolate Shop, ChocoVine, Confectioner’s Chocolate, and Choco Noir. These all make excellent chocolate wines. Avoid chocolate wine from a budget supermarket as it may be of a low quality. You could be disappointed and be put off chocolate wine for life.

What Kind of Chocolate Should I Look For?

Chocolate wine can be made out of different types of chocolate. You can use hard chocolate which will come in white, milk, and dark chocolate. Some companies will even use bittersweet chocolate. Others may opt for cocoa powder. What you don’t want to buy is chocolate wine made from chocolate syrup. It won’t have enough of a rich flavour which you want in a chocolate wine. A good chocolate wine will say what is in it even if it’s only on the internet.

Here is a list of excellent chocolate sources for making chocolate wine:

  • Baker’s semi-sweet or bitter chocolate: One will appeal to the sweeter palate and the other to those who don’t like a drink being too sweet. This chocolate was used in the original recipe we have mentioned from 1723. The chocolate is a safe bet although the flavour isn’t exceptional. However, it is easy to adjust the sweetness with this chocolate by adding more sugar. What is good about this chocolate being used is that it has both sweet and bitter undertones which can be like red wine. If you go for a chocolate wine made with Baker’s chocolate you can rest assured that the chocolate will pair well with the wine.
  • Cocoa powder: There are two options of cocoa powder that might be used in chocolate wine. The first is regular and the second is Dutch-processed. Regular cocoa powder will be less sweet and will be rich and intense. It is perfect for someone who doesn’t have a very sweet tooth. Dutch-processed cocoa powder gives more of a milk chocolate feel so will be sweeter. Both are a lot better than syrups, although perhaps not as good as chocolate.
  • Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate isn’t to everybody’s taste, but in a chocolate wine it produces a fuller and richer taste than milk chocolate. It is the chocolate preferred in desserts. It gives some sweetness but doesn’t go overboard. Of course, dark chocolate can vary because dark chocolate contains different percentages of cocoa. The higher the percentage, the more bitter it will be. Of course, some manufacturers will add some sugar to the chocolate wine. 

What Kind of Wine is Best With Chocolate Wine?

Some chocolate wines have a light body and others have a full-body, so it is up to you to decide which you prefer. Chocolate wines come in both types. Sometimes a sweet wine is used in a chocolate wine which gives a light body. However, red wine is preferable if you want some depth to your chocolate wine. A full-bodied red wine will give a rich flavour to your chocolate wine. A lighter red wine will be just that. The chocolate wine will be less rich so may pair well with a fruit-based dessert.

Here we have a list of wines that go well with different chocolate flavours:

  • Dark chocolate goes well with a full, fruit-flavoured wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Touriga National. They add rich depth to a chocolate wine.
  • If you like milk chocolate, the wine it pairs best with is a fruity light red wine such as Pinot Noir or Lambrusco.
  • If you are looking for an exceptionally light chocolate wine go for a sparkling wine. These might be a little more difficult to find, but you might appreciate the search if you like a bit of fizz.

What Sort of Finish Do I Want?

Perhaps you’re not sure what finish means. Well, it’s the lasting flavour notes. You always taste a drink after you have sipped it so you want this to be as enjoyable as actually drinking it. With a chocolate wine, you will want a silky and smooth finish. You are more likely to get this if the chocolate component is dark chocolate. With cocoa and milk chocolate, you won’t get as lingering a taste, but if it has been paired with the right food you will still have the taste of the food in your mouth.

What About Flavour Notes?

Usually, when we are buying wine, we look at the back of the bottle to see what the flavours are of the wine. This should also apply if you want to buy chocolate wine. It is important and you may have to look the wine up on the internet to make sure that it suits your palate. 

These are some things we should be looking for:

  • Undertones that add depth, such as vanilla, mocha, or caramel.
  • Dark to light berry notes, depending on which chocolate has been used. You should be looking for blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, or blackberries.
  • Spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or clove.

On the opposite end, avoid any tastes that are earthy or mineral. 

What are Common Add-ins and How Do They Impact the Chocolate Wine?

Add-ins include thickening agents, sugar, milk, and sometimes even eggs. Let’s take a look at the effect of some of them.

