Who says Halloween is just for kids? Certainly not us. It’s why we have made it an office tradition to pair our favorite Halloween candies with Vivino approved wine pairings. This year’s matchmaker brings back some of our all-time favorite pairings so we encourage you to make this year’s Halloween extra festive with these epic wine and candy pairings, too. Now go grab some candy, buy some wine (from Vivino, of course!) and get to “studying” our matchmaker.
Pink Starburst and Moscato d’AstiPink Starburst paired with Moscato is a returning fan favorite originally recommended by our partner sommelier, Laura Burgess and will go down as one of the best pairings of all time. Seriously, try it! Since Laura’s original recommendation, Starburst has released a limited edition “Pink Ones Only” offering, so we are sticking with pink because the wild honey and lively pink strawberry acidity of the wine dovetail marvelously with the candy.
Try it! Moscato d'Asti
Swedish Fish + LambruscoThis pairing comes from sommelier Courtney Schiessl who contributed this pairing to our 2016 matchmaker. Courtney said,“Swedish Fish holds the title for best gummy Halloween candy—yup, I said it. They’re not too sweet, bursting with flavor, and just plain fun! Lambrusco’s berry and cherry flavors mirror those of the Swedish Fish, while underlying earth and floral notes add complexity.
Try it! Lambrusco
Hershey’s Kisses and Zinfandel This one also comes from Laura Burgess who says, “The best wine contrasts creamy milk chocolate with ripe berry flavors. America’s sweetheart, Zinfandel, turns every bite into a raspberry cordial on the palate.”
Try it! Zinfandel
Kit Kat and Pinot Noir This pairing was the brilliance of our partner sommelier Joel Caruso who says, “Although variations of Pinot Noir can be dramatic, they always tend to carry a tense and nuanced red fruit quality. This makes the milk chocolate and wafer combo feel like a chocolate dipped raspberry pulled straight out of the fridge. I’d suggest terroir driven Pinot Noirs like those from Sonoma Coast or Burgundy that will bring out earthiness and tannin for a more complex pairing. Tannin is mellowed by the chocolate, and the earthy qualities can create a mushroom-flavored effect.”
Try it! Pinot Noir
Reese’s PB Cups and Gamay This pick also comes from Joel who says, “Gamay works with peanut butter and chocolate because of Carbonic maceration. Gamay is a grape that’s used to make Beaujolais wine, which has a unique fermentation process. The grapes are deprived of oxygen and burst from the inside, rather than being pressed directly. This process imparts a distinct, wild-cherry jam, bubblegum and banana aroma that pairs perfectly with peanut butter and chocolate. Think PB+J!”
Try it! Gamay
M&MS + PortAuthor of the The Wine Bible, and Vivino’s editorial advisor Karen MacNeil chose this delicious pairing, commenting, “The dark, sweet, black fig and dried fruit character of Port is a great counterpoint to the milk chocolate in M&Ms. The hard crunch of the candy shell is perfect with the soft pillow of lavishly textured Port.”
Try it!: Port
Skittles and Madeira Another one from Joel who says, “Skittles have such a diverse range of flavors, and you rarely get a handful of one flavor (no matter how hard you try). How can you match a wine with a candy of such varying flavors? Oxidation. Oxidation is what happens to wine when it is left out on the counter for too long, or if the winemaker deliberately chooses to incorporate that into their wine. Such is the case with Madeira wine. With Madeira, you can go super dry to very sweet, but somewhere in the middle will be your best option. Pick up a bottle labeled Verdelho, Bual, or Malmsey to be safe. These bottles incorporate different levels of citrus, orchard fruit, nuts and honey that will be the perfect answer to this candy rainbow.”
Try it! Madeira
Jolly Ranchers + GewürztraminerThis one also comes from the 2017 matchmaker from Joel who says it works because you need a dynamic wine with enough acid and depth to stand up to the berry Ranchers and mesh with the citrus ones. He tells us that Grand Cru Alsatian Gewürztraminer has strong lychee tones and low acidity, so the candy takes the reigns without drowning out the flavor of the wine.
Try it! Alsace Gewürztraminer
Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar and Syrah Another favorite from last year’s matchmaker from Joel who says, “When you’re dealing with straight milk chocolate, you have to find a wine that is powerful but light on its feet. It needs enough presence to punch through the cocoa, yet nimble enough to dance around the creamy milkiness enveloping your palate. Syrah can range in body and texture, but you will typically find black pepper and black fruit - both are willing companions to chocolate.”
Try it!: Syrah
Whoppers + Cabernet SauvignonAnd last but not least, again from Joel who must be eating a lot of candy and drinking a lot of wine, whoppers and Cab! Joel says, “The huge malty character of whoppers needs a wine with backbone and depth to keep from being overpowered by the malt and chocolate. I love dessert wine with Whoppers, but something more accessible is a ripe, bold Cabernet Sauvignon.”