Whether you're attending a costume party, curling up with a horror flick, or simply handing out treats at your door, enjoying a decadent red wine with your Halloween festivities assures us that the fun doesn't just belong to the kids. And nothing completes a convincing zombie or vampire costume like a glassful of deep, blood-red wine!
While I still haven't found the perfect wine pairing for Pixy Stix or candy corn, these dark, brooding, spicy, red wines are a treat with Halloween chocolate or delightful on their own.
My wine shopping destination was Trader Joe's, and to many, they may seem synonymous with inexpensive wines, but they are truly about value at any price point.
8 Hauntingly Decadent Domestic Reds
1. Joel Gott, Zinfandel, California, 2012, $15 - This classic California Zinfandel has mouthwatering acidity, balanced with a rich, silky texture, with toasty notes of spiced plums, blackberry jam, and raspberries.
2. J. Lohr Estates, Los Osos Merlot, Paso Robles, CA, 2012, $13 - This is a big and fruity expression of Merlot, exhibiting notes of pomegranate, dark cocoa, baking spices, with rich and velvety tannins.
3. Apothic Red, Winemaker's Blend, California, 2012, $9 - If you love a rich wine with jammy fruit notes, this one is for you. Notes of cola, spiced red fruit compote, sweet vanilla, and raspberry tart, this Zinfandel-based blend is easy sipping. Think freshly baked cherry pie.
4. Trader Joe's, Grand Reserve Syrah, Oakville, Napa Valley, CA, 2012, $13 - Notes of dense fruit, specifically blackberries, spice, sweet oak, and cocoa give way to a soft and lush finish. I think this is one of TJ's best efforts on their private labels.
5. Hedges, CMS Red Blend, Columbia Valley, WA, 2011, $11 - This Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah blend is deep ruby in color, with notes of dark cherry, toasted oak, dried herbs, cocoa, and tobacco leaves. This elegant wine is a little lighter in body than most of the others here.
6. Kuleto Estate, Native Son Red Wine, Napa Valley, CA, 2009, $22 - I know a lot of you don't go to TJ's for a more expensive bottle of wine, but Kuleto is one of the hottest estates in Napa Valley. This "splurge" makes for a great host gift. It shines with concentrated dark fruit, herbal notes, plums, blackberries, licorice, and cedar. It finishes with a lengthy, silky texture.
7. Ravenswood, Vintners Blend Old Vine Zinfandel, California, 2012, $10 - A small amount of Petite Sirah provides weight and body to this Zinfandel. Concentrated and intense, this wine is bright in acidity and shows aromas of ripe black cherries, raspberry jam, smoke and cocoa.
8. Francis Coppola, Claret, California, 2011, $15 - This Cabernet-based Bordeaux-style red blend has rich, round tannins. Notes of blackberries, plums, espresso, cassis, and licorice dominate the palate. The abundance of fruit is balanced by a dry finish.