By Sue Shelden   |   Sunday, October 19, 2014 at 1:02 pm   |   Leave a Comment »

Halloween isn’t just for pint-sized ghouls, anymore. More and more grown-ups are making the most of the holiday, dressing up, partying and even trick-or-treating. Finally, the wise folks that created the wine app Vivino have come up with suggested wine pairings for Halloween candy–just in time for your big Halloween Bash!

The basic concepts are’t rocket science. White wines are best with fruity flavors, reds are better with chocolates. I’m sure it required YEARS of diligent research, blind taste tests and probably lots federal grants, but the results are finally available to the general wine-drinking public and are revealed below:

Vivino’s Ultimate Guide to Wine Pairing with Halloween Candy

Dry White Wines (White Table Wines, Sauvignon Blanc, Grüner Veltliner, Pinot Grigio, Albariño)
Sweet White Wines (Gewürztraminer, Müller-Thurgau, Malvasia, Moscato, Riesling)
Starbursts, Skittles, Candy Corn, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate
Rich White Wines (Chardonnay, Roussanne, Marsanne, Voigner)
Candy Corn, Butterfinger, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate
Sparkling Wines (Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, Sparkling Rose)
Nerds, Candy Corn, Mounds, Kit Kat
Light Red Wine (St. Laurent, Pinot Noir, Zweigelt, Gamay)
Starburst, Reese’s, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate
Medium Red Wine ((Red Table Wine, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Grenache, Merlot)
Snickers, Kit Kat, M&M’s, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate
Bold Red Wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Monastrell, Aglianico, Malbe, Syrah)
Snickers, Twix, Reese’s, M&M’s
Dessert Wines (Late Harvest, Ice Wine, Sherry, Port, Tawny Port, Ruby Port)
Heath, Reese’s, Snickers, Twix, Tootsie Roll, Mounds

So, Dear Readers, doesn’t this call for a celebration? Invite all your friends over for a Halloween party, complete with paired wine and candy. Happy Halloween!

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By Allen Dale "Ole" Olson   |   Saturday, October 18, 2014 at 7:43 pm   |   Leave a Comment »

Il nous faut sillon qui porte
La promesse d’un vin nouveau.

Yes,  these words from the 1952 Extrait del’Almanach du Beaujolais remind of the necessity of the promise of new wine, especially wine from Beaujolais. I ran across the Almanac in reading a history of Beaujolais by Jean-Jacques Pignard whose family produced the village Beaujolais I had enjoyed enough to send me burrowing through my book shelves. It was a kind of total Beaujolais experience, because I had just watched Anthony Bourdain interact with Paul Bocuse on the CNN series “Parts Unknown” and recalled the times Bocuse had told me how much he liked and used Beaujolais.

As a child, the great chef said that daily consumption of Beaujolais in his father’s restaurant ran to 220 litres, the equivalent of a single barrel. And as I embark on another car trip across the high deserts of the Southwest and eastern California to the Promised Lands of Santa Barbara and Paso Robles, it will be Beaujolais that will sustain the four-or-five-day drive each way, carefully kept on ice, of course.

The biggest reason for Beaujolais is that I like it. I know it’s a wine dismissed by most connoisseurs, but few wines are as consistently friendly, so versatile, and so forgiving about provenance. Nor does Beaujolais care about food matches. Not knowing where I’ll be dining while on the road, I always carry back up provisions of which Beaujolais is a staple.

So between Bourdain and the Pignard family along with my travels, these past days have been something of a Beaujolais immersion. Sometimes things just come together for us wine lovers, and for now Beaujolais stands on my center stage.

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By Allen Dale "Ole" Olson   |   Wednesday, October 15, 2014 at 10:42 am   |   Leave a Comment »

Life has never been easy for the wine producers of the Mosel Valley. Their vines grow on the steepest slopes in the wine world, so steep that part of the grower’s regular duties include carrying by hand the heavy stones from the lower rows of vines back to the upper rows because of constant sliding. Add that duty to being in one of Europe’s most northerly wine zones with fickle weather, and wine life in the Mosel is always a challenge.

But there’s more. There’s the matter of the bridge and the Autobahn. Like the Germans, when I used to drive from Karlsruhe or Kasiserslautern to Luxembourg, I had to use state or secondary highways.There was no super highway, no Autobahn, no direct route. It was either contend with slower roads or go the long way around via Cologne and Aachen. For years, the Mosel producers have been at odds with the Ministry of Transport about whose, if anyone’s, vineyards should be sacrificed for a new highway and a magnificent bridge across the Mosel River.

Still not enough trouble. Besides loving their wines, Germans love car racing, and one of the biggest motor rallies in the country takes place on those twisting roads along the Mosel and its picturesque vineyards. And, as happens in such high speed contests, race cars often leave the road and skid through several rows of vineyards. The upcoming issue of DECANTER reminds us of this unique vineyard threat with a photo of a Finnish driver standing beside his wrecked car after it tore through some prime vines just a day or two before the harvest.

Racing fans aren’t much kinder to the vines. They often watch the races from the vineyards, trampling  the vines going to and from their vantage points and leaving behind their trash.

So the next time you’ re looking over the selection of Mosel wines on your retailer’s shelf, recall the unfriendly climate, the back-breaking labor, the conflicts with modern transportation, and give a shout out to the strong and brave men and women who bring us their elegant wines.

Mosel? On the German side. Moselle in France. It doesn’t matter. The work is hard.


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