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I experimented with adding wine and dark chocolate to a sauce. The result was generally OK, but the wine was not strong enough in comparison to the chocolate, I would have liked more of its taste to come through.

I knew that I will need a strong, assertive flavor for this combination, so I got a bottle of dry Cabernet Sauvignon, the label called it "spicy" and recommended it for dark sauces and beef dishes. But when I tried the wine, it turned out to be OK in taste, but too light for this application. I would have liked more bitterness and earthy notes, less fresh/sour taste.

What could have helped me find such a wine? Which grape variety (or region, for wines sold by region) would have been a better choice? Are there other signs which would have indicated such a taste? For example, I know that a Gran Reserva wine is supposed to have a better, smoother taste due to better production, but would it also have predicted a wine with a heavier taste? Would barrel-aged wine have had that taste?

If possible, I would like to hear about European wines, because I pay less for an European wine than for the same quality imported wine. But if you have continent-independent advice or can only name wines from other continents, that's still OK, there are lots of imports here.

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NB Gran Reservas are all barrel-aged for at least two years (and I think some DOs raise that lower limit), so the answer for barrel-aged wine should be relevant for GRs too. – Peter Taylor Feb 14 '12 at 11:49
Just thinking out loud, but when you buy chocolates which contain alcohol, they're often various sorts of eau-de-vie. – Benjol Feb 15 '12 at 10:43
Are retsinas and vermouths off topic for you? – rackandboneman Nov 6 '15 at 21:03

I haven't cooked chocolate with regular wine per se, but my instinct is that to get the right marriage of flavour you really might need to consider alternative approaches with both a higher sugar and alcohol content: dark chocolate is a very powerful flavour that will obliterate most wine.

So I would try using something else wine-related but with a considerable higher sugar and alcohol content: Port and chocolate certainly can complement each other well - I would recommend a tawny port (I have used this combination as a sauce for a savoury dish). You might try sherry too, but this is slightly riskier territory in my opinion.

A further alternative depending on the dish you are cooking would be to pursue your current course add a third component that will help with the overall flavour structure, typically something bittersweet and with fruit, such as redcurrant jelly.

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A very good choice would be the Amarone. It's an Italian wine from Veneto (north-east of Italy). Its flavour is quite bitter (actually, the italian word "amaro" means "bitter". We could translate "amarone" to something like "big bitter"). Its typical alcohol content is between 14% (it's the legal minimum, actually) up to 16% in some cases. A good match is to taste it with chocolate (extra dark would be preferred), so I think it should be suitable for your sauce.

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There is an Italian wine: Rocca Delle Macie Sasyr Sangiovese And Syrah Blend which is available here in the U.S., I don't 'know' if it is available in Germany. This 'SaSyr' presents an excellent complement to chocolate as a pairing or a blend. I have tried it with Hot Chocolate, but never in a sauce.

Also, I will 'second' @Carbon Crank's suggestion regarding port. Here is a completely decadent recipe for port and chocolate.

(I tried to find you a link for this, but every site that came up was U.S. based, my guess is you can google the name and local sites featuring this wine will come up.)

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I prefer red wine when cooking with chocolates. Normally I would use Mitolo 2010 Jester Shiraz, it works well with milk chocolate because of the richness of the ripe fruit.

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Things you post on the Internet stay around for a lot longer than you might expect. In 5 years time, I presume you wouldn't still be using a 2010 vintage. Would any three-year-old Australian Shiraz do equally well? – Peter Taylor May 10 '13 at 11:50

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