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In Good Taste

Sip or Treat: Halloween Wine Pairings

Sip or Treat: Halloween Wine Pairings

Candy is Dandy, but Wine is Divine.

Does your Halloween game plan include a wine opener? Of course it does. Wine expands many pleasures, including the passing of candy to costumed cuties. Enjoying good wine makes hearing the doorbell ring equal a definite reason to toast! 

From setting the course with a sparkling wine or prosecco, cruising on to a dry white wine or chardonnay, to triumph in flight with a cabernet sauvignon or dry red wine, the right wine pairing perfectly highlights the abundance of candy which is the hallmark of Halloween success.

Why not be the friendly sommelier this season, and the perfect wine glas will be the only costume prop needed. Just set up the ultimate charcuterie board, and invite a few good friends over to share in the wine tasting and candy pairing. With good friends, good music and perhaps a wine tasting wheel, you can have great conversations and even sound almost like wine experts

As you know, some grapes like Pinot and Zinfandel can be vinted as a wide range of wines, including light-bodied white wines, full-bodied dry red wines and sweet late harvest wines. The ripeness of the grapes when harvested can impart tremendous variety to the flavor.

So rather than hoping a wine pairing chart will match the candy at hand with a suitable wine, let’s select the seasonal wines and personal favorites, and inform our candy selections accordingly.

Let’s start our wine pairings!

Light White Wines

The refreshingly amiable flavors of chilled Prosecco, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc are ideal for the intense burst of fruit in Skittles or pumpkin spice cookies and candies. These lighter bodied, crisp and vibrant wines’ citrus flavors ideally complement pure, fruity flavored candies.

We like the pumpkin spice wine spritzers that blend four ounces of white wine with one ounce pumpkin spice liquor and a splash of seltzer. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and it’s a holiday in a glass!

Light White Wines
Light White Wines Pair with Pumpkin Spice Cookies and Skittles

Full White Wines

Chardonnay is the king of white wines, beloved for it’s bold green apple, melon and citrus flavors. It can enjoy a vanilla fragrance from the oak barrel or seem buttery when unoaked. Viognier, “vee-own-yay” with delicious aromas of peach, tangerine and honeysuckle delivers a satisfying oily sensation to the middle of the tongue. Full-bodied white wines including white blends have a higher alcohol content, generally 13.5% or more, and have more complex flavors than the light bodied white wines.

These bold clean wines stand up to the textures of classic Halloween favorites like the ever- popular popcorn hand with candy corn fingers, Starburst, Milky Way and Swedish Fish. 

Full-Bodied White Wines
Full-Bodied White Wines pair well with Swedish Fish, Popcorn, Starburst, Milky Way and Candy Corn

Rosé Wines

Rosé may be the oldest known type of wine, as ancient wine making processes lacked the more efficient wine presses that modern wines enjoy. While the grape skins and seeds are allowed to remain in the crushed grape juice “must”  for the first several hours of soaking before fermentation, this solid pomace is removed before the tannins mature to a full character as in red wine. This develops a fresh, light and fruity flavored wine with tastes of red fruits including strawberries, cherries, raspberries, melons, flowers and even celery. Rosé wines can be sweet, savory or quite dry depending on the blend of grapes used. In California rosés are typically single varietal and made with 100% pinot noir grapes, but internationally, rosé wines are usually made with a blend of grapes.

These fruity wines are ideal for combining with the fun flavors of Gummy Worms, Pop Rocks, Skittles and Starburst.

Rose Wines
Rose Wines are great with light fruit-flavored candies like gummi worms, skittles, pop rocks and starburst

Light Red Wines

Sometimes you just can’t judge a book by its cover, or a red wine by its color. While wines under 12.5% alcohol are said to be light-bodied and full bodied wines are typically defined by their very dark red color, the deep red Barbera wines are lighter than the eye might suggest. This dry, light red wine has less mouth drying tannin than similarly colored full body wines. The sweeter, light bodied Pinot Noir is known for a balanced medium acidity and low to medium tannins. Its cousin, Gamay has similar flavors of dark cherries, red currants, and berries, with delicate floral aromas - rather than the hints of vanilla, spice, chocolate, tobacco, and oak familiar to Pinot Noir.

Fall wines including pumpkin wine are creating a sensation, and this is a great time to make a pumpkin spice mulled wine also known as Glühwein, or a traditional holiday Gløgg.

Be sure to stay hydrated as you enjoy alcoholic beverages by keeping a glass of water on hand to help avoid waking up tomorrow with a hangover. Experts recommend matching 1 to 1 - glass of water per glass of alcohol. We also recommend our Fall Sangria recipe with Grenache, as a refreshing beverage served over ice.

Light bodied red wine is ideal for pairing with Milk Chocolate Hershey’s Kisses, Kit Kats and Twix. Chocolate is shown to include small quantities of the influential love chemical known as PEA, phenethylamine, which triggers the release of pleasurable compounds known as endorphins. Clearly this is a winning combination for Date Night! 

