|Wine and Candy Challenge
It's scary how well wine and candy can go together
For our Halloween tasting, we selected a wide variety of wines to try with candy, ranging from a dry white St.-Joseph to a sweet, nutty Madeira. Here is a rundown of each style we tried, with a few recently reviewed examples.
-- Alison Napjus
Chardonnay, probably the most well-known white wine grape, is made in a wide variety of styles in many wine-producing areas. Malolactic fermentation and oak fermentation and/or aging are frequently used techniques that have a notable effect on the finished wines. Many of Chile's top Chardonnays undergo these treatments, resulting in smooth wines that integrate white fruit flavors with toast and spice notes.
|Casa Lapostolle Chardonnay Casablanca Valley Cuvée Alexandre 2001||89||$20|
|Lovely elegance here, with the toast and hazelnut notes playing second fiddle to the fig, pear and quince fruit. Stylish, juicy finish shows fine length. Drink now through 2003. -- J.M.|
|Casa Lapostolle Chardonnay Casablanca Valley 2001||88||$10|
|Alluring toast aroma, with elegant pear tartine, honey and fig notes and a full, juicy finish. Nicely done. Drink now. 14,000 cases made. -- J.M.|
|Concha y Toro Chardonnay Pirque Marqués de Casa Concha 2000||88||$14|
|Medium-weight peach, cream and pear flavors, with subtle spice and toast notes. Round and mouthfilling, with the fruit lingering on the finish. Delicious. Drink now. 8,800 cases made. -- J.M.|
Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre
The Loire Valley, in France, produces some of the world's best Sauvignon Blancs, hidden behind the names of the region's appellations, including Sancerre. While the grape is identical to its New World counterparts from New Zealand and California, Sancerres are typically less fruit-forward, with more prevalent herbal and mineral notes.
|Domaine de la Chézatte Sancerre 2000||88||$20|
|Lovely combination of melon, gooseberry and grass aromas and flavors on a light- to medium-bodied, vivid structure. All the elements are integrated and balanced. Delicious. Drink now. -- B.S.|
|Baudry Père & Fils Sancerre Domaine de Rome 2000||87||$15|
|A more classic style of Sancerre, delivering a range of citrus flavors, accented by grass and mineral on a live-wire structure. Ideal as an aperitif or with light foods. Drink now. 4,000 cases made. -- B.S.|
|Pascal Jolivet Sancerre 2000||87||$19|
|Rich and medium-bodied, offering grass, earth and melon flavors that begin generously, washed away by a citrus acidity that leaves a tart, chalky impression on the finish. Better with food. Drink now. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. -- B.S.|
St.-Joseph is an appellation in the northern part of France's Rhône Valley that is best-known for its red wines. However, about 10 percent of the area's production is white wine, made from the Marsanne and Roussanne grapes. These whites are typically dry and medium- to full-bodied.
|E. Guigal St.-Joseph White Lieu-Dit St.-Joseph 2001||91||$25|
|Wonderful. Ultrathick, creamy and oozing with ripe fruit. This silky, full-bodied white has blanched almond, melon, roasted bread and intense toastiness on the long finish. This vineyard site is the birthplace of the wider St.-Joseph appellation. Marsanne and Roussanne. Drink now through 2004. 625 cases made. -- P.M.|
|Domaine Chèze St.-Joseph White Cuvée Ro-Rée 2001||90||$19|
|Flamboyant Northern Rhône white. Rich, lovely, thick and just a very charming white, full of tropical, fig, buttery and melon aromas and flavors. Lush, round, a bit soft, but with enough citrus notes on the finish to keep it lively. Drink now through 2004. 830 cases made. -- P.M.|
|E. Guigal St.-Joseph White 2001||87||$20|
|Clean like a lemon tart. Beautiful and supple wine, with a crisp core, turning it up with tropical notes on the balanced finish. Lacks the intense fruit concentration of the best '01 Northern Rhône whites, but it's delicious nonetheless. Drink now through 2003. 750 cases made. -- P.M.|
Eiswein (the German term for "ice wine") can be made in many wine-producing areas, but the best-known examples come from Germany. Each year, winemakers leave a small portion of their grapes on the vines, waiting for the first frost. When it arrives, they act quickly, harvesting the grapes while frozen. The grapes are also pressed while still frozen, leaving most of the water behind with the skins of the grape. The result is an unctuous wine with extremely concentrated flavors.
