Chocolate cakes come in many guises – dark chocolate sponges, white chocolate chip muffins and high-cocoa content cake topped with melted Mars Bars. But come the final cake count there will be two important questions to answer: “Which cake to slice first?”, and “What wine will match all that chocolate?”.
That’s a difficult one. Wine isn’t a natural match to chocolate sponge and icing. Their mouth-coating intenseness can overwhelm many wines. Once the tongue has tasted anything really sweet it’s difficult for it to identify subtler fruity flavours, like those found in wine. And should you prefer your cakes made from high cocoa-content dark chocolate then finding a suitable match will be all the harder – choose unwisely and both wine and cake will clash leaving behind an unpleasant metallic taste.
But there are wines that elevate both food and drink to the next level of taste experience.
Dark chocolate cakes and gateaux harmonise wonderfully with wines made with the Cabernet Sauvignon grape and port. If buying both port and wine seems excessive then try Aldi’s 10 year-old Maynard’s Tawny Port (£9.99). This port smells and tastes like a Cabernet Sauvignon with a dash of brown sugar.
Milk chocolate topped sponges reduce the acidity of oaked whites making the resulting blend taste smooth and yoghurty.
Jam and liqueur fruit fillings need matching with equally rich wines: try Sherry, Marsala and Madeira. With higher alcohol content than normal, these Mediterranean wines taste naturally sweet and so your palate will taste both wine and fruit-filled chocolate cake equally well.
PG Wine Reviews
SPAR CS French Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Plum, raspberry and blackcurrant flavours. A bit on the sharp side but a good foil to rich cake.
Root:1 Chilean Sauvignon Blanc 2017
A nice fruity white that tastes of tinned pears, apples and apricots.
Lunetta Italian Prosecco Brut
£8.99 N.D John Wine Merchants
Flavours of apple and honey.
Castrum Douro 2015, Portugal
Cherry, coffee and slightly smoky – a nice match to chocolate cake.
Brown Brothers Limited Release Banksdale Chardonnay 2014
£13.99 Mitchells Wines
A rather old-fashioned oaky flavoured Chardonnay with apple and apricot flavours. A bit expensive for what it is.