California wine country has earned a respected reputation for its fine reds made from old vine Zinfandel and premium Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grapes. This Halloween, when you’re at the party, club, bar, or ice cream social—Hey, we don’t know what you’re doing that night, and ice cream is delicious!—standing there in costume with your candy-filled belly feelin’ kinda right, the looming question won’t be “Who invited the guy in the hockey mask with the too-real-looking machete?” (Here’s hoping, at least, that it won’t. Seriously, if that question arises, keep far away from that guy. Just trust us.) It will be “What’s on the drink menu?” The following California red wines with whimsically dark/spooky names answer that question with Halloween-inspired style and good humor.
1. Black Ink
Black Ink is a juicy new red wine blend from California, launched this fall 2014. Described as “an ode to fantasy through the arts, portraying elegance with an edge” and a “cult wine for the masses,” this wine scares up notes of juicy blackberry cobbler, woven through with smoky licorice, black plum, and spice. Each bottle’s capsule is marked with the allusive squid in a nod to the deep, dark red hues within the bottle.
This could be a must-grab for those whose love affair with red wine is black. Created from Syrah, Merlot, Malbec, and Zinfandel grapes, this luscious-sounding wine from TGIC Global Fine Wine Company can be had for just $9.99 per 750 ml. bottle, making it as accessible as it is elegant.
2. Bogle Phantom
A succulent, flavorful apparition of rich berry and spice, this 2011 wine boasts flavor, concentration and intensity that “will haunt you well after the last sip is gone.”
Bright red cherry fruit and black pepper are joined by hints of juniper, blackberry, and boysenberry in a versatile wine that spends over 24 months in 1 and 2 year old American oak. Bogle Phantom is a versatile California blend made from Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Mourvèdre grapes.
Dubbed “The Wine to Die For” at the Armida Winery website, 2013 Poizin is deep garnet in color, with a bright nose exhibiting plums, raspberry and blackberries. The richness of red-vine licorice, anise, spicy strawberry, and red currants lends fullness of body to its rustic Zinfandel/Syrah blend. Moderate oak contributes subtle vanilla with a smoky nuance. When it comes to picking one’s poizin, this doesn’t seem like a bad way to go.
Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Pinotage roar through this “monstrous” 2012 California Zinfandel” from Mendocino’s McNab Ridge.
Despite its cartoonish bottle label illustrating a rampaging golem composed of zinfandel vines, this “Fun Bunch” wine is produced in a premier zinfandel region. Jammy berry impressions mingled with hints of chocolate, pepper and spice truly make Zinzilla a big, bold monster of a wine.
5. River of Skulls
With a name like River of Skulls, you know it has to be good…
An ankle bone of cherry aromas is connected to the shin bone of blackberries, which connects to the knee bone of spice and perfume. The knee bone is connected to the leg bone of cherry, blackberry, and black pepper flavors, which connects to the hip bone, back bone and neck bone of a nice long vanilla finish. Oh Dem Skulls! This wine is composed of 100% Mourvedre from Twisted Oak Winery.