Scared silly about what vino to bring to your Día de Los Muertos or Halloween fiesta? Fear not, chicas y chicos. Señorita Vino has cleared the cobwebs and summoned the black cats to unearth some frighteningly tasty wines for your freaky festivities. Ready for some thrills, chills and–we hope–no spills? (Cue bloodcurdling scream).
If you’re a naughty little diablo, this 2010 Velvet Devil Merlot from Washington’s Columbia Valley should represent you well at your boo-riffic bash. Black cherry, dark chocolate and black pepper aromas will pair well with beastly beef sliders and super-scary spaghetti in blood-red tomato sauce.
Spread the Merlot amor at your Día de los Muertos party with some ruby-red fruta. The 2010 Día de los Merlot from the Temecula Valley displays ripe plums and red cherries thanks to a warmer growing climate, making this a festive ofrenda for a vino-loving loved one’s memorial altar.
Speaking of Día de los Muertos, have I got a pair of sweet wines to go with your sugar skulls! Vino de los Muertos Rojo Dulce is a red blend. Its companion, Blanco Dulce, is a blend of white grapes. Both taste sweet and pair beautifully with pan de muertos, the traditional sugar-sprinkled bread loaves sold in Latin American bakeries all over the U.S. this time of year.
Avast ye wanna-be pirates! Leave the Made-in-China Jolly Roger flag at home and seize this wicked bottle of 2010 Poizin Zinfandel instead. Direct from Sonoma County’s Armida Winery, this jammy, spicy red has hints of vanilla and milk chocolate. It’s frighteningly good with grilled meats and barbecued ribs.
Twisted, gnarled vines. A bleak expanse of parched land blasted by a furnace-like sun. ¡Ay, qué miedo! This, chicas y chicos, is not the set of Hostel Part 31, but Aragón, Spain, home to some of the finest Garnacha vineyards. Add some hot thrills to your Halloween party with Garnacha’s famously fiery high alcohol content (this one clocks in at 14.5 percent!) and abundant fruit. Blackberries, black currant and lovely lavender and leather notes make this a good match for rich duck in a cranberry or cherry sauce, spooky sausage, or a hearty fall stew.
This next bottle scared the hell out of me. No joke – I’ll probably have nightmares over this one, good Catholic girl that I am. I mean, look at it! What the hell is that? Someone call an exorcist! I’m almost afraid to type the name, but here goes: Hex vom Dasenstein.
Okay, phew. I’m still here. This 2010 Pinot Noir from Germany displays strawberry and raspberry aromas with a zingy acidity. Pair this Pinot (or Spätburgunder, as Pinot Noir is called in Germany) with bacon-wrapped salmon or pork loin with spooky mashed potatoes.
P.S. Forgive me, darlings, for judging a wine by its label. Through the magic of a Google search, I discovered the real story behind Hex vom Dasenstein. It’s my Halloween treat to you:
Once upon a time in 14th century Germany, a sexy young fraulein whose nobleman father was an obnoxious control freak made the mistake of falling for a hot, strapping young commoner. When her father discovered that his daughter and the young peasant had hooked up, he threw her out of the castle, leaving her with nowhere to go but a pile of rocks known as Dasenstein [it seems Studly Peasant Man was only after her Deutschmarks, since nowhere in the story does he welcome her into his humble shack once Pops gives her the boot]. These being the pre-Botox days, over time the lovely young fraulein grew into a wrinkly hag. But a nice hag. Dasenstein was surrounded by vineyards, and the vines began to thrive under the watchful eye of the now haggard little lady. And because no good deed goes unpunished, the townspeople thanked her by giving her the title, Hex vom Dasenstein, or the Witch of Dasenstein.
I dedicate this post to the memory of my great uncle Victor, whose humor, wit and intelligence continue to inspire me. Tío, te extrañamos y siempre pensamos en ti. Qe en paz descances.