Fruity and fortified red wines with lots of cherry and berry flavours, such as Recioto della Valpolicella, Tawny Port, Oloroso Sherry, Marsala, and Bual Madeira, are the best wines to pair with Chocolate Cheesecake. If you are in the mood for an after dinner cocktail, I’d suggest the always elegant Brandy Alexander to pair up with your Chocolate Cheesecake.
You always want your wine to be sweeter than the Cheesecake, otherwise, the sweetness of the dessert will make the wine taste like nothing. Fortunately, Chocolate Cheesecake, while sweet, isn’t overly sweet, so you have a lot of options.
Recioto della Valpolicella & Chocolate Cheesecake Pairing
Recioto della Valpolicella is a full-bodied Italian red wine that is soft, sweet and rich in flavour. Velvety notes of raisin, dark cherry, spice, cocoa and vanilla all complement the chocolaty flavours of chocolate cheesecake. The velvety and rich texture of this dessert wine is also divine with the round flavours of this luxurious dessert.
Recioto is Italian for ‘ear’ and refers to the grapes at the top of the bunch that have ripened the most. Similar to Valpolicella, the wine is made in a Passito style and uses the Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes. In this instance, however, the wine is fermented to about 14% alcohol, leaving behind enough residual sugar to be sweet. Recioto della Valpolicella is not long-lived is best drank before five years as the wine can oxidize.
If your bottle is labelled Recioto Amarone di Valpolicella, this is the dry version, and lacks residual sugar to make it sweet.
Tawny Port & Chocolate Cheesecake Pairing
Tawny Port is a fortified wine, meaning brandy has been introduced during the fermentation process to give Tawny Port its sweet to semi-sweet character, along with its nutty, raisin, and toffee flavours. The wine is then aged for at least seven years, allowing deeper flavours of caramel, vanilla, brown sugar, cherry, black cherries and walnuts to develop. Tawny Port is a knockout with Chocolate Cheesecake because of its rich flavours and sweet profile, where all of the wine’s flavours and aromas merge wonderfully with the chocolaty texture of the cake.
Oloroso Sherry & Chocolate Cheesecake Pairing
Oloroso Sherry is a dry to medium-dry Sherry with nutty flavours and dark fruit undertones that complement Chocolate Cheesecake well. With Oloroso Sherry, expect silky flavours of burnt sugar, caramel, chocolate, dates, figs, raisins, walnuts, almonds, vanilla, and molasses, all of which are amazing with the bittersweet flavours of your Chocolate Cheesecake. I particularly love how the vanilla, caramel and brown sugar flavours of Oloroso Sherry complement the graham cracker crust of Chocolate Cheesecake.
Bual Madeira & Chocolate Cheesecake Pairing
Madeira is exclusively made on the island of Madeira, a region of Portugal somewhere between Morocco and Portugal. For single-varietal Madeira, you’ll find four styles that range from dry to sweet, which are Sercial, Verdelho, Bual (or Boal), and Malmsey. Bual Madeira is where Madeira starts getting sweet, and Malmsey Madeira is the sweetest version of Madeira.
Out of all the styles, Bual Madeira makes the best pair with Chocolate Cheesecake that isn’t overly sweet. If your Cheesecake is more sugar than sweet, step up to Malmsey Madeira. If your Chocolate Cheesecake is topped with a sweet strawberry or raspberry sauce, Malmsey should also be considered.
With Bual Madeira, expect silky flavours of caramel, cacao, dates, toffee, vanilla and raisin, followed up by a walnut finish. All of these fillings go amazing with the chocolate flavours of your Cheesecake, along with the crust. For me, a buttery crust is the most important part of the Cheesecake, and you’ll find the nutty and caramel flavours make the crust taste even more delicious.
Merlot & Chocolate Cheesecake Pairing
I’m only giving it three out of five stars since any Merlot will not suffice in this situation. If you have the right Merlot, though, this will be a 4 out of 5 or above. If you’re not familiar with Merlot, ask for a velvety Merlot with chocolate and cherry flavours. You’ll also want a Merlot with low tannins and acidity. A moderate quantity of tannin is OK, and the proteins in the cheese will help to smooth out the tannins, making your Merlot even silkier.
You’ll also want a Chocolate Cheesecake that is on the sweeter side. If the chocolate is too bitter, the Cheesecake will make the Merlot taste bitter as well as the chocolate tannin and the wine’s tannin will double up on you.
This match is perfect if you have the correct sort of Merlot, as the wine’s deep dark cherry notes complement the Cheesecake’s chocolate flavours. Meanwhile, when combined with the bittersweet flavours of the chocolate cheesecake, Merlot’s chocolaty flavours are much more obvious, making for a beautiful combination.