Light Red Wines
Light Red Wines pair well with milk chocolate and nougat

Medium-Full Red Wines

With a higher alcohol percentage and high mouth coating density, fuller bodied wines like  Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Cab Sav, Mourvedre, Merlot and Zinfandel step up for a satisfying mouthfeel. Let’s pull out the big guns and savor these wines with the best chocolate on hand! 

Some full bodied reds, like Tempranillo (Tem-prah-NEE-yoh) from the Spanish word ‘temprano’, meaning ‘early’ can be enjoyed young - with delightful red fruit and jam tones, or aged in oak barrels to develop more complex aromas including vanilla, toast and even meaty nuances. This type of wine is often called by other names, which dilutes name recognition. Abundante, Cencibel, Tinto de Madrid, Tinta del País, Tinta de Toro, Tinto Fino and Ull de Llebre are all synonyms for the Tempranillo grape.

Slow aging Mourvedre black grapes generally produce wine that is fairly tannic and high in alcohol, so it’s one of the most popular grape varieties included in blended red wines.

The big bold taste of Cabernet Sauvignon makes it the most popular of red wines. This is a dry wine with plenty of tannins to evolve the flavor in the bottle. This plus the high acidity and alcohol content makes Cab Sav a more satisfying experience when drunk with food rather than alone. It’s an excellent wine to complement the pure chocolate flavor of a Hershey Bar or M&Ms. 

The full bodied flavor of Merlot complements a darker chocolate candy like York Peppermint Patties, while Tempranillo can be ideal for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. When you’re enjoying the mellowed mouthfeel of a full-bodied and aged Sangiovese, the prominent flavor serves well with a nutty Snickers bar. 

Yes, with the complexities of a full bodied red wine, we recommend enjoying classic chocolate candies, whether you indulge in the finer chocolates or imbibe with the trick or treat selections.  

Full-Bodied Red Wines
Dark Wines paired with Dark Chocolate

We recognize the abundance of choices available, and some candy connoisseurs will necessarily go rogue - perhaps eating gummy bears with a light red wine. You’ll have plenty of chances to experiment this holiday season, and being more familiar with wines is an excellent way to discern which are the best wine choices to pair with your holiday meals. Enjoy!

Rosé of Sangiovese


Sangiovese can be found in both the Chianti and Montalcino regions of Tuscany (it all sounds so romantic, right?) and is known for producing classic medium-bodied wines. Rosé wine is actually made from red grapes, and this is where the Rosé of Sangiovese comes to play. Crisp, fruit-forward, and easy-to-drink, it's everything you want in your bottle of Rosé and more.



Big, bold, and full of flavor—exactly what you’d expect an Italian wine to be! This classic Italian grape produces some of Italy’s most straightforward red wines and is often used as a blending grape. Not here, though. We let Montepulciano do the heavy lifting as a heavy red wine and shine on its own. If you enjoy the smell of leather bound books, nibbling on dried fruit, and complementary notes of bitter, dark chocolate and sweet plums, you will love this Italian wine. No need to pair it with any certain dish—Montepulciano tastes great with all the Italian classics.

Cabernet Sauvignon


If Pinot Noir is the light and juicy queen of reds, Cabernet Sauvignon is her bolder, heavier, meatier sister. Often referred to as just “cab,” it’s the wine of France’s Bordeaux and California’s Napa Valley. There’s nothing subtle about Cabernet Sauvignon—high in alcohol, full-bodied and robust, you can usually find this red served with a ribeye, New York Strip, or filet mignon (re: carnivores love cab). Classic cabs usually offer tasting notes of chocolate, coffee, and darker fruits like prunes and plums. The Unprecedented Cabernet Sauvignon is as classic as they come, and we highly recommend letting the bottle sit and mellow until your next red meat and potatoes dinner!

Pinot Grigio

La Pluma

If you’re looking for more zest in your life, a bottle of Pinot Grigio can provide that. We included a classic Pinot Grigio in the La Pluma collection because we’re all about light and easy here, which is exactly what this grape from Italy is. It has that dry sense of humor that seems so effortless with a punchy acidity to keep you on your toes, all while offering notes of lemon, limes, green apples, and honeysuckle. Long story short; when it’s been a heavy day and your soul is seeking light things only, you’ll be happy to have this bottle on hand.

Pinot Noir


We couldn’t create the In Good Taste Unprecedented collection without the Golden Retriever of wines: Pinot Noir. Pinot is likable, it’s easy, and its natural state of being is simply charming. It’s an incredibly easy red wine to love, which is why so many people do. The grape itself is from the Burgundy region of France, but has made its way to California, Oregon, Australia, Italy, Argentina, and Germany since. Our Pinot Noir has no surprise twists—it’s a classic light red with just the right amount of sweetness to keep you coming back for another glass (or two).

Coteaux Bourguignons


The Burgundy region of France is home to their best Pinot Noirs, but we took the grapes into our own hands to create something extra special with our Coteaux Bourguignons. It’s a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay, which results in a French red that’s light in body but full in flavor. The ripest blueberries and freshest herbs can be easily detected in this French burgundy blend. May we suggest pairing it with some creamy brie and freshly baked bread? It’s a oui-ning combo.



