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Feb 27, 2007 09:31 AM

Port Rec

I'm looking for a nice port to pair with a chocolate cake.

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  1. First choice would be an LBV in your price range. I'm, personally, not a fan of having Vintage Port with food, except for some cheese and nuts, after dessert. With food, I'll usually grab a Tawny, but with the chocolate, I can't quite get my palate around that profile with any Tawny, that I know.

    Another option might be to do a domestic (US) Zin port-style wine with the chocolate, or some Young's Double Chocolate ale - but you did ask for a Port.


    1. I'm one of those who doesn't really think Porto goes well with chocolate.

      My first choice would be a Banyuls, followed by a California Zinfandel made in a port-like style, followed by an Australian Tawny. All can be found for under $20.

      1 Reply
      1. re: zin1953

        I am basically with you on this one. The reason that I had mentioned the LBV (should have specified "new-style" over some of the traditionals), is that the astringincy, that I find in many LBV's is likely to cut through the fat in the chocolate. Still, Port is NOT my first choice. If it were my menu, I'd drizzle some raspberry compote around and do an older US Merlot. I still have a half-case of the Beringers Howell Mtn. Bancroft Ranch '89 (yeah, that horrible '89 vintage from Napa), that is still holding up wonderfully and loves both raspberry AND chocolate - just not too much "milk."

        I need to refresh my palate on Banyuls. I've got a smathering of mixed producers and vintages in the cellar, but hardly ever reach for it. I'll do some comparisons, and see what I'm missing.


      2. It might not be to your taste...but how about a Sherry with chocolate?

        I agree that ports and chocolate don't necesarily go together, although if I were to pick one port, it would be a Reserve blend (ie. Dow's 'Christmas Port' Reserve this last winter was a fantastic pairing with chocolate!).

        3 Replies
        1. re: Tboy

          Is the "Christmas Port," a branded Ruby, or Tawny? I am very familiar with most of Dow's portfolio, but you've got me on this one.


          1. re: Bill Hunt

            Bill -- Dow's "Christmas Porto" was brought out (big surprise) at Christmas, and didn't do very well. As near as I could tell, it's a VC Porto -- something akin to their "Midnight" bottling. Regular Dow's bottle with a bright red label . . .

            1. re: zin1953

              Thanks. With all of the branded Ports circulating, it's difficult to keep track of them, especially in AZ, which is NOT a bastion of Port, though with our recent temps, Port is definitely in "style."


        2. Since chocolate cake usually delivers a less intense chocolate experience than other dessert, you have a little more leeway than you would with, say, chocolate mousse. If you want to go the port route, a tawny would be your best bet. Banuyls, Maury or Riversaltes, especially older, slightly oxidized wines (analogous to tawnies), would also work; in fact, they'd be my first choice.

          1. The best port to pair with a great chocolate cake is... not a port at all....

            try Muscat d/BeaumeVenise :)

            1 Reply
            1. re: Chicago Mike

              Muscat de Beaume de Venise is another good recommendation, though I would be careful about *which* one I would choose. Personally, I would want something with a bit more weight than, for example, Domaine Durban -- probably something like Domaine des Bernardins . . . or maybe even a Muscat de Riversaltes instead.