The Halloween After Party…Halloween Candy and Wine Pairing.

Thursday, November 1st, 2018
candy and wine pairings

So, you have leftover candy from Halloween, whether from buying too much or from the kids stash that they either don’t need to eat or don’t want. What do you do with it? Time to plan an adult after party! Gather up the leftover candy, then encourage your friends to bring over a bottle of wine to share. We’ve done some research and some tastings of our own to give you ideas on what to try, but as always, wine pairings have a personal twist. What works for one person, may not work so well for another, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Let’s have some fun!

Starburst – This fruity, sweet, chewy treat works well with either a Moscato or a Rose. Two different profiles, we suggest you try them both to decide on your favorite. Rose is fruity, yet has a high acidity that will help ease the chewiness of the candy while keeping the combination light and refreshing. Now, the honey flavor in Moscato combines quite nicely with all the fruity flavors, especially the pink ones. Di Asti might be a better choice than a flat Moscato…you decide.

Hershey’s Milk Chocolate – For straight milk chocolate, you need something that can cut through the sweet, yet dance with the creamy milkiness. A Syrah might be just the wine to do it. The body and texture of Syrah can change, but the black pepper and fruity tones are consistent and compliment milk chocolate. A Red Zinfandel is another way to go. Laura Burgess, Certified Sommelier and wine writer, 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.” Well, that just makes is sound divine.

M&M’s – Author of the The Wine Bible, 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.” Another theory is to go with a Merlot that isn’t too dry and tannins aren’t too high, because Merlot wine really enhances the M&M’s classic creaminess of smooth milk chocolate. There is a remaining fine-sugar quality on the palate and the wine doesn’t overpower the chocolate; it just blends very nicely. Again, two different philosophies…do you compliment the sweetness or contrast it. If you are trying to cut the sweetness, go with the drier Merlot…but, it makes sense to try them both.

Skittles – The rainbow of fruit flavors found in Skittles creates some controversy in the wine pairing world. Sommelier, Joel Caruso, suggests Madeira, a fortified wine to pair with skittles. Skittles have such a diverse range of flavors, and you rarely get a handful of one flavor (no matter how hard you try). Madeira wine incorporates different levels of citrus, orchard fruit, nuts and honey that will be the perfect answer to this candy rainbow. Kelsey Banfield, a writer for Babble, chooses Merlot to go with Skittles, because Merlot features ripe red fruit flavors and is lower in tannins which makes it a perfect pairing for Skittles. Wine Expert, Brooke Matthias, prefers a bubby Rose to pair with the assortment of fruit flavors found in skittles. Madeira, Merlot or a bubbly Rose…take your pick or try them all.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – Here is another popular Halloween Candy that is all over the board when it comes to suggested wine pairings. Do you go with a Chardonnay, Lambrusco or Cabernet Sauvignon? Kelsey Banfield says, “An oaky, buttery chardonnay is the perfect complement to a smooth, chocolatey peanut butter cup. The higher acid content cuts through the richness of the chocolate.” Another theory is that a Cabernet Sauvignon offers profiles of jammy fruit which will complement the chocolatey peanut butter combo. Others even say a Gamay or Lambrusco. Peanut butter cups are delicious on their own, so it sounds like anything goes!

There are many other combinations to try. Consider Twix with a Syrah, Kit Kat with Pinot Noir, Whoppers with a Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir, Twizzlers with a Pinot Noir or a Rose, Jolly Ranchers with Gewurztraminer and Snickers with Champagne, Syrah or a Dry Red Blend like Corazon Gitano.

Regardless of what you decide your favorites are, everyone will have a good time experimenting and discovering what the different wines do on your palates combined with the sweets.


Heart of the Desert is a working pistachio ranch and vineyard with four retail establishments in New Mexico. They are best known for their farm fresh pistachios and Award-Winning New Mexico wines. Each store offers wine and pistachio tastings. They offer worldwide shipping and produce attractive gourmet baskets that make great corporate and family gifts. The main store, on the ranch in Alamogordo, offers farm tours that showcases how pistachios are grown and processed as well as a stunning Tuscany themed patio that overlooks the groves and is available for weddings, private parties or enjoying a relaxing glass of wine.