|St.-Urbans-Hof Riesling Eiswein Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Ockfener Bockstein 2000||92||$65/375ml|
|Incredibly fresh, like a supercharged auslese, this eiswein boasts peach, apricot, ginger and citrus elements on a delicate, vivid frame. Very succulent, harmonious and long on the finish. Drink now through 2012. 25 cases made. -- B.S.|
|Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Riesling Eiswein Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Bernkasteler Lay 2000||90||$72/375ml|
|Exotic version, exhibiting pineapple, coconut and citrus notes backed by screeching acidity. Dense, it needs time to integrate the residual sugar and acidity. Best from 2004 through 2020. 35 cases made. -- B.S.|
|Fitz-Ritter Riesling Eiswein Pfalz Dürkheimer Hochbenn 2000||88||$80/375ml|
|Clean and piercing, with apple, pear and citrus flavors, all on a light-bodied frame. A touch of coarseness on the finish that should dissipate as the sweetness integrates. Drink now through 2010. 230 cases made. -- B.S.|
These fortified wines come from the island of Madeira, off the coast of Portugal. A variety of techniques are used to continuously heat the wine for three months or more, resulting in an array of rich flavors. This slow "cooking" process also contributes to Madeira's ageability -- it is an extremely long-lived style of wine, and even an opened bottle will retain its flavors almost indefinitely.
|Leacock's Bual Madeira 10 year old Medium Rich NV||90||$33|
|Very distinctive burnt treacle aroma, followed by concentrated flavors of caramel, walnut, iodine and green tea. There's grip and length, with power on the back end. Drink now. -- B.S.|
|Blandy's Sercial Madeira 5 year old NV||88||$19|
|A delicious mouthful of walnut, coffee and butterscotch intermingles with the rich texture, all kept in focus by vivid acidity. Fine lingering finish, with an aftertaste of walnut and pleasant astringency. Drink now. -- B.S.|
|Cossart Gordon Bual Madeira 10 year old NV||88||$33|
|Rich with caramel, chocolate and burnt flavors, this Madeira is powerful, yet balanced, showing a salty taste along with a spirity character, ending with a long aftertaste of coffee and nuts. Drink now. -- B.S.|
Sherry is a fortified wine produced in the Andalusia region of southwestern Spain. A system of fractional blending, known as solera, is used to make the wine. In the solera system, a portion of Sherry from the oldest cask in the cellar is drawn off and replaced with Sherry from the next oldest cask, which is replaced with Sherry from the next oldest cask, and so on. While a small number of Sherries labeled "oloroso" are dry wines, the majority are dessert-style wines ranging from off-dry to very sweet.
|Antonio Barbadillo Oloroso Jerez Seco Cuco NV||90||$30|
|An intense oloroso, that wears its cloak of toffee, cocoa and mocha over a sinewy frame. Terrific cut on the dry finish, etching the flavors into a bracing conclusion. Long nutty aftertaste. Drink now. 5,000 cases made. -- B.S.|
|Antonio Barbadillo Oloroso Jerez Dulce Amoroso San Rafael NV||88||$22|
|Sweet and viscous in texture, sporting caramel, chocolate and prune notes that pick up a pleasant bitterness on the finish, balancing the whole presentation. Drink now. 7,000 cases made. -- B.S.|
|Vinicola Hidalgo Oloroso Jerez Especial NV||88||$18|
|A fairly dry oloroso, lending a leanness in profile, yet no shortage of caramel, coffee and walnut flavors, picking up a bittersweet chocolate note on the finish. Drink now. -- B.S.|
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions