Halloween 2014

By Gus Clemens

Friday we celebrate Halloween, first of three year-end harvest festivals.

We taunt death at Halloween, celebrate bounty at Thanksgiving, embrace joy and new beginnings at Christmas-New Year’s. Each of these times consecrates life in different ways, and wine deserves to participate in each.

Halloween beckons campiness and irreverently stupid human tricks. If you are young parents, you accompany your children on pillaging forays to neighbor houses demanding treats you forbid your children to eat any other time of the year. Then you share in plunder gained through trick-or-treat extortions.

Wines that pair with candy: icewine/eiswein, Madeira malmsey or baul, tawny or ruby port, sweet riesling. You will regret this in the morning, but, hey, it was Halloween.

If your children are at age where they really don’t want to have anything to do with “the parents,” then you throw an “adults can be stupid too party” just because you finally can, again. If you are past age 21 but not yet parents, these party suggestions also work for you.

Clever wines to flaunt Halloween wit:
• Casillero del Diablo (Cellar of the Devil)—good quality-value plays made with almost every major varietal. Produced by Chile’s monster maker Concha y Toro. Name comes from alleged legend that founder Don Melchor prevented workers from tippling his finest by securing bottles in deepest, most-forbidding cellar—The Cellar of the Devil. Probably made-for-marketing myth; entertaining nonetheless.
• Michael David Winery: 7 Deadly Zins (raspberry, cranberry, spice) and Freakshow (black current, oak, vanilla); quality maker.
• Alexander Valley Wines: Temptation Zin (plush cherries), Sin Zin (raspberry, pepper), and Redemption Zin (lush, blackberries, plum).
• Armida Poizin Reserve: Sonoma zin maker; skull & crossbones label (plum, cherry, spice).
• Vampire Wines: variety of varietals. Paso Robles pours are simple but not embarrassing—unless you pour them wearing purple-stained, fake vampire teeth. Just saying.

Last round: Trick or treat would be so much better if kids got candy and adults got wine. Let’s start a movement.

Email Gus at wine@cwadv.com. Follow tasting notes on Twitter @gusclemens.