Wine and Chocolate: A Winning Combo for Valentine’s Day

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As if the thought wasn’t enough, make your loved one swoon even more with a perfect pairing.

The intricate flavors of chocolate and wine linger on your tongue – and often the complex, deep, hidden tastes are subconscious. Make them rise to the surface by mating your chocolate with the perfect wine.

CNN spoke to Sunset wine editor Sara Schneider to figure out what will make the flavors of both sweet treats pop out. We’ll start off with the obvious: dark chocolate goes best with red wine. But beware of pairing the delectable dark chocolate with spicy, acidic wines like Cabernet Sauvignon. The bold tannins that give the wine a dry, puckery feeling can be too harsh against the bitter chocolate.

(More on TIME.com: See 50 wines from 50 states.)

Instead, Schneider recommends a Merlot, which has a softer, fruitier flavor. “The chocolate shouldn’t be sweeter than the wine,” she says. It’s all about flavor matching. If you can’t pick out the tastes on your tongue, the labels of both the wine and the chocolate can often point you (and your palate) in the right direction.

Here are some more heavenly matches:

Bittersweet Chocolate paired with Shiraz

  • The bitter and earthy chocolate will find its mate with a slightly fruity yet spicy Shiraz.

White Chocolate paired with Riesling

  • The citrus notes in the wine will balance out the super sweet, milk-and-honey taste of the chocolate.

Milk Chocolate paired with Muscat

  • The sweet and rich chocolate will need an equally sweet wine, or you’ll risk that pucker from the wine. Try a Port or a Muscat, dessert wines with sweetness but still bold enough to drink anytime.

Mint Chocolate paired with Cabernet Sauvignon

  • Bring out the slightly sour mint complexion with the spice and richness of a Cab.

Fruity Chocolate paired with Ice Wine

  • A syrupy sweet dessert wine like Ice Wine will complement the fruity pieces bursting inside the chocolate.

(More on TIME.com: See the best of Valentine’s Day.)

But truly, whatever combo you choose will go down with sweetness. After all, wine and chocolate are a dangerous — but delicious — duo.

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