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 Fletcher’s Ruby Port (£6.69). 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
Hardys Varietal Range Australian Merlot 2014
£4.75 Sainsbury’s (down from £6.50 until October 27)
Tastes of blackcurrant cordial with a bit of choc. Simple but enjoyable stuff.
Viña Maipo Chilean Shiraz 2014
Creamy cherry and mocha tempered with sharp redcurrant. A wine to cut through the richness of chocolate.
The Siren Fairtrade South African Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Viognier 2015
Pear drops and pineapple aromas followed with flavours of melon and apple. Try with white chocolate buttons.
Castillo Albai Crianza Rioja 2012
Fruity flavours of cherry and blackberry with added milk chocolate and nutmeg for creaminess. Match to choc gateaux.
Château Jouanin 2012, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux
Blackcurrant and damson with sloe and cocoa dryness.
Dalton Kosher Canaan White 2011
This interesting tasting wine was selling at Tesco earlier this month but has since been discontinued. So if you want to try it’s rich flavours of creamy peach and mandarin then go to KosherWineUK.
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© Paula Goddard 2015 www.paulagoddard.com