Pairing Chocolate and Zinfandel

Fruity & Peppery

Zinfandel is typically grown in California as well as Southern Italy, usually used to produce deep, dark rich red wines. Although Zinfandel is a versatile grape, and is known to product a few other styles of wine, ranging from late harvest dessert wines, rosés (White Zinfandel) and Beaujolais-style light reds to big hearty reds and even fortified wine in the style of port. American Zinfandel wine quality largely depends on the location, climate and age of the vineyard, as well the techniques used by the winemaker. Zinfandel “old vines” are particularly prized as well.

In an “ideal Zinfandel,” you’ll find a slight hint of Eucalyptus on the nose with cherry, cinnamon, currant, and spice. On the palate you’ll find cherry, blueberry, vanilla and perhaps some jerky. This wine pairs well with simple foods like burgers, pizza, Mexican or Thai foods, sweet barbecue sauces, sausages, turkey tomatoes and stinky cheeses; and let’s not forget the optimal pairing of dark, semisweet chocolate preferably with a rich taste and rounded overall complexity, as well as “spicy” chocolate inclusions. Chocolate with nibs pairs nicely as well; you may notice a “peppery” nib in the pairing, when in fact it is the wine presenting that peppery aroma complimenting the crunchy nib.

Shop our suggested selections below, with a four-piece pre-made selection, as well as a "build your own tasting flight" option to host your own chocolate and wine pairing. Please keep in mind, all pairings are subjective person-to-person, and these are mere suggestions to help get you started to find your favorite pairings. We also have posted a wine aroma wheel so your guests can use it as a guideline to discuss what flavor notes/aromas they are noticing with each pairing. Want to share your initial thoughts or your favorite pairings? Let us know here!

Download WWC's Wine & Chocolate pairing notes template for hosting your own tasting party

View an Example of our Tasting Sheet (Post Pairing)

Download a Wine Aroma Flavor Wheel

Build-Your-Own Zinfandel & Chocolate Pairing Selection

Mix-and-Match our chocolate bar suggestions to build your own pairing flight.

How To Host a Pairing Party

The Art of Tasting

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