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Chocolate tasting wine for your Valentine

chocolate squaresThis Valentine’s Day rather than the usual box of chocs and bottle of wine, why not present your loved one with a bottle of wine that tastes of chocolate? To find those cocoa nuances you’ll need a full-bodied red from the warmer parts of Europe, South America or California.

red grapesWarm climates means grapes ripened to their peak of natural sweetness – and also acidity. Because ripe grapes don’t just contain sugar they also contain tartaric acid (which turns into ‘wine’ flavour after fermentation), malic acid (also found in apples and stops wine tasting like cardboard) and some citric acid (gives that lemon edge in white wines).

Because both sugar and acids are necessary to turn grape juice into fruit and chocolate flavours with the addition of yeast.

Da Luca redAnd it’s the red grape varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Shiraz (also seen on the label spelt as Syrah) and Zinfandel that taste particularly chocolatey.

Add in a posh looking bottle (fancy label, gold or black foil trim) and you should be ready for Valentine’s Day.

But don’t, whatever you do, forget to say ‘I love you’ as you hand it over because otherwise you won’t get to share in all those chocolate flavours.

PG Valentine Wine Tips

£5.99 and under

There are a few fruity, slurpable wines among the forgettable masses.

Spar Italian Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

£5.79 Spar

More cocoa than chocolate squares with added sloe, bullace and burnt toast flavours.

Costs a bit more, but tastes great

Sometimes a bottle of wine tastes so fab it's still a bargain whatever it costs.

Chateau David 2010 Bordeaux Superieur

£6.49 Sainsbury’s

This bottle has almost everything a Valentine would look for: traditional looking label, French origins and a very tasty and complex wine. Chocolate, toast, toffee, bitter coffee, black cherry and blackcurrant flavours. Great value too.

Turning Leaf Californian Zinfandel

£7.46 Asda

Simple sweet chocolate and blackberry jam flavours.

Co-op Premium Argentinean Malbec

£7.99 Co-op

This wine made it into the Top Ten Reds of 2011 and the way its going it’ll be in the 2012 too. Because its flavours of cherry choc truffles coated in chocolate sprinkles just make you want to say cor.

Errazuriz Chilean Merlot Reserve

£8.99 Sainsbury’s

Another red from the Top Ten list with flavours of blackcurrant, damson jam, cocoa and mint. Cor blimey.

Finca Constancia Spanish Vino de la Tierra de Castilla

£9.99 Ocado

If you take your chocolate in the form of bourbon biscuit then this is the posh wine for you: bourbon biscuit flavours plus cream, strawberry, redcurrant and blackcurrant.

This article has also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on MatureTimes.co.uk

Find more Valentine and chocolate articles at Schmoozing with booze; Wine for chocolate cake; Job Alert: Chocolate taster required