Champagne and chocolate may be the most quintessential Valentine’s Day pairing, but they are not always a match made in heaven. Pair the wrong chocolate with the wrong bubbly and your date will quickly go from sweet to sour. Follow these pairing tips for chocolate with champagne to create Valentine’s Day success.

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Sweetness is one of the most important factors to consider when pairing sparkling wine with chocolate. As a rule of thumb, you want to look for a wine that is sweeter than the chocolate you are pairing it with. Instead of choosing a classic Brut Champagne, opt for something sweeter. 

Look for the words “doux” or “demi-sec” on the label, which indicate that a sparkling wine will be sweet. Also, don’t limit yourself to champagne. The classic French region may be the world’s most popular producer of sparkling wine, but there are several other countries producing world class bubbly. Italy, for instance, produces a large variety of sweet sparkling wines that complement chocolate nicely.

Lambrusco di Sorbara is a fabulous example of a sweet Italian sparkling red wine that pairs beautifully with milk chocolate. Looking for a sparkling white wine instead? Try a sparkling Riesling, Asti Spumante or a demi-sec champagne.

Dark chocolate can be a little trickier to pair with bubbly. Because of its lack of sweetness, you might be tempted to pair it with your go to brut champagne, but this can backfire when paired with a dark chocolate that is too bitter. Aim for a chocolate that is 70% cocoa or less. Look for champagne with a high percentage of Pinot Noir grapes to increase the success of this pairing. 

Champagne with “blanc de noirs” on the label are made exclusively from black grapes, making them a good option for pairing with dark chocolate. You may also want to consider a Brachetto d’Acqui. This wine offers the sweetness needed to balance dark chocolate’s bitter character.

White chocolate and Moscato d’Asti will have your sweetheart swooning. This wine’s delicate qualities enhance the creaminess of the chocolate, making it one of the best wine and chocolate pairings out there. Almond sparkling wines also pair well with white chocolate, offering smooth, nutty flavors that enhance this creamy, fatty chocolate.

Serving a sparkling rosé? Try pairing it with another classic Valentine’s Day dessert—chocolate covered strawberries. The light strawberry flavor of the wine is a perfect match for the fruit. Pick a semi-sweet option that stands up to the sweet chocolate covering to make this pairing even better.

Selecting the right pairing is only the beginning of planning the ideal romantic evening. Make sure to chill your sparkling wine to perfection (about 47 degrees Fahrenheit) by putting it in the refrigerator two hours before serving. Invest in a pair of champagne flutes if you don’t already have a pair at home. Flutes preserve the delicate bubbles in sparkling wine, keeping wine bubbly for longer, and have the added bonus of looking incredibly classy. Top it off with a sharp outfit and you have everything you need for a successful night this Valentine’s Day. Cheers!

Author: Sarah Andrewson is a supervisor at Merkin Vineyards. Merkin Vineyards & Caduceus Cellars make high elevation wines out of predominantly Italian and Spanish varieties from their 110 acres of estate vines in northern and southern Arizona. Owner and Winemaker, MJ Keenan, along with his wife, Jennifer, and Winemaker Tim White, are producing roughly 8,000 cases a year in their tiny underground concrete facility known as The Bunker. Join Merkin Vineyards for a wine tasting, lunch or dinner. For more information, visit