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George Edwards

You will recall that everything within reach shall take part in the nibble and sip festivities; wine has so few pairing boundaries. Let's expand your positive pairing options beyond the usual, shall we?

Take Halloween, for instance. There's always some trick or treat leftovers, and wine digs 'em. Karley Pokerville Zinfandel 2009, Rabid Red Blend and Diversion Washington Riesling all scored with chocolate malt balls while Seven Heavenly Chards 2010 was the star of the show. When it came to Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and bars, bottlings ranging from the aforementioned Riesling and Little Pink Dress California Chardonnay to a Spanish Tempranillo, Landers-Jenkins California Cabernet and Lone Wolf Red Blend didn't miss a beat, the latter leading the pack (liked Snickers as well). My most versatile white, the Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc-Viognier, just pulled off a Nestle's Crunch bar but joined Morgan Chardonnay in enjoyment of See's Milk and Dark chocolate confections. The range of successes with the Butterfinger bar was quite impressive and included a German Riesling, Spanish Garnacha and Tempranillo (yes, with a Mound's too) as well as an Italian Pinot Grigio and J. Lohr's Falcon's Perch Monterey Pinot Noir. Two rock stars with Hershey's Cookies and Cream bar were Joel Gott California Cabernet and a mature Zolo Sauvignon Blanc from Argentina. Hats off to Hershey's.

Jumping over to pastries and pies, the Montpellier California Viognier 2010 was the second vintage to earn a thumbs-up with pumpkin pie, and we can add Washington's 14 Hands Hot to Trot Chardonnay and Pinot Gris blend to the list along with Crusher Pinot Noir.


The delicious Sweet Bliss lightly sweet Red Blend was downright delish with Dorothy McNett's pumpkin cheese cake. By the way, the Giselle California Pinot Noir and Lee Family Rose (Pinot Noir with a little Grenache) both earned their stripes with apple pie while the Giesen New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc was fond of the Boston Cream version. As for cookies, chocolate chip ruled and brownie successes included Pinot Noir, Malbec and Fume Blanc. And speaking of variations on the chocolate theme, dipped strawberries were most tasty with both Lucien Albrecht Alsatian Pinot Blanc and California's particularly food-versatile All About Red Blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet and Petite Sirah.

And now here is Dorothy McNett's far more creative exploration. "At the Holiday themed Cookies and Candy Cooking Club meeting I knew I needed to have some vegetables and meat available so that we all could be munching on those while sipping wines and making and tasting the other goodies. It was a fun mix-and-match evening, and the Moscato Bella 2011 was absolutely perfect with the raw vegetables dipped into a semi-spicy and sweet garbanzo bean and tahini hummus. To help balance everything, I placed a thin slice of cheddar cheese on top of my homemade spicy sweet ginger snap cookies that meshed oh-so-nicely with the Moscato. Then we sipped on the Sweet Bliss red blend while enjoying some slivers of sautéed beef along with homemade English toffee topped with dark chocolate and sprinkled with walnuts. What a way to enjoy English toffee! The grand finale was the Spirit Hawk Cabernet Sauvignon with homemade chocolate fudge as well spicy gingerbread cookies and decadent chocolate caramels. The chewy rich dark caramels made a wonderful pairing combination as dark chocolate is so versatile. Everyone was a bit surprised that they enjoyed all these tastings so much and agreed it was due to the quality of the chocolate. I always say that dark chocolate is food, milk chocolate is candy!"

George Edwards is the owner and operator of WineMarket in Pacific Grove. E-mail him directly at or visit his Web site at