Wine and chocolate is a mysterious pairing that seems to have hugely different results for different palates. Which, of course, is fine since the only match that is good is the one that works for you. But it does make offering pairing recommendations a bit more difficult than it ought to be!

There is one standby that works wonders with most chocolate: the sweet red wine Recioto della Valpolicella. This wonderful wine seems to have the elusive balance of fruit, sugar, acidity and tannin that makes it chocolate’s perfect partner. Similar to Recioto is Port — in particular, the fruity style of port referred to as Ruby Port, which accounts for most of the port wines that we see.

So, what is it about chocolate that makes it so hard to pair?

Well, for starters there’s all that sugar and sugar generally requires sugar to achieve a balanced food and wine pairing. In addition, sugar can highlight the acid of a particularly high-acid wine, while at the same time it can make a low-acid wine seem remarkably dull and flat. The best chocolate is also a must with good wine, your dairy milk will do for your cup of tea but treat yourself to a bitter sweet rich dark chocolate when combining with wine.