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LIFE & ENTERTAINMENT

 

Scary Wine IV

Monday, October 21, 2013

David Dickson

Boo! Yes, itís once again time to dust off the vampire fangs and get ready for Halloween. Unfortunately, the scariest thing at most Halloween parties isnít the costumes. I understand that you donít want to spend a fortune on party wine, but with a little effort you can serve some perfectly acceptable wine for not a whole lot more than that frightening stuff in a box. For Scary Winesí fourth year, Iíve dug up a veritable coffin- load of ghoulish grape elixirs that are sure to cast a spell on your gruesome gathering.

One of the walking red, Evil Incarnate, a Barossa Valley Syrah from ĎRí Wines is a Zombie favorite. Featuring macabre black and red labels with backward writing, Rís line of Pure Evil wines is well suited to frightening the life from your guests.

Creepy Vampire Merlot is a classic Halloween party wine. Although rapidly being overtaken by Zombies, the Vampire thing is still not dead. From Californiaís North Coast, this Merlot is smooth and medium-bodied with black cherry aromas and hints of herbal spices.

Going for the throat, Zombie Zin lurches out of California, with aromas of cigar and dried tobacco. This evil, but easy-drinking potion is appropriately earthy with bloody smooth tannins and an almost eternal finish.

Phantom, by Bogle, is a blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Mourvedre. Displaying a California appellation on its appropriately eerie label, PhantomĎs grapes are primarily from Clarksburg, Lodi and Amador. This is a full-bodied wine, showing raspberries and boysenberries with pomegranate and touches of juniper, cedar and black pepper. Phantom will disappear before your very eyes.

Only slightly spooky, Ghost Pines Merlot has luscious berry fruit, aromas of roasted coffee and chocolate, and toasted oak flavors. Dense and plush around the edges, Ghost Pines is a serious Merlot that will awaken the spirits in even the most gloomy Halloween gathering.

Finally, the ever popular and perennially grotesque Egri Bikaver or Bulls Blood. This is a big, full-bodied Bordeaux-style red wine from Hungary. Besides the expected Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, this blend is anchored by the ancient Kadarka grape. Hereís the good part. During a war in the 16th Century, Hungarians gave their soldiers copious quantities of red wine to motivate them for battle. Rumors spread among the enemy that bullís blood was mixed into the wine to strengthen the Hungarian soldiers. For this or some other reason, the enemy gave up and went home. Bullís Blood wine is believed to have been produced for more than 500 years, and is thought to be one of the worldís oldest, continuously produced wines. Not to mention the most gruesome.

Hereís a nifty punch recipe for your Halloween party. The ingredients are unusual, but you can substitute for the harder to find items. Be sure and follow the directions carefully or you will double, double your toil and trouble. Preheat one large cauldron until fire burn and caldron bubble. Then fillet of a fenny snake, in the caldron boil and bake; Eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat, and tongue of dog, adderís fork, and blind-wormís sting, lizardís leg, and owletís wing. Make the gruel thick and slab: add thereto a tigerís chaudron, for the ingredients of our caldron. Yum!

This is the fourth year for this now traditional bit of Halloween tomfoolery. I wish you a gloriously scary Halloween and offer my sincere apologies to Shakespeare for the punch recipe.

Cellar Notes

Cabernet Sauvignon

Maker: Ghost Pines

Vintage: 2009

Style: Red Varietal

Grape(s): Cabernet Sauvignon

Appellation: Sonoma and Napa Counties

Cost: $$ out of $$$$$

Food Pairings

Meat and seafood: Meat & Seafood: Poached, grilled, fried, baked or roasted

Sauce: au jus, mustard, peppercorn, savory, tomato

Cheese: hard goat, soft cow, soft goat, soft sheep

Taste Profile:

Notes: Ripe fruit and generous mouthfeel and viscosity. Aromas and flavors of jammy dark fruits, plums and blackberries, with layered notes of mocha, toasted pound cake and roasted nuts.

QuickClass: Dry Red

Phantom

Maker: Bogle

Vintage: 2008

Style: Blended Red

Grape(s): Zinfandel 51 percent Ė Petite Sirah 47 percent Ė Mourvèdre 2 percent

Appellation: California

Cost: $$ out of $$$$$

Food Pairings

Meat & Seafood: Poached, grilled, fried, baked or roasted

Sauce: au jus, mustard, peppercorn, savory, tomato

Cheese: hard goat, soft cow, soft goat, soft sheep

Taste Profile:

Notes: Notes of juicy boysenberry and black fruit are deepened with aromas of pipe tobacco and black pepper, while subtle hints of clove and vanilla softly envelop the palate. Intense and luscious, the rich character opens to reveal red fruit of spirited cranberries and raspberries

QuickClass: Dry Red

7 Deadly Zins

Maker: Michael David

Vintage: 2009

Style: Red Varietal

Grape(s): Zinfandel Petite Sirah and Petite Verdot

Appellation: Lodi Vineyard Dry Creek Valley

Cost: $$ out of $$$$$

Food Pairings

Meat & Seafood: Poached, grilled, fried, baked or roasted

Sauce: au jus, mustard, peppercorn, savory, tomato

Cheese: hard goat, soft cow, soft goat, soft sheep

Notes: Deep ruby, purple color, full-bodied, corpulent flavors and abundant berry fruit, pepper and spice notes. A seductive, full throttle, classic Zinfandel.

QuickClass: Dry Red

Local oenophile David Dickson has been a wine educator for nearly 30 years. He welcomes questions and suggestions for columns at ddickson@ourtribune.com. Visit his website at winetimenewsletter.com for past columns and more about enjoying wine.

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