Wine & Candy Pairings

Enjoy Halloween with an adult flare.


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Halloween doesn't have to be for kids alone. This year, while the little ones are out trick-or-treating, take the opportunity to open a bottle of dessert wine to pair with Halloween candy and other sweet goodies.

Although we're accustomed to pairing dessert wines with more sophisticated, formal desserts, consider this also a lighthearted guide to matching wine to flavors—chocolate and caramel, fruit and spice, custard and vanilla—that you're as likely to find in your trick-or-treat bag as on any fussy restaurant menu.

Port is perhaps the most classic pairing for chocolate, but pour anything in the red-wine family such as Banyuls or Shiraz alongside handfuls of M&M's, pint-sized candy bars, or other chocolate Halloween treats. Baby Ruth, Snickers, or other nutty candy bars in your bag? Select a Sherry or Madeira to complement rich nut flavors.

If caramel apples are your Halloween weakness, pairing choices for the toastiness of caramel and butterscotch might include Muscat or Gewürztraminer. The acidity of white wines should stand up well to the sweetness of caramel. But if you prefer to focus on the flavor of the apple, go for Icewine, Sauternes or a late-harvest Sauvignon Blanc.

Candy corn, another seasonal treat, has a strong buttery, vanilla taste and a creamy texture. Chardonnay pairs well with vanilla flavors, as does Riesling or Sauternes.

What about lollipops, Jujubes and other super-sweet, fruity candies? Pop open a versatile dry or demi-sec style sparkling wine, like Prosecco or Champagne.

No matter what's in your bag of candy, or on your dessert plate, there's no trick to matching wine with Halloween treats.

Kara Newman is a New York-based food and wine writer.

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