WASHINGTON — Halloween is just around the corner. And every year, I stock up on gobs of candy that seems to flood my pantry shelves.
Unfortunately, now that my children are grown, I don’t seem to get as many mini-ghosts and goblins knocking on my door as usual. This means that I end up with a surplus of my favorite treats — which is great for my dentist and terrible for my waistline.
Still, I can’t just let my stockpile of sugary sweetness languish in the large plastic pumpkin on the counter. So what’s a wine lover to do? Well, how about pair the leftover confections with wine?
Wine with candy? That’s were Vivino comes to the rescue! The popular wine app, which allows subscribers to take a photo of any wine label using their smartphone and instantly learn the wine’s ratings and pricing, recently published their annual wine-and-Halloween-candy-pairing article on their website. I was impressed with their picks this year and thought I would share a few of their recommendations with you — just in case you want to go out and stock up on wine as well as candy.
Trust me, this is no trick. It’s a genuine treat that you’ll have fun experimenting with long after the doorbell stops ringing.
So with credit where credit is due, here are some of the top picks by the folks at Vivino.
Pinot noir is one of those wines you will never have trouble finding on the shelf. Although the variations of pinot noir can be dramatic, they always tend to carry a tense and nuanced red fruit quality. This makes the milk-chocolate-and-wafer combo feel like a chocolate-dipped raspberry pulled straight out of the fridge. I’d suggest terroir-driven pinot noirs such as those from Sonoma Coast or Burgundy that will bring out earthiness and tannin for a more complex pairing. Tannin is mellowed by the chocolate, and the earthy qualities can create a mushroom-flavored effect.
Wine: 2015 Freeman Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir from Sonoma, California. There is plenty of richness, tannin and acidity on the palate to look forward to, as well as a long, dreamy ﬁnish. $45 for 750 ml
Snickers is a bold candy bursting with nougat, peanuts, chocolate and caramel. Tie it in with Hungary’s flagship dessert wine, Tokaji. As one of the oldest regulated wines in production, Tokaji can be just as bold and sweet as the Snickers itself. Its varying levels of sweetness are described as “puttonyos” or “baskets.” Try a wine with four or five puttonyos to get the full effect. The wine carries its own nutty honey characteristic that will match up to the Snickers’ caramel and honey like close cousins.
Wine: 2013 Royal Tokaji 5 Puttonyos from Hungary. This Aszú wine is very complex. Its intense sweetness is balanced by crispy acidity. On the palate, tropical fruit, lime and grapefruit meet with freshness. It has a very long finish. $46 for 500 ml
Hershey’s milk chocolate bar
When you’re dealing with straight milk chocolate, you have to find a wine that is powerful but light on its feet. It needs enough presence to punch through the cocoa, yet be nimble enough to dance around the creamy milkiness enveloping your palate. Syrah can range in body and texture, but you will typically find black pepper and black fruit — both are willing companions to chocolate. Ballard Canyon, a small region in Santa Barbara, California, is quickly being recognized for its Syrah.
Wine: 2014 Stolpman “Originals” Ballard Canyon Syrah from the Central Coast of California. I am a personal fan of this wine, and Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate declares that the wine is “made in a ripe, textured and hedonistic style, it has beautiful purity in its blueberry, blackberry, salty mineral and creamy licorice aromas and flavors.” $40 for 750 ml
With a candy as smooth and textured as a 3 Musketeers bar, you want a glass of wine that can carry its own weight without taking over. Chenin blanc is prized for its silky, lanolin-like texture. But in its bubbly form, the texture is transferred into a velvety effervescence that rolls right into the rich nougaty softness of the 3 Musketeers. I recommend going with a little more sweetness on the wine to match the chocolate. To boost the velvety feel of the nougat, try something completely dry and highlight the bubbles.
Wine: 2105 Domaine De La Taille Aux Loups “Triple Zéro” from the Loire Valley of France. This is an unfiltered, naturally made sparkling wine with unsurpassed elegance, purity and expression of fresh, soft citrus and pear flavors. It is ideal on its own, as an aperitif and as an accompaniment for a wide variety of foods and desserts. $22 for 750 ml
Vin Santo is Italy’s lesser-known dessert wine. While Moscato d’Asti reigns in terms of sales and popularity, Vin Santo carries a reputation of panache and quality. Typically rich with elements of toasted nut and honey, this wine will walk side-by-side with caramel, cookies and chocolate as if they were made by the same person.
Wine: 2006 Borgo Scopeto Vin Santo from the Tuscany region of Italy. Rich and syrupy, this amber-colored Vin Santo shows tones of butterscotch, honey-covered almond, candied fruit and toffee. The wine feels silky and smooth with a long finish. $30 for 375 ml
Check out all of the wine and candy pairing recommendations on the Vivino site.
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