Steak goes great with big, bold reds and full-bodied whites sync up nicely with fish dishes. But, have you ever thought about which wines pair perfectly with candy?
Just in time for Halloween, we asked wine experts to share their favorite candy and wine pairings. So go raid your kids’ candy stash and trick or treat yourself with these sommelier-approved combinations!
Butterfinger + Chardonnay
Chardonnay and bite-sized Butterfingers are a dream team. The acidity in unoaked Chardonnay stands up well to the sweet caramel crunch of the candy, says Randy Ullom, winemaster for Kendall-Jackson Wines. But for a decadent pairing, go with an oaked Chardonnay, which has creamy, buttery notes to complement Butterfingers. Kendall-Jackson 2017 Vintner’s Reserve also adds vanilla and honey aromas to the treat.
Wine pick: The classic Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay, $17
Hershey’s Kisses + Cabernet Sauvignon
To really get this right, go with a Cabernet Sauvignon from Columbia Valley in Washington state, says Keith Wallace, a winemaker, sommelier, and founder of Wine School of Philadelphia. “The Cab brings a menthol and espresso note to the Kisses,” he says. “It’s a creamy-gooey pairing that tastes like the most sophisticated mug of hot chocolate you’ll ever enjoy.”
Wine pick: Luke Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, $23
Brach’s Candy Pumpkins + Bianco Toscano
Not a fan of the candy corn genre? You might change your mind after trying this pairing. Steven Mendivil, wine director at Chicago’s Good Fortune, recommends pairing Brach’s Candy Pumpkins with Daphné, a complex Italian wine. It’s golden in color and, on the nose, is floral, with hints of herbs. The wine, Mendivil explains, helps soften the residual sugar of the mellowcreme candy and enhances the honey beeswax notes.
Wine pick: Cosimo Maria Masini Daphné, Tuscany 2017, $21
Milk Duds + Zinfandel
“We age our wine in bourbon barrels for the last few months of its aging process, adding its own caramel notes, as well as vanilla and hints of smoke,” explains 1000 Stories Winemaker Bob Blue. The Zinfandel’s round tannins and notes of dark fruit pair nicely with the chewy caramels, he says.
Wine pick: 1000 Stories Zinfandel 2017, $19
Mars Bars + Pinot Noir
The red fruit notes make the nougat and caramel combination in Mars Bars pop, explains La Crema Head Winemaker Craig McCallister. The Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir has aromas of pomegranate and sweet tobacco, followed up with berry fruit and plums with subtle hints of spice and toast.
Wine pick: La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, $25
Starburst + Riesling
Certified Sommelier Carrie Kalscheuer, the director of sales and education at REX HILL, tried strawberry and lemon Starburst flavors with the 2018 A to Z Riesling and gave them her stamp of approval. “I was dubious at first, knowing that the ‘rule’ is that the wine should be sweeter than the dish, but then rules are made to be broken,” she says. The Riesling, she says, is certainly less sweet than the candy, but it is so fruity and has a wonderful juiciness and acidity. “This brought out the citrus notes in the wine and toned down the candy’s sugar a bit on the palate,” she says.
Wine pick: 2018 A to Z Wineworks Riesling, $15
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups + Red Blend
The chocolate and peanut butter combo of Reese’s pairs deliciously with a velvety red wine, says Will Witherow, beverage director at Live Oak Del Rey in Alexandria, Virginia. “The Les Mines Priorat is a big velvety red with red fruit and a touch of coffee flavor,” Witherow says. “The combination of red fruit, coffee, chocolate, and peanut butter is just a natural pairing.” Plus, the boldness of the wine can stand up against the rich peanut butter and chocolate combo, he says.
Wine pick: Les Mines Priorat
Skittles + Rosé
Adam Sweders, the wine director of Chicago-based DineAmic Hospitality, says there’s no better way to “taste the rainbow” than by pairing Skittles with a wine that reminds us of rainbows. His favorite rosés come from the south of France and feature flavors of citrus, cherries, and strawberries — which is in line with the original Skittle flavors, minus grape. Wait, wine is made with grapes!
Wine pick: Miraval Rosé, $22
Kit Kat + Prosecco
The bubbles in Prosecco are a good match for the crispy wafers in a Kit Kat, says New York City-based chef and food stylist Ashton Keefe. Plus, the sweetness of Prosecco enhances the milk chocolate flavors in Kit Kat bars, Keefe says.
Wine pick: Josh Cellars Prosecco, $15
Now, find out what treats to pair with your Halloween movie-watching!
Brittany Anas is a freelance writer who specializes in health, fitness, and travel writing. She also contributes to Men’s Journal, Women’s Health, Trip Savvy, Simplemost, Orbitz, and Eat This, Not That! She spent a decade working at daily newspapers, including The Denver Post and the Daily Camera in Boulder, Colorado, and she is a former federal background investigator. In her free time, Brittany enjoys hiking with her gremlin-pot belly pig mix that the rescue described as a “Boston Terrier” and coaching youth basketball. She also works with domestic abuse survivors, helping them regain financial stability through career coaching. Follower her on Twitter and Instagram.