Please The Palate Pick of the Week: Sherry Paired with Halloween Candy

If you have a sweet tooth like I do, then Halloween is your favorite holiday. All those little sized candies make me smile as much as they do the kids. And the best part of Halloween is all of the left-over candy. While the kids are parsing out their candy, counting each piece, and selecting which one to enjoy each night, I am sure you wonder how many you can sneak away from their stash without them knowing. And, as you enjoy all of that left-over candy, wash it down with a glass of sherry because this pairing is the Please Palate pick of the week.

A few months ago, I enjoyed a glass of Harvey’s Bristol Cream with s’mores. And this week, I have been enjoying three different expressions of Sherry with my Halloween candy. Sherry is a fortified wine produced in Andalucía, located in the southwest area of Spain. Sherry is made from the Palomino, Muscatel, and Pedro Ximénez white grapes. Sherry comes in many styles, from light and dry to rich and sweet.

González Byass Alfonso Oloroso DO Jerez Xérés ($25)

Made form 100% Palomino Fino, Oloroso is a dry sherry. Oloroso, which means “fragrant”, is fortified to 18% alcohol. The wine is aged for an average of 8 years in American oak casks following the traditional Solera system where it is aged in the absence of flor (yeast).

The wine is a golden amber color. On the nose, nutty and spice aromas flow out of the glass. On the palate, the wine has notes of dried figs, nuts, cinnamon, and a touch of vanilla.

Harveys Bristol Cream DO Jerez Xérés ($20)

A blend of 80% Palomino and 20% Pedro Ximénez (PX), this wine is a unique combination of different sherry styles: Fino, Amontillado, Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez. Harveys Bristol Cream is the only sherry made up of a blend of four different styles of sherry. Each wine is aged separately in the Solera system and then blended together. It is 17.5% alcohol. 

This sherry is a mahogany color with golden specks. The nose is aromatic with notes caramelized apples, raisins and nuts with hints of toffee and spice. On the palate, it is smooth with a creamy mid-palate and bright acidity and finishes with brown sugar notes.

González Byass Nectar Dulce Pedro Ximénez DO Jerez Xérés ($25)
Made from 100% Pedro Ximénez (PX), the grapes are dried in the sun before pressing. This allows the grapes to concentrate and ferment to 7% alcohol and then is fortified to 15% alcohol. The wine remains in cask for an average of 8 years following the traditional Solera system 

The wine is intensely sweet and rich with notes of raisins, figs, honey, and brown sugar. The aromas follow through to the palate where there are added notes of caramel, espresso, toffee, and nuts. 

Just as sherry comes in a variety of styles, so can it be paired with a variety of dishes….and Halloween candy!

González Byass Alfonso Oloroso is typically a wine to enjoy with red meats and stews. But, when it came to Halloween candy, I loved it with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Payday candy bars. The creamy peanut butter of the peanut butter cups or the saltiness of the whole peanuts in the Payday paired beautifully with the nutty yet dry notes of the Oloroso sherry.

Harveys Bristol Cream is typically paired with ice cream, fruit salads, foie gras, or smores. But when it came to Halloween candy, Harveys Bristol Cream works well with most candy. The sweet notes worked with the saltiness of a Payday bar. It also worked with the sweetness of a Kit Kat bar. But, I loved the Bristol Cream the most with the Almond Joy bar, Butterfinger, and Nestle’s Crunch. In the case of the Nestle’s Crunch, the Oloroso was too dry and the Nectar was too sweet, but the Bristol Cream was just the right amount of sweetness balanced with acidity. The acidity also cut through the sugary sweetness of Almond Joy bar and the Butterfinger.

González Byass Nectar Pedro Ximénez can be chilled and enjoyed on its own or poured over ice cream. But with Halloween candy, I loved the rich sweetness of the Nectar with the sweetest and richest caramel candies, such as the Baby Ruth, Milk Duds and Snickers. The Nectar also paired well with the Payday, balancing rich sweetness with savory saltiness.

Whether you have leftover Halloween candy or just a good stash of candy, next time try pairing them with a glass of sherry. It is definitely a grown up way to satisfy your sweet tooth.