Featuring spooky costumes, classic films, and costume-wearing children roaming the streets, Halloween is officially upon us. As the holiday and its festivities have become more and more popular, “spooky season” seems to be a bigger celebration than ever before. Yet, with all its pageantry and scary fun, have you ever stopped to wonder where it all began? In this article, we take a peek behind the ghostly curtain and offer you fantastic wine pairings for every aspect of Halloween!
Halloween’s Mysterious Origins
Although today’s Halloween traditions are primarily celebrated in the United States, many enthusiasts would be surprised to learn that the holiday’s origins are not American at all. Halloween is, in fact, a blend of Christian and Pagan practices stemming from two historic autumn celebrations – the Celtic harvest festival of Samhain and the Christian holiday called All Saints Day. However, Christianity’s impact on Halloween mostly ends with its name and date. Historically, All Saints Day was referred to as All Hallows Day, meaning that the night before (October 31) would be All Hallows Eve. The Scottish rendition of this term turned All Hallows Eve into Halloween, which the Scots had shortened like so – (All) Hallow(s) E(v)en.
The rest of this especially haunted day is primarily rooted in the Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts of old believed that during the festival, spirits were allowed to walk the earth. Therefore, in order to fend them off, they would need to wear disguises. But why did they decide to wear particularly scary ones? One theory is that the Celtic people would leave food outside of their houses to appease the spirits, and that people eventually began dressing as spirits themselves to claim the free food! Finally, even the famous Halloween colours of black and orange can be traced back to the festival, during which black had symbolized the end of summer (its death!) and orange, the harvest season.
To honour Halloween’s interesting Celtic origins, we suggest picking up one of the fantastic “Celtic” whiskies found on iDealwine.com! What better way to honour such a spooky holiday than with “spirits” hailing from the lands of its origin?
If Irish Whisky is your taste, we suggest picking up a bottle of Waterford Organic. The producer takes a winemaker’s approach to distillation, aging its whiskies in a blend of Bourbon (42%) American (17%) and French (23%) oak casks.
For fans of Scotch whisky wishing to pay tribute to the way Halloween got its name, we suggest a Lagavulin Single Malt, Distillers Edition. This beautifully crafted Scotch imparts flavours of vanilla, salt and liquorish on the palate, alongside a rugged bouquet of peat and smoke on the nose.
Petrifying Popcorn Pairings for Halloween Classics
No spooky season would be complete without Halloween movies. Whether you stick with classic family favourites like Halloweentown and Hocus Pocus, or full-fledged horror movies, the most important ingredient is often the popcorn. Thankfully, this delicious snack simply begs to be paired, especially in its salty and buttery renditions. The most famous varietal partner to salty, buttery popcorn is Chardonnay – More specifically, an oaky, full-bodied Chardonnay. We recommend picking up the En Chatenay Cuvée Zen by Bret Brothers? The wine is produced from old vines in the Pouilly-Fuissé appellation and fermented in oak barrels for 11 months alongside native yeasts.
Chilling Candy Pairings for Trick or Treating
Another mainstay of Halloween is the candy and trick or treating. While we tell ourselves that this aspect of the holiday is meant for children, adults around the world secretly know that they will be sneaking some candy out of the bag for themselves. Sweets can be a particularly difficult item to pair, but there’s no harm in giving it a shot!
To begin, one of our favourite candy pairings is that of Beaujolais and M&M’s. The light milk chocolate and candy coated exterior of M&M’s are well-known as an ideal partner to light bodied Gamay’s. Therefore, we can’t help but recommend the Fleurie Bel Air by Grosse Pierre, a floral Beaujolais Cru aged in concrete vats to preserve its fruit flavours. If dark chocolate is more your style, we suggest pairing a Hershey’s Special Dark with Chateau Poujeaux. The dryer dark chocolate will perfectly compliment the well-structured tannins and ripe fruit flavours found in this world-class Bordeaux.
BONUS: Bewitched Bottles with Haunted Labels
For Halloween wines to pair with your costumes, why not go with a spooky label?
We all know that no Halloween is complete without witches. So, why not have a witch displayed right on your wine label? Les Sorcières by Clos des Fées is the perfect wine for such an occasion. In addition to the fun, Halloween-themed label, you’ll get a wine made by one of Roussillon’s most accomplished and well-respected producers.
Finally, for something scarier side, we suggest going for the Vin de France Méphisto by Domaine de l’Ecu. The label features a demon of Faustian legends, named Mephisto, who historically acted as an assistant to the devil. To all of our fellow wine enthusiasts celebrating Halloween this season, iDealwine would like to wish you a happy Halloween full of spooky fun and delicious pairings! To create Halloween pairings of your own, don’t forget to check out our current ongoing auctions and fixed price selection!