The ideal wine pairing is always the one you like best. But if you want to savor your Halloween haul in style, it’s helpful to keep certain tips in mind when pairing wine with Snickers, M&M’s and other candy.
“Unlike your average dessert that has layered flavors and balance, candy is basically entirely sugar,” says Fiona Adams, assistant tasting director at Wine Enthusiast. “All that sugary sweetness is delightful to eat, but it can make dry wines taste astringent and bitter.”
M&Ms, for example, have milk chocolate “with a little extra sugary kick from the candy coating,” Adams says, so you’ll want to avoid tannic pours. Instead, she recommends eating M&Ms with light, fruity, unoaked reds like Pinot Noir or Gamay.
Consider the textural components of your candy bar too.
“Kit Kats are essentially a cookie versus a chocolate,” says Adams. She suggests pairing them with Ruby Port to complement the light, fruity flavors of the milk chocolate coating.
In 2018, a Mashable survey found that candy corn was the “most hated” Halloween candy in 21 states. If you are among the few and proud who enjoy the marzipan-like treat, however, consider fruit-forward Prosecco or sparkling Riesling.
“The bubbles will help cleanse the palate from all the sugar,” Adams says. “But this isn’t the time for heftier bubbles — stick with crisp and simple.”
Off-dry Riesling is a good foil for Starbursts.
“Wines with ripe stone fruit and melon notes will happily pair with all the different color Starbursts, and vibrant acidity keeps the wine and the candy from being sickly sweet,” Adams says.
Because Hershey’s Special Dark lacks the sugary bells and whistles of other chocolate bars, you might try it with something on the drier end of the spectrum.
“Wines with velvety texture will work best,” says Adams. “Richly fruited Zinfandel and dark chocolate creates a sultry experience.”
Adams suggests pairing Amontillado or Oloroso Sherry for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups because “the nutty flavors found in sherry bring out the peanut butter in the Reese’s and balance the sweetness of the chocolate.”
Or you could go for broke with Sauternes and Snickers.
“Snickers have got it all going on—chocolate, caramel and peanuts,” says Adams. “Salty peanuts and caramel play well with Sauternes’ rich and sweet flavors, while the brisk, bracing acidity refreshes the palate.”