Chocolate actually has very intense flavors—it’s chocolaty, of course, but it’s often simultaneously sweet, bitter, acidic and fruity. That means that a wine, especially a dry table wine as opposed to a sweet dessert wine, needs to be similarly intense if it’s going to pair well with chocolate. A light red or a white wine won’t taste like anything after a bite of a good quality chocolate bar. Instead, look for fruity, intense wines—say, Zinfandels or rich red blends from California, like the juicy 2004 Wild Bunch California Red ($10).
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And when you’re thinking about the chocolate, one recent trend that’s worth following is the explosion of organic and single-origin chocolates. Some of the names to look for are Green & Black’s, Hershey’s Cacao Reserve, Dagoba (also owned by Hershey), Hotel Chocolat, Theo Chocolate, and Newman’s Own.