Chocolate sponge, chocolate chip muffins, Mars Bar cake - but what wine?

gooey cakeChocolate cakes come in many guises – dark chocolate sponges, white chocolate chip muffins and high-cocoa content cake topped with melted Mars Bars. But come the final cake count there will be two important questions to answer: “Which cake to slice first?”, and “What wine will match all that chocolate?”.

Piccini Memoro BiancoThat's a difficult one. Wine isn't a natural match to chocolate sponge and icing. Their mouth-coating intenseness can overwhelm many wines. Once the tongue has tasted anything really sweet it's difficult for it to identify subtler fruity flavours, like those found in wine.

And should you prefer your cakes made from high cocoa-content dark chocolate then finding a suitable match will be all the harder – choose unwisely and both wine and cake will clash leaving behind an unpleasant metallic taste.

But there are wines that elevate both food and drink to the next level of taste experience.

Dark chocolate cakes and gateaux harmonise wonderfully with wines made with the Cabernet Sauvignon grape and port. If buying both port and wine seems excessive then try Aldi’s Fletcher’s Ruby Port (£5.99). This port smells and tastes like a cabernet sauvignon with a dash of brown sugar.

Milk chocolate topped sponges reduce the acidity of oaked whites making the resulting blend taste smooth and yoghurty.

Jam and liqueur fruit fillings need matching with equally rich wines: try Sherry, Marsala and Madeira. With higher alcohol content than normal, these Mediterranean wines taste naturally sweet and so your palate will taste both wine and fruit-filled chocolate cake equally well.

PG Wine Tips

£5.99 and under

There are a few fruity, slurpable wines among the forgettable masses.

Vina Albali wineboxVina Albali Spanish Tempranillo 2010 2.25-litre box (equivalent to 3 bottles)

£12.50 (equivalent to £4.16/bottle) Bargain Booze

Light strawberry flavours initially then followed by some heavier tannic plum nuances. Match to Malteser-topped cake.

Piccini Memoro Italian Bianco

£5 (introductory offer price until January 31) Tesco

Bargain of the Week. Don’t serve this complex white too cold otherwise you’ll lose the touch of peach on top of the lemon and thyme flavours. Enjoy with white chocolate.

Costs a bit more, but tastes great

Sometimes a bottle of wine tastes so fab it's still a bargain whatever it costs.

Errazuriz Chilean Carmenere

£8.74 (buy 2+ bottles for £6.99) Majestic

Cherry and milk chocolate aromas with a touch of back bacon. Followed by flavours of cherry choc liqueur with just enough of a sharp edge to stop the whole thing becoming too rich.

Beronia TempranilloBeronia Spanish Tempranillo 2010 Elaboracion Especial

£11.99 Ocado

Intense aromas of chocolate gateaux and smoky almond. The warming flavours of cherry, strawberry and blackcurrant are finished off with a sprinkling of black pepper.

Wirra Wirra Australian Church Block Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz Merlot (half bottle)

£6.90 halfwine.com (equivalent to £13.80/75cl bottle)

A very acceptable red with juicy blackcurrant and blackberry flavours with a yoghurt edge.

Clos de la Cure French Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2006 (half bottle)

£8.15 halfwine.com (equivalent to £16.30/75cl bottle)

Interesting floral aromas of lavender, or possibly violets, with a smoky edge. Add on to this flavours of rich blackcurrant and raspberry acidity and this lightens into a medium-bodied wine. Expensive but good.

This article has also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on MatureTimes.co.uk