Tulips are popping up, black tights are banished to the bottom of the closet, and the drugstores are resplendent with candy that is somehow both neon and pastel at the same time: Spring is here!
Amid this sugar-bomb season, we're putting our cheat days to good use. There will be no wasted effort in our snacking. We reached out to Ryan O’Connell, the self-described "geek winemaker" and marketing pro of the crowd-funded wine business Naked Wines, to find out the optimal pour to pair with each variety of Easter candy.
From sugar-crusted marshmallow Peeps to the traditionally decadent chocolate bunny, read on to see what wines will enhance your spring snacking. Cheers!
1. Chocolate Bunny with a Deep Red Wine
First up on our list is the Jennifer Aniston of the Easter basket: the chocolate bunny. Beautiful and forever a crowd-pleaser, the chocolate bunny is the star of everyone's sugar haul.
"Chocolate is a little easier to pair because if you have a deep red wine you love and a rich delicious chocolate you love, you're gold," explains O’Connell. "My personal penchant is to take a big red with some sweetness. I turned to a ripasso style Italian wine called Appassimento which is extra ripe and almost raisin-y delicious because the winemaker sun-dried the grapes to make them more concentrated and extremely flavored. It's rich and goes well with chocolate." Whatever red wine you pick, O'Connell suggests you go big or go home: "The darker and richer, the better."
Candy: Godiva Chocolate Bunny and Eggs, $30; amazon.com
Wine: Christian Patat Appassimento 2014, $19; nakedwines.com
2. Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs with a Sherry-Style Wine
"Sherry-styled wines are a classic pairing for peanut butter," says O'Connell of the sweet-and-salty snacking standby. For the richness of Reese's chocolate-and-peanut-butter confection, try pairing a sweet wine that will compliment both the nuttiness and sugariness. "A nice sip of a ROX Late Harvest has a refreshing nutty quality (and still some sweetness to pair with the candy) that gets you aching for another bite." Consider yourself warned—a major binge session is eminent!
Candy: Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs, $11 for 6; amazon.com
Wine: Scott Peterson's ROX Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2013, $30; nakedwines.com
3. Jelly Beans with Pinot Grigio
To stand up to the fruity nature of jelly beans, O'Connell prescribes a sleek white wine: "Jelly beans are juicy and sweet so we would recommend to pair them with an icy, super-crisp pinot grigio."
Candy: Superfruit Jelly Beans, $40 for 2.5 lbs; sugarfina.com
Wine: Stephen Millier Angel's Reserve Pinot Grigio Lodi 2015, $16; nakedwines.com
4. Peeps with a Prosecco-Style Wine
Peeps are probably the most go-for-broke, unapologetically sugary treat on our list. So what exactly do you pair with an ooey-gooey marshmallow rolled in neon sugar? O'Connell says it's time to get sparkling. "Peeps are undeniably sweet and fluffy so I'd pour a wine that is also sweet and not too structured. I love prosecco-style wines for this: sparkling with a touch of sweetness that doesn't take itself too seriously."
Candy: Original Peeps, $13 for 20; amazon.com
Wine: Keith Hock Bollicine in Bianco, $22; nakedwines.com
5. Cadbury Creme Eggs with a Dry Beaujolais
This spring treat turned out to be the trickiest to pair with a wine on our list. Fear not: the Naked Wines team kept taste testing until they had the perfect pour to recommend. (Our heroes!)
"The Cadbury Creme Egg is so sweet and rich that it was hard to pair with another sweet wine," explains O'Connell. "Instead, we went with a bone-dry Beaujolais called 'La Rose Pourpre.' The deep purple wine is rich and lush and dripping with red fruit like strawberry and raspberry. In this pairing, the wine is almost like a hearty food, the foundation of the meal—and the egg is just a little treat that you take a creamy caramel sip from. . . [It turned out to be] the weirdest pairing we tried—and a wild success! "
Candy: Cadbury Creme Egg, $13 for 12; amazon.com
Wine: Mickael Lachaud’s Beaujolais VV La Rose Pourpre 2014, $20; nakedwines.com
6. Flavored Peeps with a Ruby Port
Love 'em or hate 'em, Peeps continue to multiply in flavors, shapes, and varieties season by season. "Flavored peeps are tough [to pair] because the flavors are so big and artificial. We recommend a big wine with some sweetness and some less artificial, more natural fruit flavors to pair," says O'Connell. For example, match blue raspberry Peeps with a Ruby Port. "The blue raspberry has this sweet, fake berry flavor and the ruby port has an intensely deep real berry flavor so they go great together."
Candy: Raspberry Peeps, $5 for 10; amazon.com
Wine: Montaria Ruby Port Reserva, $24; nakedwines.com
7. Robin Eggs with a Petite Sirah
If your candy profile is partial to malted milk flavors, you'll want to pair up Robin Eggs with a "big intense petite sirah that plows over the malt ball flavor and rounds out that rich milk-chocolate feeling," says O'Connell.
Bonus: pairing the Whoopers-style candy with sirah can envoke movie-theater memories. "Stephen Millier's petite sirah almost tastes like cherry cola so it's a classic movie theater pairing—malt balls and Cherry Coke—except now it has wine in it!" Win-win.
Candy: Robin Eggs, $8 for 13.75 oz.; amazon.com
Wine: F. Stephen Millier Black Label Reserve Petite Sirah Calaveras County 2014, $18; nakedwines.com