We’ve all surely been tempted, this time of year. By bottles like Vampire Merlot, Werewolf Cabernet, Curious Beasts Red. It is Halloween season, after all, and who doesn’t want to get into the spirit? All your beer nerd friends are doing it, with scarily-named concoctions like Nosferatu and Black O’Lantern.
The difference, of course, is that those beers, with the awesomely-designed labels, actually taste good. These wines, aimed at the sucker throwing a Halloween bash, on the other hand, are typically mass-produced, faceless juice with not one iota of interesting or unique about them, once you look inside the bottle.
So, I asked myself, are there any wines that meet the Halloween theme, and actually taste good? Why yes, yes there are. And though they may be a bit harder to come by, they’re worth seeking out.
Chronic Cellars Sofa King Bueno ($25)
Though the bottle art here will be most at home in a Day of the Dead celebration, this should make any costumed drinker quite happy. A Syrah-based blend that’s balanced and harmonious, this fruit-forward wine offers whiffs of baked spice and vanilla, as well as touches of herb and resin.
BUY: Wine-Searcher | PLCB
Scacciadiavoli Sagrantino di Montefalco ($40)
This winery’s name literally means “cast out the devils”, deriving from a 19th century exorcist who lived in the small village bordering the vineyard. It’s said he frequently used the vino while ridding poor souls of demons. More importantly, Scacciadiavoli makes some of the finest Sagrantino in Montefalco, pure and clean, true to the grape, and great value for the money. Their Rosso di Montefalco wines are also excellent, and about half the price.
BUY: Wine-Searcher | Wines from Italy
Danilo Thomain Enfer D’Arvier ($32)
Made from Petite Rouge in a small DOC near the hamlet of Arvier in Northwest Italy, the word “enfer” means “hell” in French, derived from the valley’s high temperatures during growing season. As such, most of the wines from this region play up the devil on their label. This particular choice is both elegant and complex, offering a minty herbal element, flowers, earth, sweet tobacco, and a nice dose of juicy fruit. Interestingly, it almost reminds me of the flavor profile of Sagrantino, though more approachable and subtle.
BUY: This wine via Wine-Searcher | Other Enfer D’Arvier via PLCB
Dr. Konstantin Frank Semi-Dry Riesling ($16)
Dr. Frankenstein… Dr. Konstantin Frank… getit? Work with me people, I’m running out of ideas here. There is actually a German Riesling named Franckenstein, but it’s not easy to come by stateside, so we’ll have to settle for Dr. Frank. Anyway, this is an excellent Riesling for the price, fruity and slightly sweet up front, with a crisp, fresh finish.
BUY: Wine-Searcher | PLCB