Q. I recently started drinking Cabernet Sauvignon. I noticed that "chocolate" often appears on wine labels, as in, "delivers the flavor of chocolate." I have an allergy to chocolate and anything to do with caffeine. Is it common for red wines to include these as ingredients? —Steve, Scottsdale, Ariz.
A: If a wine label mentions the flavors of chocolate, it doesn't mean that there is actually chocolate in the wine -- It is usually because a wine reminds the taster of chocolate. There is a chance that some of the aromatic compounds in wine, called esters, are the same molecules found in some chocolates (and other things like cherries, honey and roses) and the taster is identifying them. If that's the case, even though a bottle of wine and a dark chocolate bar might share a few common esters, it does not share a chemical makeup beyond that. To our knowledge, an allergy to chocolate or caffeine should not be triggered by wine, but check with your doctor, please.
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