Autumn is the best time of the year. I love everything about it—the fall decorations, the cooler temperatures, leaves changing colors, grape harvests and Halloween, a magical time with all its mysteries, histories, spooky movies, TV cartoons and parties.
Whether the parties you get invited to (or throw) require a costume or not, there’s always a just-right bottle of wine to bring. Many brands and labels are perfect for Halloween parties—some because they are great-tasting wines, others because the bottles look spooky and cool. I’m going to focus on the ones that have cool-looking, spooky labels.
All of these can be found locally, specifically at Vino 100, located at 1131 Steamboat Parkway in Reno. Even though I’m focusing on the labels, the wines taste great too.
Intrinsic red blend, Intrinsic Wine Co.
Intrinsic is a winery in the Columbia Valley of Washington state. The cool labels on the Intrinsic wines are inspired by street art.
Don’t get all nervous because it is a Bordeaux blend; a Bordeaux blend is simply a wine made from a blend of grapes that were historically grown in the Bordeaux region of France. Some of these include cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc. Buy it for the label—and buy it again for the wine.
Intrinsic cabernet sauvignon, Intrinsic Wine Co.
Intrinsic cabernet sauvignon is a perfect example of Washington cabernet. Expect big fruit flavors like blackberries, black cherries and ripe plums, along with oak, tobacco and chocolate. Spooky label and scary good wine.
River of Skulls, Twisted Oak Winery
Twisted Oak Winery’s River of Skulls wine couldn’t have a better label for Halloween. It’s a blood-red skull on an inky black bottle. This wine is 100 percent mourvèdre, with grapes grown by the Dalton Vineyard in Angels Camp, Calif., along the Rio de las Calaveras, or, in English, the River of Skulls. This river was named in 1806 when Lt. Gabriel Moraga discovered its banks littered with skulls. Cue the creepy music when you pour. Blackberries, dark cherries and spice dominate this wine. Mourvèdre is one of my favorite varieties, and I plan to have one of these on hand for Halloween.
Wild Thing chardonnay, Carol Shelton Wines
Not all wines with labels perfect for Halloween have wine the color of blood in them. Carol Shelton Wines’ Wild Thing chardonnay is perfectly creepy. This is an estate-produced wine from Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma, Calif. This is a great California chardonnay with a few spooky twists to it, like being whole cluster-pressed. This chardonnay falls between the big, fat, buttery wines and a high-acid, stainless steel fermented one. The fact that it’s 10 percent roussanne and 8 percent viognier should get you moving your bones to go pick some up.
Old Ghost, Klinker Brick Winery
Halloween wouldn’t be a spooky without a ghost. I prefer cute ghosts like Casper or Charlie Brown (when he was trick-or-treating and got a rock), and Klinker Brick Winery makes a cute ghost of a wine called Old Ghost. Old Ghost represents the best zinfandel the winery makes. Made from grapes grown in Lodi, this wine has black pepper, herbs and ripe cherries, with chocolate and tannin bitter notes. It is a boo-tiful wine that will not scare you at all.
Halloween is a great time to let your eyes pick your wine for you. Let the labels speak to your tell-tale heart, and let the spirit move you to a new and exciting wine you have never tried. Happy Halloween!