Halloween is just around the corner — and judging from all of the hype on the morning news shows and party store displays, the annual ghostly celebration appears to be enjoyed as much by the adult crowd as it is by the traditional younger-than-16 gang.
And even though my own little goblins are now old enough to trade in their plastic pumpkins for corkscrews, I know that they still take pleasure in carving pumpkins and checking out the costumes that show up on our doorstep.
But at our house, it appears that as I get older, so do the ghosts and goblins that show up on my doorstep — most notably in the form of friends and parents of neighborhood kids who know that I usually have a bottle or two of wine open and am ready to share with them when the doorbell rings. It’s not just the little costume-clad marauders who want a treat; it’s the grown-ups too. Plastic wineglasses compete with plastic pumpkins and paper bags, extended at arm’s length and looking for a liquid goody of the red or white varietal.
It once crossed my mind — briefly — that I should simply leave an ice bucket of wine on my porch alongside the bowl of candy with a sign that says, “Take only one,” but liquor laws and common sense mandated a more realistic approach. So you’ll just have to knock on my door Wednesday in order to get a sip of one of these tasty wines with fun and seasonally appropriate names.
From Michael Mondavi’s Folio Wine Partners comes a captivating wine that will keep you spellbound. The 2015 Spellbound Petite Sirah from California is produced from fruit sourced from wine-growing regions throughout California. This Petite Sirah has a very deep, dark purple color and striking scents of blackberries, cassis and roasted coffee on the nose. In the mouth, this wine is juicy and well balanced, with flavors of ripe blackberries and blueberries, and just a hint of pipe tobacco on the smooth, luscious finish. $14
I have an eerie feeling that my friends are going to like the 2016 Michael David Winery’s “6th Sense” Syrah from Lodi, California. This powerful wine from the Lords of Lodi — brothers Michael and David Phillips — is a deep, brooding syrah with big, lush flavors of black cherry, dark plum, black raspberry and cocoa in harmony with the soft tannins and a balanced finish where notes of black pepper and spice linger for over a minute. Michael’s son, Kevin — the sixth generation of farmers (Get it? Sixth sense) — is the vineyard manager for this project. If you turn the bottle around, you just might see Kevin’s eye looking out from the inside of the bottle, making sure the wine is being enjoyed! Scary good. $16
The Sleepy Hollow vineyard, located in the stunning Santa Lucia Highlands, just 13 miles south of Monterey Bay, is home to the Talbott winery. Their 2014 Talbott Vineyards “Sleepy Hollow” Pinot Noir is also scary good. The captivating nose is full of cherry, rose petals and wild strawberry scents. Bright flavors of dark cherry, raspberry, cocoa and plum fall in layers over the entire palate, while hints of cinnamon add complexity to the elegant finish. It’s almost enough to lose one’s head over. $40
What’s scary about the 2014 EMH Vineyards’ “Black Cat” Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California, is how little of it is produced each year. A mere 140 cases of this ultra-decadent cabernet make their way into wine collectors in the know. It is full of rich, ripe black fruit, including blackberry, black plum and dark chocolate. The superb balance keeps the fruit focused and the finish long and luscious. Even though this is a big splurge, it drinks as well as wines twice the price. This is definitely one black cat whose path you’ll want to cross. $85
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