The most classic pairing in wine’s history as a dessert drink is, of course, dark chocolate with red juice. And while such matches tend to perform rather well with fruity reds and more savory squares, that’s not to say that other vino can’t play nice, too.
How about sparkling wine plus cocoa? That’s exactly the scheme for Winc’s second limited edition collaboration with the colorfully imaginative Los Angeles chocolatier Jonathan Grahm of Compartés. While Compartés’s line of spunky, whimsically flavored bars clearly follows a road less traveled — with flavors like birthday cake, hazelnut toast, and even kale (!)— so too does its packaging, as bars often come dressed in neon psychedelic designs that speak directly to the City of Angels. In the case of his current Winc collaboration, Grahm’s hand drew the bar’s artwork, which features a black backdrop filled with gold squiggles. “Champagne just evokes this luxe feeling to me when you drink it, so I wanted the label artwork and chocolate bar artwork to give off that vibe with the metallic gold and the pattern made of my drawings,” he explains. “It feels very special, which is honestly how I think people should feel when they are drinking the wine or eating the chocolate.”
While the Compartés x Winc’s freshman effort yielded a Santa Barbara, California, sparkling red coupled with Compartés’s signature dark chocolate, salted pretzel–studded bar, this season the teams are switching gears, maintaining the bubbles theme but swapping in white juice beside a salty vanilla dark chocolate bar. Made following the traditional way that bubbly wines are born in France’s Champagne region, Winc’s sparkling white drinks crisp and lively, with a soft sweetness, balanced minerality and curious notes of red berries and honey. Meanwhile, Compartés’s 73% Dark Chocolate Vanilla Salt bar errs on the drier side, and its floral, rich chocolate flavor pops thanks to a moderate dose of flaked vanilla sea salt.
When consumed in tandem, I suggest first taking a small bite of chocolate so as to not overwhelm the wine’s delicate fruit, then following that with a healthy swig of bubbles. While the wine and the chocolate each come to the table with their own cast of fruity flavors and acidity, the wine offers a bit more both in terms of sweetness and acidity, helping to brighten the chocolate’s earthy character while counterbalancing its silky nature. The chocolate’s salt is like the icing on the cake, making the whole combo pop and spring to life in your mouth.