Sally and I had a few friends over for a "HalloWine" party last Saturday night. The wine theme was "favorites under $20" and Sally was able to pair each one with a finger food, a cheese, and even a Halloween candy! The tasting was blind, so our guests also got to decide whether each wine was a trick or a treat.
1st Place - 2008 Cycles Gladiator Pinot Noir (100% Treat)
This was the only wine to get 100% "Treat" votes. Cycles Gladiator makes an outstanding Pinot Noir, and it tastes even better when you know how inexpensive it is! It has a nice balance of earthiness with fruit and went very well with all our pairings.
- Finger food: mixed veggie tray, pigs in a blanket
- Cheese: smoked Gouda, Camembert
- Candy: Hot Tamales
This is probably the wine we recommend to friends and family most often, so it was good to see it do well in our tasting. It's a dry Sauvignon Blanc (hence, "Fume Blanc") that is a very smooth drinker and goes well with a wide variety of food.
- Finger food: cranberry feta pinwheels with ham
- Cheese: lemon feta spread
- Candy: candy corn
I've got nuthin' to say about this one because I voted "Trick". It wasn't my favorite, but many of our guests said the wine grew on you, especially with food.
- Finger food: pepperoni pizza bites
- Cheese: aged cheddar, Dubliner
- Candy: Skittles
This wine was exactly what a good, inexpensive bottle of wine should be. An easy drinker that's light on flavors, tannins, and alcohol taste so it goes well with a wide variety of food.
- Finger food: open-face London broil sandwiches (mmmmm, soooo good!)
- Cheese: blue Stilton, brie
- Candy: Hershey's Miniatures
Hard to believe a Hess didn't fair well, but it drew mixed reviews from our guests. Some really enjoyed its neutral Chardonnay flavors - not too much butter and not too much tart fruit. Others felt the flavor was a little 'off' and they didn't like it with their food.
- Finger food: vegetable egg rolls
- Cheese: Monterey jack, double cream Gouda
- Candy: Reece's Peanut Butter Cups