  • Milk can make the chocolate wine richer and creamier, but you might not be able to taste the wine particularly well. The same goes for eggs.
  • Extra sugar may be added especially if bitter chocolate has been used to make the wine. If you are looking for a less sweet chocolate wine, the words ‘residual’ and ‘touch of’ will indicate that the sweetness in the wine is subtle. If you want a richer and fuller wine, avoid words such as these. Too much sugar isn’t always the best option. It can make the wine weak in flavour.

What About the Price?

 Chocolate wine won’t break the bank. You will generally find a decent chocolate wine for around ten to twelves pounds. When it comes to chocolate wine, there aren’t that many options so you’re not going to be faced with a big price range. Also, if you are looking for a chocolate wine you won’t be so bothered if it comes from a well-known vineyard or if it has been aged. Chocolate wine is frivolous and fun.

When you are buying a chocolate wine, don’t pay as much attention to the price, but more to the characteristics of the wine. You want to look at the flavour of the wine and see if it is light or full-bodied. In addition, check if it is very sweet or bittersweet. These aspects are more important than the price tag. 

Having said this, it is a good idea to purchase a well-known brand like the companies we mentioned earlier. If you’re not sure about the brand, look it up on the internet before you purchase the bottle.

Is There Anything Else I Need to Know That Would be Helpful for Selecting the Best Chocolate Wine?

Don’t think of chocolate wine as ordinary wine. It is something completely different to what you might drink with dinner. It is for dessert or to be drunk after a meal. You won’t get the complexity of red or white wine, but it is meant to be fun, not serious.

Do You Have Any Recommendations for the Best Chocolate Wines? 

Your preferences may vary as some people will want a full-bodied chocolate wine while others prefer something light. The level of sweetness can be a factor as well. However, we have chosen some chocolate wines that you will hopefully be interested in.

  • Choco Noir; This is a light chocolate wine that is perfect when having a group of friends over. It’s not too rich, complex, or bursting with the flavour of wine. It is popular amongst those who don’t drink a lot of wine but want to have something with a little alcohol in it. It is smooth, soft, and chocolatey. It is produced in California and is popular all over America.
  • ChocoVine Dutch Chocolate and Red Wine: This chocolate wine is soft and approachable. Dutch chocolate is milky so the result will be a light, fun chocolate wine. This wine combines Dutch chocolate with Cabernet Franc, a light red wine that gives you a silky and smooth wine, but without any sharpness of the wine.
  • Chocolate Cellar Chocolate Red: If you are looking for a chocolate wine in which the wine is prominent, then go for this one. It also has more complexity than other chocolate wines. It is more like an ordinary wine, but with a hint of chocolate and sweetness. You will discover dark fruit flavours and deep dark chocolate. You will also get a taste of coffee beans and black cherry. The wine is soft and velvety with a lingering taste of vanilla.
  • Red Decadence Chocolate Wine: This is a medium-bodied red wine that has a bit of depth. You will get tastes of black cherry, blackberries, and plums as well as dark chocolate. 
  • Trentadue Port Chocolate Amore: This wine is chocolatey, smooth, and sweet. The chocolate extract is added to merlot and port wine. The port-wine adds an extra touch of sweetness. The flavours are soft and gentle and you can tell that there is wine as well as chocolate. Neither predominates.
  • Cocoa di Vine: If you’re more interested in the chocolate flavour rather than the wine, this is the chocolate wine to go for. It is silky and rich and has vanilla and caramel undertones.

FAQs About Chocolate Wine

How much alcohol is there in chocolate wine?

Chocolate wine isn’t that far removed from a liqueur and it contains around 12.5% of alcohol, sometimes even as much as 14%. It is more like a dessert wine that has a similar percentage of alcohol. It is, however, thicker than a dessert wine and has a light, creamy taste with touches of vanilla. It quite often has fruity flavours as well which come from the wine component.

How Do I Store Chocolate Wine After Opening? 

If you open a bottle of chocolate wine and don’t drink it in one sitting, you can refrigerate it. If you put a cork in, it will usually keep for 9 – 12 months. If it has dairy or eggs in it, it will only last for a few weeks so check the ingredients in your chocolate wine.

Does Chocolate Wine Get Better with Age?

The simple answer to this is no. Red wine on its own does get better with age, but if it is mixed with chocolate, it doesn’t. Chocolate wine won’t change and in fact, it can’t be kept for as long as standard bottles of wine. It has a quality limit of around two years so is best drunk before this time. It is also best to store it in a dark place and not in bright sunshine before you open it and in the fridge after it has been opened. 

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