Halloween food and wine pairings

Candy Corn with Wine

The Story:

If I was a cat, I'd be working on my 5th life.  Here's my list of how I cheated death...

1. Jaundice at birth

2. Swept out to sea while laying on the beach

3. Car shooting

4. Melanoma 

 The Pairing:

I had a hard time pairing candy corn with wine and will probably need a couple more go's at it.  Although the 2006 Forrest Botrytised Riesling from Marlborough, New Zealand is a delicious bottle of dessert wine, its flavors masked that of the candy corn and the wine was slightly sweeter than the food.  I thought the honey-like texture, along with its flavor profile would be a surefire match, but that isn't always the outcome.

If you're wondering what "Botrytised" means, it's basically a mold that develops on the grapes.  Normally mold is bad, but this mold is actually beneficial, helping to dehydrate the grapes and concentrates the flavors, while also adding it's own flavor.  If you'd like to try the wine, you can expect aromas of apricot, honey and toffee (sounds like it would work with candy corn, right) and a silky texture along with beautiful acidity that helps to balance out the sweetness of the wine.  And although the wine sells for around $28 a bottle, it's currently on sell for $15 at Khoury's Fine Wine & Spirits in Las Vegas, Nevada.  To find out more about this wine, please visit: http://www.forrest.co.nz/.


Please let me know your comments in the section below!  Any questions on my list of near death experiences?  What is your list?  Cheers!

Garlic Sticks with Wine

The Story:

Max just turned 2 and Chloe is 3.  No, they're not my children, but they might as well be since they completely run my life.  My two morkies (maltese-yorkies) live the life most people would only dream of.  They sleep all day, have breakfast and dinner served to them and get their bellies rubbed several times daily.  Heaven forbid I go out for drinks or plan a weekend getaway.  Anytime I want to do something out of the ordinary, it requires further planning to make sure these two little pups are well taken care of.  I often question why I took on the responsibility of having dogs.  My life was much easier before them, albeit a lonely one.  The answer came recently when a guest in my home spilled a glass of wine on the floor.  Max and Chloe came running over before I could clean it up and licked every last drop.  I thought, of course my dogs would love wine as much as I do!  Everyone giggled and I smiled thinking about how much happiness they truly bring me.  We're all one big wine loving family!

The Pairing

For Halloween parties, I like to add dog bone garlic sticks with marinara sauce to my line up of spaghetti eyeballs and spider popcorn balls.  They're easy to create and everyone including the dogs are delighted to try them.  My favorite wine store here in Las Vegas, Khoury's Fine Wine, recently introduced me to a bottle of 2007 Giacomo Bologna "Braida Il Baciale" Monferrato Rosso (geez, that's a mouthful) from Piedmont, Italy that I like to pour alongside these tasty snacks.  The wine is made up of 60% Barbera, 20% Pinot Noir, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot.  The wine store owner mentioned that it's not often he sees Italian blends with Pinot Noir in them and thought I should try it out.  The wine has aromas of plum, both red and blackberries and a ton of spice.  It reminded me of my grandmother's potpourri, sprinkled with black pepper.  After a bite of the food and then a sip of the wine, I immediately love how the wine's flavor makes the food suddenly go from boring to delicious.  It's as if the marinara sauce has just had additional spices added to it.  I should also add that the earthiness of the wine works really well with the garlic flavors found in the dish.  Weight-wise, the wine does a good job of standing up to the heaviness of the bread, yet has the acidity to intensify the flavors and cleanse the palate.  Cheers!


Please let me know your comments in the section below!  Do you have dogs that completely run your life?  What foods do you serve at your Halloween parties?  Let's Chat!

Nutter Butters with Wine

The Story:

It's 1 a.m and I've just poured myself a glass of leftover Gruet Chardonnay to help heal the pain.  I've been up crying, mostly on the phone to my mother; sorry mom!  Not to mention, I have black eyeliner smeared all over my face.  It's not the first time wine has come to my rescue, nor I'm sure will it be the last.

In October of 2001, I had my first panic attack.  My brother walked in the room and asked what was wrong, "I think I'm having a heart attack!" I mumbled.   I remember seeing the look of fear on his face.  He threw me in the car and rushed me to the hospital.  After an EKG and a lingering pain in my chest, I was diagnosed as having a panic attack.  No one knows why they happen.  I guess you just get to a place of overwhelming fear and your body reacts.