A little sweet. A little tart. A little salty? You truly get it all with this white Italian wine. If you're into that biting acidity, Verdicchio will probably be high on your list of most-loved wines from our Andiamo collection. Citrus fruits like mandarin, lemon, and grapefruit are at the forefront, but what really sets this Italian wine apart is its distinct notes of almond. While our Verdicchio can start out tasting a bit tart, the more you sip, the smoother it becomes. In fact, we suggest approaching it as an aperitif (Italian for an alcoholic drink sipped before a meal to stimulate the appetite) to experience its full effect.


Côtes du Rhône White


This was one of our first French wines to join the Passport collection and one sip will explain why. Some background on the Rhône Valley in France: While this region is known for its dark, juicy reds, a very small amount of special white wines are made in the Rhône Valley. Our Côtes du Rhône is packed with French-perfected, floral flavor and Old-World charm. Its natural tang paired with the weighty Marsanne grape and aromatic Roussanne grape results in a crisp, savory sip that’ll transport you to a sunbathing chair by the Rhône itself.


Bordeaux Rouge


When you picture medieval folk sitting around a feast with goblets of wine, chances are they were drinking Bordeaux. This wine has been made in France since forever and is arguably the most classic French wine out there. Bordeaux is known for its full body, smoky notes, and rich, oaky taste. If you love cabs, chances are you will adore Bordeaux. For our Passport wines, we had to include this classic French red for you to sip and enjoy to your heart’s content. Best savored over a rich meal like lamb ragu, ratatouille, or BBQ.


Ventoux Rosé


You probably know that the Tour de France is held on Ventoux Mountain in France, but did you know that the same area is known for its high-altitude rosé? This is the kind of quintessential French rosé that you don’t need to spin your wheels over—it’s simply delicious, crisp, and perfect for warm weather. Despite its delicate, pale pink color, each sip is lush with flavor, from tropical passionfruit and zesty citrus to refreshing melon. This has the potential to be your new summer go-to, so we’d suggest stocking up.



Wild Child

Say “¡Hola!” to Spain’s main grape: Tempranillo. This red grape put Rioja wine on the map and is un vino tinto classico. It’s best compared to a classic cab, but with a bit more unique magic that’s hard to put your finger on, which is why it’s a part of our Wild Child line. This medium- to full-bodied wine with its relatively higher tannins usually offers complex notes of cherry, fig, cedar, tobacco, and dill. This is the type of red wine you want to buy and pour for a Latin-infused meal; think carne asada, tacos al carbon, or just perfectly cooked steak fajita meat.


La Pluma

We knew the only red in the La Pluma collection had to be exceptionally good and exceptionally light. That’s why including a Grenache was a no-brainer. If smooth, fruit-forward, light-bodied reds appeal to your tastebuds, this could be your new favorite. The grape itself is tricky; depending on the climate of where its grown, Grenache wines could be light, dense, or somewhere in the middle. La Pluma’s version has all the airiness and flavor notes we wanted in our Grenache, which is how we know you’ll love it. Get the most of this red by pairing it with roasted meats, spice-heavy vegetables, and Mexican-inspired dishes with lots of cumin.




This grape goes by different names in most European countries, but what remains the same is its fruity floral nature. Delicate in every way and extremely quaffable, this wine is as dainty as they come.



We really try not to play favorites at In Good Taste, but there is just something about an Italian Barbera that hits different in the best way. Barberas are the perfect wine for pizza night; they're low in alcohol, and medium-bodied but taste super light, and their berry and plum flavors pair incredibly well with savory tomato sauce and cheese! Another fun thing about Barberas? They actually taste great when chilled, which is not something we're in the habit of suggesting for our red wines. Our Italian Barbera lies somewhere between the body of a cab and a pinot and is the ideal choice for a "ladies who lunch" kind of afternoon.


Wild Child

We couldn't not have a weird white in the mix, right?! The Vermentino grape is native along the coast of Italy on the island of Sardinia (yeah, like the fish). Because of its origin, this grape offers a salty, crisp flavor that's incredibly easy to drink and enjoy. We say it's "weird" only because it's not widely known by name, but chances are you've probably had it before if you've ever ordered white wine in an Italian restaurant. If you love peaches and lemons and get a kick out of anything that reminds you of the sea, our Vermentino is the perfect Italian white to experience on a sunny day outside.



For the Chardonnay lovers who are looking to dig a bit deeper in the world of bold whites, a Viognier (pronounced vee-own-yay) could be your next big adventure. Viogniers tend to have more range; while they can be creamy with hints of vanilla like their Chardonnay counterpart, they also offer lighter, fruitier flavors like tangerine, mango, and honeysuckle. It’s still a more full-bodied white wine, but unlike Chardonnay, it’s softer on acidity and more perfumed. Spend an afternoon with a glass of Viognier amongst the flowers and it’ll all make sense.


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