Tricks to Wine Pair your Leftover Halloween Treats

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One of the greatest perks of being a kid was trick or treating on Halloween around the neighborhood heading door to door demanding candy. Coming home with a bountiful haul of sugary goodness gave us a sense of pride followed by the inevitable tummy ache from overindulging.

As adults, we can still get in the fun with all that leftover candy whether you over-purchased for the neighborhood trick or treating kiddos, commandeered some of your little ones’ sweet treats or want to hit the store for discounted candy. Here are some pairing ideas from top sommeliers and wine experts since our diet today is all about Halloween Candy and the Boos.

Here are some pairing ideas from top sommeliers and wine experts since our diet today is all about Halloween Candy and the Boos.

Candy is Dandy, but Wine is Divine

Candy Corn by David Sawyer, Wine & Beverage Director of Lilia Ristorante, Williamsburg, NY

That vanilla rich, sweet marshmallow like flavor & soft, buttery fondant interior is begging for a tight linear white that’s got electric acid & citrus tartness!  For me Ciro Picariello’s ‘906’ Fiano di Avellino 2013 pairs perfectly. It has slightly rubbery, squeaky (think Riesling) nose, grapefruit pith & lime notes, smoky minerality & the aforementioned electric acid you get something that not only cuts through the candy corn’s buttery texture, but combines into a lovely mouth melding taste that transforms into a mouthful of grapefruit/lime ‘sour patch kids’, but way more fun as we’ve now got alcohol involved the ‘spooky’ mix!  #scarilydelicious

Twix by Victoria James, Beverage Director at Cote, New York City, NY

Twix is my absolute favorite! Okay, I would pair a Banyuls rouge, chilled, with Twix. A lot of people think that chocolate doesn’t go with wine but Banyuls can be the one exception. From awesome producers like La Tour Vieille this fortified red wine predates Port and offers minerality and a lip-smacking red fruit sweetness. There is also a certain saltiness to the wine, this is where they Pyrenees fall into the Mediterranean Sea. This salty character with the caramel in the Twix helps add that salted caramel layer.

Reese’s Pieces & Peanut Butter Cups by Michael Madrigale, Head Sommelier | Bar Boulud, Épicerie Boulud & Boulud Sud, NYC, NY

I like Madeira so much that I’d drink it with a slow broiled shoe. Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cups. Bring it on. Pour me a long glass and let me control the Spotify. Madeira is cooked wine. Literally baked in a sauna. Flavors that come out of this process give the wine a profile like no other. Molasses, toffee, marmalade, caramel, walnut and Drakes Coffee Cake. Boal is my grape of choice and D’Oliveras is my favorite shipper. Turn it up.

Peanut M&Ms by Chris Struck, Sommelier at Union Square Café in New York City, NY

Arnaud Tronche, wine director of Racines NY, and I discovered one of the best candy and wine pairing’s when I worked there: old Madeira and peanut M&Ms; specifically, 71 D’OLIVEIRAS TERRANTEZ and Blue peanut M&Ms (yes, specifically the blue ones—they say there’s no difference between how the colors taste, but that’s just what they want you to believe). The crispy, dark chocolate, peanut butter, and traditional ones won’t work; they must be peanut (Homer Murray’s recent statement is right, by the way). The salt we associate with roasted nuts pairs with Madeira’s salinity, while the fake chocolate harmonizes with the fortified while oxidative and dried fruit notes.

Twizzlers by Jacob Daugherty, Sommelier at Le District in New York City, NY

With Red Twizzlers, I would pair Marco de Bartoli Pietranera Zibibbo Sec. It is from the island of Pantelleria (which means the black rock) off Sicily. It is from the greatest winemaker from the continent of Sicily –Ask any Sicilian and they will tell you that Sicily is not a territory or even a country, but its own continent. The Zibibbo grape is the local name of Muscat, which Americans associate with sweet, light and thoughtless wines. When made dry in the hands of a master, it is intoxicatingly floral and long lasting. Pietranera is one of the easiest wines in the world to drink and makes you feel good. I have actually had this pairing before and it is quite delightful.

Skittles by Greg Van Wagner, Sommelier at Jimmy’s in Aspen, CO

With the citrus sweet treats like Skittles, search for the La Spinetta “Bricco Quaglia” Moscati d’Asti, this low alcohol slightly effervescent sweet wine from Gorgio Rivetti in the Piedmont region of Italy is perfectly light, floral and citrus forward, while having great acidity to match up to candies.

And because Candy Corn is a polarizing challenge, another brave soul, Justin Vann, tackled it! 

Somebody please remove these from my house thanks 🤦🏼‍♀️ #candycorn #happyhalloween #toomuchsugar

A post shared by Candace Nelson (@candacenelson) on

Candy Corn by Justin Vann, Beverage Director at Public Services Wine & Whisky in Houston, TX

So I still hate candy corn, but this exercise has given me slightly more respect for it. I’d recommend an inexpensive Sauternes, a second label of a growth classified bottling like Carmes de Reiussec or Lions de Suduiraut. These are perfect because they mirror the honey & vanilla flavors in the candy corn, and the sugar and acid level of the wine is a perfect match for the sugar content of the candy. Sweeter dessert wines like Beerenauslese riesling and Tokaji were alright, but their elevated sugar contents made the pairing sickly sweet.

Pay Day by Brett Feore, Wine Director at The Musket Room, New York City, NY

Pay Day is not only my favorite day of the week but also my favorite candy bar. I’m matching a glass of Baltimore Rainwater by Rare Wine CO. The salted caramel peanut bar accentuates all the similar characters of this particular Madeira with just the right amount of sweetness. I couldn’t resist having this as I write.

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