While its rumored that the gods (Zeus in particular) devoured chocolate and wine every hour, on the hour, I've never been a huge fan of the combo. In fact, it wasn't until recently that I relatively enjoyed the two in the same bite. The countless other times I tried them as one, the acid was off, the chocolate was too sweet for the wine, or the wine was too full of itself to submit to the chocolate.
Then I had a Madiran and chocolate together. Mainly Tannat based, the Madiran had the stuff to lull the chocolate into submission. Dark and creamy, the chocolate was a sucker for the wine. Fierce and strong-headed, the tannic wine coated the chocolate from the harsh outside world (my tongue).
Since then, I've had a few other wines that I've liked with chocolate. The other was a big Cahors, also from Southwest France, but Malbec, instead of Tannat based. For the life of me, I can't remember the other one, but I know that it was not a California Cab or Merlot, like what so many suggest is the best pairing with cocoa.
So in preparation of my weekly post on my wine and food pairing blog, my question is, what are the best chocolate pairings that you've had? The worst? And please, don't just give me pairing suggestions that you've heard tastes good. I want to hear what you've liked and what made you want to throw the chocolate out of the window (but close to the house still so that you can claim it and eat it after your fit).
I'm asking because most of my wine and chocolate consuming pairing attempts have been failures, and with chocolate, I want happy conquests.
Kirstin Jackson Ellis works as a wine bar manager and wine and food consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area and writes about wine and food pairing at Vin de La Table, her luxurious and lighthearted blog.