This Halloween wine pairing post is dedicated to all of you who want to break the wine pairing rules and have a little fun on this festive holiday.
Pairing wine with Halloween candy doesn’t have to be a faux pas. You can have your wine and candy too, if you consider a few simple tips.
So this happened.
I went on KGW and talked about pairing wine with Halloween candy!!!
Now I know what some of you might be thinking.
You did WHAT?!
This is somewhat of a faux pas subject for many a wine writer. And there’s a good reason for that.
The challenge of pairing wine with halloween candy
Halloween candy and wine aren’t really a match made in heaven. In fact, there are many things that can downright clash when trying to pair super sweet treats, like candy, with wine (especially still table wine). A friend, and wine writer, Meg Houston Maker, explains:
It’s extremely challenging to pair a table wine with candy, especially hard candy. Any fruit notes of the candy will fall away or seem sour, and the wine will seem flabby and dull. Plus, hard candies are often both sweet and sour, so are performing the role wine was made to perform with savory food: to feel juicy and a little bit fruity and refreshing. But they’re doing it on steroids as a standalone experience, so will obliterate those attributes in the wine.
But this doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! Seriously, friends, it’s Halloween! No chef is going to win a James Beard award for a multi-course dinner involving pairing candy and wine, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy experimenting tonight when the kids go to bed!
I offer this only piece of advice: The general rule of thumb with sweet food (like candy) is to have a wine that is a bit sweeter than the candy, or the wine could end up tasting bitter. Your best bet is a dessert wine, like a tawny port (or port-style wine), which is one that I recommended to the awesome team at KGW.
But at the end of the day it’s really about drinking what you like.
Halloween Wine Pairing
So, in the meantime, if you want to know which wines go with other candies here is a list of some other Halloween wine pairing recommendations by some friends I reached out to:
- Monique Soltani also recommends Twix and tawny port.
- Cindy Lowe Rynning likes Shiraz and Junior Mints.
- Michelle Williams likes tawny port and M&M’s, particularly peanut butter M&Ms. You can see her recommendation, as well as several others, in this piece by Snooth.
- Erika Szymanski recommends a caramel apple and some off-dry semillons (or, heck, a big sweet Chardonnay) wouldn’t be too bad. Erika also goes deep into the subject in this article The Food Science of Wine and Chocolate.
- Vivino has a fun infographic on the subject here.
- Meg Houston Maker’s general principles for pairing with very, very sweet foods like candy, include:
– Match sweetness: Dessert wines with 100+ g/L of RS, e.g.
– Match intensity. Fortified wines.
– Match flavors: Tawny or oxidized + caramel, e.g.
– Contrast flavors: Fruit (ruby port) + dark chocolate
See my recommendations and the condensed video segment over on KGW (the full segment will air on Portland Today this morning).
What about you? Do you have a favorite Halloween candy and wine pairing? I’d LOVE to hear it!
Whatever you eat or drink tonight I hope you have a very fun and happy Halloween!
More Holiday Wine Recommendations:
A huge thank you to Ashley Korslien and Brenda Braxton at KGW for having me on the show! I had such a fun time!