Haunting Wines for Halloween Treats and Pairings that won’t Spook You

SONY DSCSomething a bit scary happens on Halloween: we try pairing wine with mini Rolos, Mars bars and Smarties. Here are some tips on combinations that won’t frighten your palate …

Count Dracula said, “I never drink … wine.” But for those of us who don’t enjoy his beverage of choice, wine is the way to go — even with Halloween treats.

In between doorbell chimes, I like to polish off those mini chocolate bars with a glass of Messias 10 Year Old Tawny Port 1998 ($23.95, 91 points). This Portuguese dessert wine, with its river of almond and toffee flavour, complements the coffee “nuances” in Coffee Crisp as well as the toasted rice “accents” in Crispy Crunch.

The wine’s voluptuous body and texture encases these little treats and makes them melt in your mouth — an excellent reason to have a spare bag of them stashed in the closet.

Ports are fortified wines with extra alcohol (this one has 20 per cent), so a little goes a long way; you only need a few ounces per serving. (Though how many servings you have is up to you, of course.) An open bottle will keep for a couple of weeks, so you can enjoy this after-dinner drink in the chilly days ahead.

Some oenophiles might also pair chocolate with a full-bodied dry red wine, such as an Italian amarone or sangiovese (which is seasonal since it translates to “blood of Jove”). In this video chat about pairing wine and junk food, we do just that. However, I prefer my wine to be sweeter than my dessert; otherwise, it can taste bitter by comparison. However, my top choice is still port, with its nutty, caramel-infused finish.

The bonus is that port is incredibly versatile. It will also work with Tootsie Rolls, gummy bears, and even those rock-hard, enamel-chipping candy kisses.

Printed with permission of the Ottawa Citizen.

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