Port Wine Paired with Pilfered Halloween Candy!

Port wines paired with Halloween candy

Solid advice on which candy to “disappear” from the kids haul

A New Halloween Tradition: Steal This Candy
It’s a new thing: adults purchase a nice bottle of Port to enjoy with Halloween candy stolen from their children’s haul. No kidding, they’ll never miss a Butterfinger or two! And, one of the major advantages of Port: you can enjoy it over a few weeks with small daily “samples” from the remaining pile of candy.  Last year we found Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups to be a great match with Graham’s 10 Year Tawny Port. OK, what’s up this year?

Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) and 10 year Tawny Ports

Know the difference between your LBV and your Tawny

Port Basics
Port starts life as a deeply extracted red wine who’s fermentation has been stopped by the addition of neutral grape spirits. The wine is deeply colored and sweet before being aged for a time in barrel, then bottled.  Vintage ports are only aged for about two years before bottling. Late Bottled Vintage Ports are held in barrel a bit longer than vintage ports then bottled and released after a few years. The idea is to offer the vintage experience in a more affordable form. Tawny ports spend years in barrel and are only bottled shortly before sale. All that time in barrel allows the wines to fade to a pretty tawny color and to take on oxidized, nutty aromas and flavors. Tawny ports are blends of multiple vintages and are labeled for the aging their flavor approximates.

Dow's 2011 Late Bottled Vintage Porto

Dow’s 2011 Late Bottled Vintage Porto

Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) Port 2011 (sample, $24 SRP)
This wine is deeply colored and flavored with elegant earthy dark blue fruit. Moderately sweet, the wine is also a bit tannic and has plenty of acidity to balance that sweetness. Personally, I don’t need anything to pair with an LBV port, they are so satisfying all by themselves. However, we do have an assignment today!

Warre's Otima 10 Year Tawny Port

Warre’s Otima 10 Year Tawny Port

Warre’s Otima 10 Year Old Tawny Port (sample, $26 SRP)
Among tawny ports, Warre’s offers a line of traditional tawny ports as well as the Otima line.
The Otima 10 year Tawny Port is a modern interpretation and offers a bit less of the musty basement/nutty side of traditional tawny ports. Otima features ripe fruits, bringing to mind peach pie, figs, with just a touch of the nutty side.

Port wines paired with stolen halloween candy

Will the kids miss the chocolates or the fruity treats more? A dilemma…

Pairing Wine with Candy
As much as people talk about pairing dry red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon with chocolate, the truth is that it really isn’t a great pairing unless the chocolate is super dark or if the Cab is super ripe. You’re much better off choosing a wine that is at least as sweet as the food (candy in this case).  Port fills the bill perfectly. We gathered several of our favorite “steal this” candies as well as a couple of new choices to go with the more fruit forward Otima. Who won?

Last year, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups won the competition, so we had them sit this one out.  Fruit candies like Dots (they don’t seem to be a big snack size choice these days) and Gummy Bears were nice with the Otima, but I’d still opt for Butterfinger. Butterfinger seemed to be an all around winning choice with both ports. The Dow’s LBV seemed a bit majestic for Halloween candy, Kit Kats were a good choice as well. Interestingly, M&M’s didn’t seem to win with anything, even though they’re a favorite of mine.

Reconsider Your Life of Crime
Do you really need to steal Halloween candy? Why not pick up an bar or two of your favorite dark chocolate to enjoy while your kids count their loot? They’ll be happier and so will you. Anyway, have fun and have a Happy Halloween!

Final Port Notes
I love Ports for dessert, here are a few of my previous experiences:

Disclosure: The ports were samples provided by the wineries, all opinions are my own.

Port Wine and Pilfered Halloween Candy at www.foodwineclick.com

 

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