Halloween is just around the corner and soon throngs of children clad in costume will embark on the annual marathon to see who can consume the most candy. Unfortunately, for some the pent-up excitement and thrill of trick-or-treating have become nothing more than a faded memory. But just because you’ve outgrown the ghost-and-goblin thing doesn’t mean you can’t find enjoyment on Halloween. Perhaps uncorking a bottle of Halloween-themed wine can help. I know what you're thinking — these must be cheaply made, mass-produced novelty wines. That’s not necessarily true; many wines bearing a rather sinister label or name are indeed quite good, reasonably priced and widely available.
For instance, try the Bogle Vineyards, 2015 Phantom Red from California. This mysterious blend offers vivid aromas of red fruits with hints of spice. Deeply concentrated and full-bodied with ripe flavors of black plums and berries that will tantalize your palate. Hints of cedar and tannin are noticeable on the long, lingering finish. $19
Or how about a bottle of Apothic, 2018 Inferno, from California. This deceptively bold, red wine is aged in whiskey barrels and offers a unique taste profile. On the palate, dark fruit flavors are enhanced by a combination of maple and spice notes that give way to a delightful mouth feel. $15
If you have a penchant for zinfandel, Michael-Davids, 2016 Seven Deadly Zins is indeed sinful. Full-bodied with hints of jam, leather, oak and spice notes. On the palate, the wine is round and layered, showing flavors of dark fruits, currants and toffee through a lingering spice-enhanced finish. $16
Ghost Pines, 2016 Chardonnay, California. This tasteful white is very fruit-forward in style with baked apple, pear and lemon cream flavors, accented by an elegant finish of sweet vanilla and hints of oak. Best of all, the price won’t spook you. $19
The Carnivor, 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is unbelievably rich with layers of blackberry, luscious caramel and smooth toasted oak. Full-bodied and yet silky smooth. This is a monster wine for the money. $12
Vampire, 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, California. This wine really comes alive with enticing aromas of blackberry, ripe plum and mocha. Flavors of black currant and ripe red cherry and blackberry are well-pronounced. Medium-bodied with hints of cocoa and spice tempered by soft tannins that won’t bite. $11
Devils and dragons beware, the 2016 Velvet Devil Merlot from Washington state is divine with a silky smooth texture. This wine offers delicious black fruit, cedar, tobacco and cassis flavors along with a concentrated richness. Medium-bodied with a persistent finish. Pairs nicely with burgers, grilled steak and anything with bacon. $12
The Apothic, 2017 white blend from California, is a beguiling wine with chardonnay, riesling and pinot grigio on a medium-bodied frame. Vibrant and flavorful, this wine offers aromatic floral notes and firm acidity. The weighty texture and body are complemented by refreshing flavors of peach and apricot, leading to a crisp and well-balanced wine. $12
Of course, I can’t guarantee these wines will ward off evil spirits. But one thing is for sure — each is delicious and, of course, nonfrightening. So stop the boo-hooing and start enjoying some of these delightful wines. Cheers!
Wine of the Week: Bosco, Oltrenero NV Brut, Italy. This delicious sparkler is light gold in color with a delicate bouquet of flowers and fresh fruit. On the palate the sharp, clean acidity comes alive with flavor that culminates with a very refreshing finish. Pairs well with chicken, fish and assorted cheeses, or as an aperitif. $37