Monday, October 28

Wine Review: Wine Pairing ~ Francis Ford Coppola Wine and Halloween Candy

Okay, let’s say that you like wine.

I mean realllllly like wine.

And … Halloween is around the corner.

Or … just passed by.

You will, or have done, the dutiful (and fun) act of handing out treats to the goblins, princesses and super heroes of the neighborhood. Or, perhaps, your own child went a-hunting for treats on the eve of ghouls.
Either way ~ you have an abundance of candy leftover, or not handed out yet.

Sitting temptingly in a plastic pumpkin, giant holiday bucket or bag.

Chocolate coated most likely.

Wine snobs aside (as far away as possible, please), you have a craving.

Chocolate and wine.

There’s no spectacular, over-the-top expensive, chocolate in the house and you are craving a glass of vino
with a little bit of chocolate.

You eyeball the plastic pumpkin with a handle sitting by the front door. And your mind begins to whirl…

What if …

What if you take the wine and drink it with the oh-so-everyday Halloween candy? Will the wine
 aficionados come out the woodwork ~ like so many G-Men ~ ready to gun you down with snarky
 remarks and high-browed insults about points, dissing you about your lack of palate and culture?



But, honestly, who cares about them anyway? Seriously, do they buy your wine (or chocolate)? Do they
sit at your dinner table and compliment your cooking?

No? I didn't think so.

So … their opinion truly does not matter in this case. Or, maybe, in any case ~ but that is a whole other

The folks at Francis Ford Coppola Winery (yes, the Godfather movie director guy) invited me, no asked me ~ nay dared me ~ to do a wine pairing. A wine pairing of their wines with ... Halloween candy. I guess you could say they gave me an offer I couldn't refuse.


I would like to think it is because they believe I am an expert in these matters. But I know it’s more likely they have figured out I am willing to do what others won’t. So, I give you my findings and preferences of wine and leftover trick-or-treat candy.

Okay, anyone who follows me at all is aware of my preference for Reisling, Traminette and ~ well, pretty
much any white other than Chardonnay. However, it is what they sent and they do it better than the majority which explains their taking Best in Show at the 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

With its apple and caramel-vanilla flavors, the Chard goes best with ghoulish candies like Payday, peanut butter kisses and Reese's.

This blend of Zinfandel/Syrah/Cabernet/Petite Syrah/Merlot gets all fruity on you, reminding me of the communion grape juice sipped in church as a child. I like blends, even defending them as the occasion requires. A great find since we are tasting candy with the wine, which actually has a deeper layer of toasted oak and hearty back-end flavor.

The second layer is what captured my attention and I went with Almond Joy bars with this one, along with Hershey's candy bars. Of the three, this was the one I felt was my least favorite. Not of the wine, it was quite good. I just wasn't wild about the candy pairing. Perhaps it would have paired better with chocolate-covered peanuts.

This Bordeaux varietal blend of Cabernet/Petite Verdot/Cab Franc/Malbec is rich with espresso and anise, along with a touch of cocoa.

This balanced wine (and Coppola's signature wine) cozies up perfectly with Halloween treats. My favorite pairing is any caramel goody covered in chocolate. I went with Milkduds and Twix and was quite pleased with the match. My favorite of the three pairing combinations, this wine (in my opinion) would go with almost anything or nothing ~

Images by E. J. Musgrave

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel, food, wine and spirits columnist, freelance writer and photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Read Infused, her spirits, wine & beer lifestyle column, at and and catch her as Indy’s Personal Lifestyle Adviser on Indy Style, WISH8 (CBS). Gotta Go is published on,, and in print. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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