Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Hallow-Wine: Wine and Candy Pairing!

It’s Trick 'r Drinking time! If you’ve been a consistent reader of this blog you know I am all about pairing food and wine pairings. I love this time of year in the Walla Walla Valley and I love Halloween. And the question I have is - - what kind of candy to hand out to the little ghouls and goblins?

Every year varies. If I am in my healthy self-righteous diet mode then I will give out candy I do not personally enjoy. My reason? So I won't be snacking on it. You know the kind: Dum-Dum's, bubble gum, and hard year-old taffy. If I am in my "I don't give a bat's ass-gimme-chocolate" mood, then I will give out the good stuff. And when I say good stuff I mean candy like Three Musketeers, Snickers, and Hershey bars. Of course, while I am waiting on the lil' monsters to ring the door bell, I need to be sipping on a little wine.

Wine and candy have so much in common. For years, scientists had interesting theories about the relation between munching on candy and indulging on alcohol. They have discovered that the sugars in candy ferments in the stomach in a manner that seemed similar to the fermentation of alcohol. The history of candy is also very much linked with that of alcohol. The candy industry experienced a boom during Prohibition. When bars and saloons were forced to close down and "bootleg" wasn't always and easily available, people flocked to soda and ice cream shops for their "fermented" fix.

So if you are going to really indulge, what kind of wine pairs with Halloween candy?

Candy Corn: Chardonnay makes for a good pairing with these little nuggets of white, yellow and orange. I would choose Chardonnay from either Abeja, Don Carlo Vineyards or Forgeron Cellars. All three of these wines are very light in oak and will not mask that sweet candy corn goodness.

Caramel Apples: Sauvignon Blanc from Fjellene Cellars or Woodward Canyon. The clean and refreshing tastes from these wines bring out the crispness from the apple without feeling "bone dry" on the palate. However, you better have them already in your cellar or do some beggin' because these two wines disappear quickly like a vampire in daylight.

Mary Janes "Peanut Butter Kisses" (the taffy in the orange and black wax wrappers): I would recommend any good and affordable red blend, such as Ash Hollow's Headless Red in keeping with the holiday. Also, if you want to make yourself a candy and wine "peanut butter and jelly sammie," I would think about pairing a Malbec with the peanut butter kisses. Substance or Tertulia Cellars Malbec and also Ash Hollow's Malbec will do the trick - - or treat.

Almond Joy: Rieslings from Long Shadow's Poet’s Leap or Buty's Beast will pair nicely with the addition of the coconut and almonds from the candy. I would also get bold and try a Gewurztraminer. It will show off some exotic fruits from the wine and will still blend well with the fruit and nuts from the candy. I recommend Sleight of Hand Cellars Gewurztraminer.

Hershey Chocolate Bar (with or without almonds): So what yummy Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon isn't going to go with a chocolate bar? However, I would recommend a more mellow Cab with softer tannins that won't interfere, but blend with the chocolate. Trust me. I would also recommend a chocolatey and smooth Cabernet Franc from Tero Estates or Walla Walla Vintners.

Three Musketeers Bar: Any Walla Walla produced Merlot is going to pair well with one of my favorite candy bars! In fact, the first Merlots that comes to mind are from Otis Kenyon, L'Ecole No 41, and SuLei Cellars to name a few. Merlot does not seem to over-power the milk chocolate or the light and fluffy center.

Snickers Bar: Sangiovese makes for a great pairing. The earthy and dark cherry qualities from this grape work well with the peanuts, caramel and nougat. Once again, we need a red wine that is light in tannins and Sangiovese is perfect. Locati Cellars, Mannina Cellars and Russell Creek Cellars are three "original" Sangios that come to mind when I think of this grape.

M&M's: A handful of these color-assorted candies pair nicely (peanut or plain) with a glass of Syrah. Choose your Syrah like you do your favorite M&M colors such as Morrison Lane Vineyard Syrah pairs nicely with the red and brown ones. Bergevin Lane She-Devil Syrah is a good pairing with the blue and yellow M&M’s. The green M&M's? I can only think of one syrah that is perfect for that notorious color, but a syrah produced from Kontos Cellars. Now, if you just want to shove a blend of colors in your mouth like a hungry werewolf, then go with a blended wine like "Devotion" from Dowsett Family Wines - a blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, and Grenache.

Petits Noirs Truffles and Brights Hand-Dipped Chocolates: These two local chocolatiers really deserve their own category because they produce chocolates for us "kids" with an adult palate. Petits Noirs truffles and mendiants and Bright's classic chocolate dipped handmade caramels, nuts, and chews are deserving of some of the finest local wines around. Where to start? For a few recommendations, I would check out Glencorrie Cuvee Marquis, Gramercy Cellars Inigo Montoya Tempranillo, Cougar Crest "Syrillo," and hell - just do it - - it's only once a year, go Leonetti Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon.

Remember as with the M&M’s, all of the above wines will melt in your mouth and not in your hands. So have fun experimenting like Dr. Frankenstein and remember, it's not a perfect science and certainly nothing to be scared about or scream over. Trick 'r Treat!

3 comments: said...

love this! I was thinking a petite sirah to go with my leftover m&m's, but now I'm going to try the syrah :)

New Hampshire Wineman said...

Truly a great post! I wished I had seen it sooner, but better late than never.
Walla Walla women and men should know what a treasure they have in you!

Unknown said...

My husband bought the good stuff. I hate when he does that. I like to buy all the candy that doesn't tempt me. I wonder which wines pair with Butterfingers and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups? I'm thinking Spring Valley Frederick? What do you think?

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