Trick or Treating: An Evening Paired with Wine
Let me be clear: I’m not advocating drinking while being in charge of a group of children that are going door to door asking for candy. My idea of trick-or-treating is sitting at home and handing out candy. I feel like drinking wine at home on Halloween keeps you in the spirit and probably makes you more generous in the candy-giving department, which the kids will appreciate.
Some people get really into Halloween. They decorate their house, dress up and get the best candy to hand out to all the neighborhood kids. But there are some that are more of the “leave a bowl and a note in front of the door” kind of trick-or-treater hosts. Whichever way you like to do All Hallows’ Eve, I’ve got a perfect wine to pair with your style.
Do you love Halloween? I’m talking about picking your costume out in July and as soon as it isn’t weird to put out decorations, your house is covered in spider webs and jack-o-lanterns. You probably have some prime trick-or-treating real estate and are geared up for volumes of kids to come knock on your door. I’d suggest something crisp and refreshing. You won’t have much time to enjoy a glass of wine because you’ll be busy keeping the candy stocked and the spooky vibe alive all night. Try a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand or a glass of Prosecco to keep it light and fun. (Try: 2015 Ranga Ranga Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand $15 or Neirano Prosecco, Italy $16).
If you’re one of those people that likes to leave a bowl of candy out front with a note that says “take one,” then you’ve got some extra time to really enjoy the wine. Start out by decanting. Decanting is a timely process that involves pouring from the bottle into a large, glass vessel that will help the wine open up. It forces more oxygen onto the juice and can soften it. By now, you’re down to half a bowl of Laffy Taffy and you can really sink in to the wine and enjoy it. I’d suggest a big, beefy Merlot from Washington or a Shiraz from Australia. These wines have the body and structure to be in it for the long haul. They are perfect for a long night. (Try: 2012 Seven Hills Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, Wa. $43 or 2014 Molly Dooker “Carnival of Love” Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Australia $85).
Last but not least, the parent or family friend that held hands, walked miles guiding and making memories, and somehow prevented the mass consumption of an entire bag of candy. You deserve something, too. For the come down after the evening, what better way to enjoy the end of the night than a dessert wine? You’ll need something to sip, and Madiera or Sherry is perfect for that. The wines are fortified so they have a little higher alcohol content to them. It’s not like drinking whiskey. You’re looking at a difference from 14.5% in most red wines, to about 18% in these. Taking that into consideration, pouring a full glass like it’s a Cabernet is a bad idea. You wouldn’t finish it. Pour about two to three ounces and enjoy sipping it. You could even sneak a little chocolate out of the haul and pair a piece or two. (Try: Broadbent Madeira Reserve 5 Years Old, Madeira $28 if you prefer dry or Lustau East India Solera Cream Sherry, Spain $28 if you prefer sweet).
For the record: You don’t need pairings to take down decorations but they definitely help.
Judd Smith is a local wine enthusiast who also works as Cadre Hospitality Group’s beverage director. To read more from Smith, check out his blog at www.BeardandBarrelBlog.com.