Off the Vine: Pairing wine with candy

October 24, 2012 

With Halloween rapidly approaching, you may want to consider which wines will be good to pair with all of that leftover candy.

Every year after Halloween you can walk into just about any business, and you will find a bowl full of Smarties candy rolls. Those Smarties will pair nicely with just about any Pinot Grigio, especially the 2011 Cupcake Vineyard Pinot Grigio that is produced using grapes from the Trentino region of Northern Italy. This 2011 Pinot Grigio starts with a hint of sweetness on the first taste which will complement the Smarties and better yet, it retails for $8 a bottle.

What would Halloween be without the yellow and orange candy corns? A Chardonnay that is evenly balanced between the oak, vanilla and butter flavors should pair well with these. Try the 2010 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Chardonnay from the Central Coast that starts with a buttery aroma, followed by some tropical flavors that should enhance the taste and texture of the candy corn. This wine retails in the $10 price range

Twizzlers Strawberry Twists are one of my favorite leftovers, and you should not be disappointed in paring these treats with the 2011 Estancia Pinot Noir from the Central Coast of California. This Pinot retails for approximately $14 a bottle, and the wine's black cherry flavors bodes well with the strawberry twists.

The milk chocolate candies will pair very well with so many different wines, but a good choice is the 2010 Louis Martini Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine retails for approximately $13 a bottle and is lightly oaked with flavors of plum and blackberry.

Now it's time for that after dinner drink, so for dessert how about Reese's Peanut Butter Cups or Mary Janes? The W&J Graham's 10-year-old Tawny Port can stand up against either of these candies and retails for about $30 a bottle -- but don't let the price scare you because an open bottle will last a number of months as it has been fortified with Brandy.

This Tawny Port has hints of orange peel on the nose, with the flavor of caramel and somewhat nutty, so that it should complement the chewy molasses from the Mary Janes.

On the other hand, we could just leave the candy for the kids and try drinking these wines with their more normal pairings, such as the Louis Martini Napa Cabernet with a San Francisco-style cioppino made with local seafood or the Mondavi Private Selection Chardonnay with a cedar plank grilled salmon or the Estancia Pinot Noir with a roasted chicken topped with a mushroom sauce.

Jim Rawe, a family attorney in Bradenton, is an avid collector of fine wines. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at

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