Chocolate wine is the perfect combination of two popular treats, wine and chocolate. It combines the sweetness of chocolate with the smoky, fruit-forward flavor of traditional red and white varieties. This unique dessert wine has become increasingly popular over the past few years as a delicious indulgence to finish off a meal or as an after-dinner treat.

The most common type both to make and buy is red wine with chocolate; however, some brands offer white chocolate versions too. Generally, chocolate wines are crafted using red grape varietals blended with what’s known as ‘chocolate essence’—a die-hard mixture derived from premium dark chocolate and creamy cocoa butter. This ingredient not only embellishes the vino with an unmistakable chocolate aroma, but layers in residual sweetness, too.

On top of this, various winemakers often include different spices like cinnamon to further enhance their recipes. As a result, chocolate wines finish off with a hint of spiciness rather than typical grapes’ fruity aftertaste.

Chocolate wines have an intense texture and aroma both reminiscent of the candy that inspired it. The taste is overwhelmingly sweet but the flavors are still balanced by the tannins in the wine itself. The natural sugars wax and wane between tart and creamy depending on the brand. Unlike other dessert wines like port, this one never gets cloyingly heavy or syrupy so you’ll be able to savor every drop without feeling overly satiated.

But WHY?!?

People drink chocolate wine for a number of reasons. Perhaps the biggest reason being its delightful flavor which takes any meal from bland to memorable. It can elevate even the simplest home cooked meals, giving them a touch of grandeur with minimal effort.

Not only is it fun and different, it’s also quite versatile; serving just as well as a slow sipped cordial as it would paired with some extra-special dessert recipes such as tiramisu or molten chocolate cake.

When served or made at home, chocolate wine should always be chilled though not necessarily iced; cooler temperatures work best in bringing out the complex aromas and flavors that make this beverage so good.

As enjoyable as they are palatable, there are dozens different types of chocolate wines available on the market today. From dry reds to sweet port-style bottles, each variety features its own complex flavor profile—hence why it’s important to sample what’s around before buying any in bulk.

Whether fruitcaked, dark-chocolate, light-bodied or somewhere in between, chocolate wine is truly something special that should definitely be added to your foodie bucket list.