Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D
1. The Power Couple
They might seem like the ideal Valentine's Day couple, but wine and chocolate don't always click: A sweet bite of one can make a sip of the other taste bitter, and tannins in wine can drown out chocolate's nuances. With a little know-how, though, you can create a more perfect union, says Ted Allen, host of the Food Network's Chopped. Here, we asked Allen to play matchmaker.
Above: Inniskillin Vidal Icewine ($55) + Garrison Confections Stone Fruit Crumble Truffle ($12 for an assortment of six)
"A fruit-based chocolate makes a good match with a dessert wine. These truffles' pear, peach, and apricot flavors—with graham cracker crumble and enrobed in dark chocolate—enhance the wine's stone fruit and honey aromas."
2. Hogue Riesling ($9) + Max Brenner Yin and Yang Favorites (pralines coated in white chocolate, $13)
"Since it's sweeter than dark or milk chocolate and tastes of honey and vanilla, white chocolate balances the tartness of the Riesling's tangerine notes."
3. Robert Mondavi Private Selection Meritage ($9) + Ghirardelli's 60% Intense Dark Chocolate Squares ($3.50 for 12)
"This Bordeaux blend is high in acidity, so it needs a robust chocolate with high cacao content to stand up to the wine's dryness and bring out its berry flavors."
4. Piper-Heidsieck Brut Rosé Sauvage ($50) + Godiva Truffle ($16.50 for eight-piece assortment)
"A rosé Champagne gets its color from crushed black grape skins, which add a bit of sharp tannin to the bubbly. These truffles are rich and decadent enough to equalize those acids."
5. Estancia Pinot Noir ($16) + Brix Medium Dark Chocolate ($39 for three 8-ounce bars)
"Brix crafts chocolate specifically to pair with wine. The medium-dark bar is the most versatile, complementing anything from a medium-bodied Merlot to a deep Pinot like Estancia's, which is full of blueberry and cherry notes."
6. Ruffino Chianti Classico, Riserva Ducale ($24) + Vosges Rooster Truffle ($37)
"The Vosges blend of Taleggio cheese, walnuts, Tahitian vanilla, and bittersweet dark chocolate is absolutely out of this world. The dark, full-bodied flavors in the Chianti play off the Taleggio, which is strong in aroma but mild and fruity on the tongue." Fifteen Terrific Wines $15 and Under