Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, so wine and chocolates are getting their annual moment in the spotlight (as if they need it, right?). When you are looking for that special romantic combination, like many of us, you may not have any idea where to start, so we asked a sommelier what the best pairings are for sweet treats on February 14.
Andy Narusewicz is a sommelier and curator and educator for the Leesburg Gourmet, a wine and gourmet specialty shop that is opening in Leesburg, Virginia next month. The store is what Narusewicz calls “an empire of all things delightfully posh: wine education, individually sourced boutique wines, fresh baked goods from a chef trained in Paris and London, infused oils and high-end chocolates.” Who could be better to guide you through your Valentine’s choices?
Pairing wine and chocolate, although it’s an age-old question, says Narusewicz, it’s actually quite difficult because “chocolate tends to be quite tannic (aka bitter), just like red wines!”
For milk chocolate: Ruby port, Banyuls, Brachetto d’Acqui
For dark chocolate: Vin Santo, Ruby or LBV Port, and Pedro Ximinez sherry
For white chocolate: a (nice) Moscato d’Asti, Canadian Ice Wine, and, if you want to push the limits, a Cru Beaujolais that is chilled to about 50 degrees.
When satisfying your sweet tooth, there are certain wines you may want to add to your repertoire. Narusewicz encourages enthusiasts to try more fortified wines. Fortified wines is a wine that has a distilled spirit, most often brandy, added to it. These include sherry, port, madeira and vermouth, among others.
If you are looking for some interesting pairings with these wines Narusewicz advises some combinations that are sure to please your valentine. There are desserts and wines that can be combined for the perfect combination you may not have thought of: “Try a nice 10-year Bual Madeira with toasted Hazelnut crumble on vanilla ice cream or a nice spread of Manchego and macadamia nuts with a Palo Cortado Sherry!”
Don’t Forget the Bubbly
Another observation Narusewicz made, “Americans don’t drink enough champagne.” Drink more champagne? Now that’s a piece of advice we can get behind.