Simply put, Halloween parties bring out the kid in most adults. Perfectly buttoned-down soccer dads and power moms throw formality to the wind, don a costume and frolic in fun every October 31. And they certainly noticed that this year’s festivities are on a Saturday.
One area, however, that is always taken seriously at Halloween parties are seductive, brazenly big red wines to serve to guests. Grill some meat to counter-act all the sugar, light some candles and let the games begin.
Here are a few new releases to consider pouring this weekend. All are widely available at local grocers like Fry’s Food Stores, Safeway and Bashas, and at speciality retailers like Total Wine and More, BevMo and Cost Plus World Market.
• Hob Nob Wicked Red Blend Limited Edition, Languedoc, France. A juicy blend of Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Pinot Noir will leave your teeth stained like Beetlejuice, but it is worth it. Ripe red fruit impressions are heightened with hints of oak, hazelnuts and mocha. A lot of wine for a great price. Pair with hamburgers. $11.
• Leviathan 2012, California. Don’t be afraid of this monster wine, which is a fruit bomb of a wine with a vibrant texture. It’s complex flavors are derived from a unique blend of multiple growing regions, which highlights the best of California characteristics like an effusive nose and rich, long flavors and textures. Drink now to enjoy its fruit, or cellar up to 10 years. One word: steak. $48.
• Shatter 2012 Grenache, Maury, France. A collaborative effort between two well-known winemakers Dave Phinney and Joel Gott in the Roussillon region shows a rich and velvety palate of raspberry and stone fruits and nice bright acidity. Ten months in French oak adds to the creaminess and softness of the wine. Nibble on nuts and chocolate with this one. A winner at $20.
• Concha Y Toro Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Chile. This wine from “the cellar of the devil” may sound scary, but it was born of necessity as the 19th century founder of Concha y Toro Don Melchor had to discourage winery workers from sampling the wares. They knew that the wine was special. So do modern-day wine drinkers who covet its concentrate red fruit and value price point. Great with grilled sausages. $12.
• Wente Vineyards 2013 Charles Wetmore Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore, Calif. History and intrigue are on full display in this bottle that pays homage to early California viticulturist of the same name. Without Wetmore, the Wente family may have never made their way to Livermore, where they have produced wine since 1883. Beautiful aromatics lead to ripe black cherry and plum that begs for beef. $30.
• Oak Ridge Winery OZV Old Vine Zinfandel 2012, Lodi, Calif. Zinfandel’s dark, brooding character lends itself to Halloween, and this bottle from the haut Lodi region brings a big game for not a lot of money. The robust wine feels like Halloween in a glass with jammy raspberry and mocha-chocolate flavors. Pair with ribs. $14.
• Miner Family Winery Stagecoach Vineyard 2012 Merlot, Napa, Calif. Miner is a dynamic, family-owned winery tucked along the eastern hills of the Oakville appellation in the heart of Napa Valley, and their newest Merlot is loaded with warm, ripe fruit and spice notes that include touches of oak. The wine holds a tight grip from fine tannins on the long finish. $40.
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