The next couple years were rough.  I dreaded having another panic attack so greatly that my blood pressure was through the roof.  The doc wanted to put me on Zoloft but I didn't think it was the best solution (plus, ladies, you totally loose your interest in men; might be a good thing now that I think about)!  So, when I felt anxious or nervous, I would keep wine in the fridge and have a sip or two to help calm me down.  I think it was White Zin but who cares, right?

Although I thought I was going "nutty" from fear of having another panic attack, riding in cars or not having a hospital nearby, I eventually regained my sanity.  This evening, I call on wine to help heal me once more, but for different reasons this time.  The stress that comes with wanting something that you don't know you will ever achieve is more than I can bare.  I know many of you aren't religious but I hope I don't offend you by saying that I called out to God (screamed, really) for help.  I often pray but tonight was more than a prayer.  I want to get back to the place where I enjoy my life again, where I do things for joy, not for what the final outcome will be.

So tonight, as wine helps me to lick my wounds and dry my tears, I realize that life is about more than the final destination...and I'm going to be ok no matter what the result is, because really, I have everything I've ever wanted, right here, right now.  Cheers.

The Pairing:

I've already wrote more than enough to bore you, but what I will say is that this is one of my favorite pairings of all time.  The 2007 Gruet Chardonnay from Albuquerque, New Mexico , along with Nutter Butters proves the power that wine and food have together.  Although both are easy to enjoy individually, combined they create greatness.  Both the wine and food are creamy and buttery on the palate, mirroring each other.  The peanut butter flavor is also taken to a whole new level and intensified, yet the flavor of the wine still lingers in the background along with a hint of citrus.  And if you're looking for an inexpensive, Burgundian style (area in France that specializes in this grape) Chardonnay...this is your wine.  Cheers!


Please let me know your comments in the section below!  I mentioned wine is always there when I'm hurting, but it's also by my side for all my successes too.  When has wine been there for you?  Let's chat!

Caramel Popcorn with Wine

The Story:

I have a question, is caramel pronounced CARE-uh-mel or CAR-mul?  Isn't it annoying how several words have different ways of saying them?  For instance, the word aunt.  Do you pronounce it ON-t or ANT?  What about tomato, is it TOE-may-toe or TOE-ma-toe?  How the hell or we supposed to know?  Should I do a search on Forvo.com or hire a speech therapist?  Lord knows I have a hard enough time with all the French, Italian and worst of all, Greek wine names and terms (Caution, beware of wine snobs when pronouncing wine terms...I've embarrassed the heck out of myself)!  It seems like the difference between looking like a complete idiot who doesn't know English often has to do with where you were raised.  Take the word soda for instance.  Part of the country calls it pop.  Growing up, I distinctly remember my grandmother referring to Wednesday as WHENS-dee and the refrigerator as the "ice box."  One thing is for sure, when caramel is mixed with salty popcorn and just the right wine, no one is paying attention to how you say it!

The Pairing:

To kick off the month of October, I've decided to pair a Halloween favorite, caramel popcorn with wine.  To achieve this I chose a bottle of 2008 Trisaetum Riesling ($29.99)  from the Willamette Valley of Oregon (and let me tell you, if you haven't tried Oregon Riesling, you're in for a huge surprise)!  The name of the producer is pronounced TRIS-a-tum (since we're on the subject of pronouncing things correctly!).  "Wine Enthusiast" gave the wine 94 points out of 100 saying, "dense and still light, it brings honey, tea, lemon, nectarine, jasmine, lime, caramel and sweet nut flavors together, a riotous jumble that is beyond delicious."  Ok, I'm convinced:)~  After a bite of the food and then a sip of the wine, I notice the sugar levels are right on par.  The acidity in the wine lengthens the caramel flavor of the popcorn and the two come together seamlessly.  I also like that the wine has a syrupy texture, similar to the film that's left on the tongue by the popcorn, but yet has refreshing acidity to wash the grease/oil and salt off the tongue.  What a great way to start fall, don't you think?

Just an FYI, this wine is sold out on their website http://trisaetum.com.  However, Khoury's Fine Wine and Spirits should still have a few bottles in stock, here in Las Vegas.  Good luck and cheers!


Please let me know your comments in the section below!  What words do you have a hard time pronouncing?  What do you enjoy eating during the month of October? Let’s chat!