Wine and Halloween can go frightfully well together, but it takes extra effort, so suggestions for fright night wine fun come eight days early, not on the eve of All Hallows Eve.
If Halloween plans include sweet treats scarfed from your children’s extortions schemes (“trick or treat”) or an adult party with more sophisticated sweet fare, the trick is to pair sweet to sweet:
Caramel apples—icewine/eiswein. Nuts-and-caramel candy—Madeira malmsey, Madeira bual, Tawny Port. Dark chocolate—Ruby Port. Popcorn balls—buttery California chardonnay. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups—sweet riesling.
If your scary soiree is about gobbling real food and gabbing with costumed adults, there are a number of conversation-starter bottles that will reinforce your reputation for being clever. Some are easily available (top of list), while others require effort—thus the column eight days ahead.
• Casillero del Diablo (Cellar of the Devil): from Chile’s monster maker Concho y Toro, good quality-value; almost every major varietal; carmenérè is Chilean signature.
• Michael David Winery: 7 Deadly Zins (raspberry, cranberry, spice) and Freakshow (black current, oak, vanilla).
• Alexander Valley Wines: Temptation Zin (plush cherries), Sin Zin (raspberry, pepper), and Redemption Zin (lush, blackberries, plum).
• Vampire Wines: variety of varietals. The Paso Robles pours are simple, but not embarrassing. Vampire also makes a vodka.
• Armida Poizin Reserve: Sonoma zin maker, skull & crossbones label (plum, cherry, spice).
• R Wines: Pure Evil (Evil printed upside down on label), Aussie varietals.
• Gray Ghost: top Virginia winery, several varietals.
• Ghost Hill Cellars: quality Oregon pinot noir, including Spirit of Pinot Noir Rosé.
• Elk Creek Vineyards Ghostly White Chardonnay (ripe apple, citrus, no oak), made in Kentucky.
• Slaughterhouse Cellars: small California cab producer; hard-to-get, one-up play for wine snobs.
• Wines from Graves region of Bordeaux (French pronunciation is “grahv” and means gravel, but you can intro with “gravely good wine from Grahv.” Graves is region of Bordeaux, so there are many wine choices, including Sauterns—sweet, exquisite, expensive stuff, which means you could pair with candy. But, please, don’t let the devil tempt you into that sin.
Last round: What did the skeleton order at the wine bar? A glass of wine and a mop.