Our Clif Family Napa Valley Chocolate Bars were created by Chef John McConnell and Winemaker Laura Barrett, with a glass of wine in hand, tasting for the perfect pairing of cacao and flavor inclusions to complement specific wine varietals like Sauvignon Blanc, Grenache, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.
We asked Laura and John about their tips for how to find the best wine and chocolate pairings. We discovered that there are a lot of considerations including the flavor, weight, acidity and length of the wine and how these variables complement the sweetness, intensity and texture of the chocolate.
Host your own wine and chocolate pairing party at home with these pairing tips. Grab a few bottles of your favorite wine varietals and some chocolate bars and pair away!
- Bring Variety to the Table
Make it fun by asking your guests to each bring a bottle of wine and their favorite chocolate bar. Put them all out on the table and let the fun begin.
- Work Your Way Up
Start with the lightest chocolates like white or milk and move your way up to the higher cacao percentage dark chocolates. This will keep your palate from fatiguing and will allow you to experience the subtler flavors of lighter chocolates.
- Let the Tasting Begin
Taste the wine and chocolate individually first. Take another piece of the chocolate and let it melt in your mouth. While the chocolate is still lightly coating your palate, take a sip of the wine. Stop to think about how the two complement each other and take note of your favorites.
If you decide to host your pairing party with Clif Family wines and chocolates, here are our favorite pairings:
White Chocolate Lemon & Ginger + Sauvignon Blanc
The mouth-coating rich white chocolate is balanced with bursts of bright citrus and spicy ginger that work in tandem to balance the refreshing acidity of Sauvignon Blanc.
Milk Chocolate Cacao Nibs & Sea Salt + Grenache
The creaminess of the milk chocolate and toasty notes of the cacao nibs pair well with a wine that has subtle tannins and gentle acidity. A Grenache or any lighter style red wine will pair beautifully.
Dark Chocolate Smoked Spanish Pimenton Almonds + Zinfandel
The savory spices and subtle smoky flavor of the Pimenton almonds pairs with the earthy spice notes and bold fruit character of a Zinfandel wine.
Dark Chocolate Cabernet Sea Salt + Cabernet Sauvignon
Hand harvested sea salt infused with Cabernet Sauvignon and integrated into a 65% dark chocolate is a classic pairing with a Cabernet Sauvignon wine.
Dark Chocolate Espresso + Cabernet Sauvignon
Coffee and dark chocolate have a complexity of flavor that when combined create the perfect balance to pair with Cabernet Sauvignon.