With Halloween upon us, it’s time to take the necessary precautions in preparation for the mayhem and madness. This may include stocking up on candy for the neighborhood kiddies, egg proofing the house for the neighborhood hooligans, getting your last minute make shift costume together for the big Halloween party, and making sure you are loaded up on enough Halloween appropriate wine for the weekend.
With the Vampire craze in this country, it is only fitting that there is a Vampire Vineyards to match. Located in Paso Robles, California, they are actually putting out some really nice, affordable wines. They produce wine from most of the popular varietals, including reds, whites, roses and even a Dracula Zinfandel for all the ZinHeads out there. Most of the wines run in the $10 range and are blood sucking good deals at that price point.
If you’re feeling a little malicious this Halloween, than maybe the Evil Cabernet from R Wines is more your speed. 100% Cabernet from grapes grown in 3 of the better known areas of Australia, this wine is also a solid value for around $10-13. Lots of fresh berry aromas while smooth and soft on the palate. This one could even turn into one of your everyday wines, if you can handle the immorality.
Be sure to have the antidote if you dare drink the PoiZin from the Armida Winery in Sonoma. Not cheap at around $25, but the cool label and even better quality wine make this Zinfandel a great gift to bring to parties, or to enjoy with a rare and bloody piece of beef. Check out a Halloween inspired tasting video for this one by clicking the link here.
For those in search of a top tier wine with a little Halloween twist, look no further than the Ghost Block Cabernet from Oakville in Napa. The winery is certified organic, and this Cab is nothing short of sinful! Typical of the wines of the area it’s loaded with dark black fruit carrying firm tannic structure surrounded by tobacco and vanilla nuances. It will run around $50-60, but what better excuse to splurge than Halloween. You will certainly be the “after-life” of the party with this wine in hand.
Over the years, many wine drinkers may find that their palates constantly evolve. For example, after making the trip out to California, I didn’t want to touch anything that wasn’t from Napa or Sonoma. Yet shortly after that, I was enthralled with wines from the Tuscany area of Italy. Over the summer I went through a really enjoyable New York State Riesling phase, and as of the last month or so I am on a full fledge Bordeaux kick.
While this is a pretty common dynamic, there are also plenty of wine enthusiasts that only like one style of wine and that’s it. For example, I know that if I pour my wife or brother anything but a fruit driven California Red, chances are they will make a face mirroring a baby eating a pickle. While there is the argument that you need to appreciate different aspects of wines from all around the world made from all the various grapes, I say…. Fugetaboutit!
Wine is something that is meant to bring pleasure and enjoyment, and is not meant to be stressful or intimidating. So there is no reason to feel that you HAVE to enjoy a wine from Bordeaux or Barolo just because it gets great ratings from a wine reviewer. While wine experts have a clear cut and effective rating system, their tastes simply may not mesh with yours.
Professional tasters and reviewers are exactly that, professionals. So the ratings given to specific wines are based on a variety of factors that may or may not make the wine appealing to your palate. On many occasions I have shared some highly rated wines with friends and family and while some found them to be delicious, others found them …well… pretty disappointing.
My point is this…I notice that people can get frustrated when drinking wine because they don’t taste what is described in the tasting notes, or don’t enjoy it as much as they think they should. But if you are drinking for pleasure and relaxation, then follow the Planet Fitness rule and drink in a Judgement Free Zone. Trust your gut and your own palate and just try to learn what kind of wines curl your toes. If you do find professional reviewers that share your tastes then try to stick with them like glue, as that is the way you will stumble on some great wines that may otherwise fly under your radar.