Let's be honest: Halloween is not a holiday that typically conjures up images of wine drinking.
Visions of miniature Snickers bars, pumpkin-flavored beer and slutty costumes? Absolutely. Still, as any serious wine lover will assure you, not even the omnipresence of glowing jack-o'-lanterns needs to get in the way of drinking your
witch's brew wine this weekend.
Plan to scoop up any one of the following Halloween-ish bottles (and don't be scared -- that term applies in name only) and celebrate October 31, in costume, of course, like the wine-swilling grownup that you are.
Casillero del Diablo Shiraz 2009 ($10): Named for the legend cooked up by the French-born founder of Concha y Toro winery to keep people out of his private reserve cellar, casillero del diablo translates to "square of the devil." What you should be far more interested in is how well this wine's flavors translate into layers of blueberry, tart cherry and toasted almond on your palate. This is definitely more of a casual wine, as opposed to a stunner that you'd break out to impress a crowd, but paired with a plate full of sliders and crispy, salty fries, you'll be good to go.
Midnight Cellars Full Moon Red 2006 ($14): Even though this month's full moon presented itself last weekend, Midnight Cellars' juicy, red varietal-based blend might just be the perfect wine to drink on the crisp-cold fall night we're sure to have this coming Sunday. This heady mix of 50 percent syrah, 40 percent zinfandel and 10 percent cabernet sauvignon is guaranteed to go down way smoother than a candied apple, and will pair brilliantly with just about anything you're liable to eat that night (well, except for the Halloween candy).
Bogle "Phantom" 2007 ($20): Here's a Halloween wine multiple-choice question for you: Is the term 'bogle' Welsh for a) a phantom; b) a goblin; or c) a specter? The answer is actually all of the above. The Phantom is another to-die-for blend of red grapes, consisting this time of nearly equal parts petite sirah and zinfandel, with just the merest hint of mourvèdre thrown in for good measure. The resulting wine is enticingly complex, full of blackberry, dark chocolate, clove and peppercorn deliciousness that you will want to drink...and drink...and then drink some more.
Owen Roe, "Sinister Hand" 2009 ($25): Another great wine with another kitschy story to go along with it. The severed hand depicted on the label of this juicy Washington State gem is meant to represent that of an ancient O'Neill (clan of Owen Roe's forefathers). During a rowing competition, he famously cut off his own hand so that he could pitch it ashore and touch land first, thereby winning said land and eventually ruling over it as king. Whatever. This is one killer GSM (aka grenache/syrah/mourvèdre), featuring a bushel's worth of berry flavors and gorgeous, subtle oak that will seem to sing to you from the glass. Who needs candy when you can treat yourself to this wine instead?