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Wine Review: Spooky selections worth a look

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Halloween isn’t the only spooky time of the year. You may not have heard of Walpurgis Night, the European version of our Halloween that falls in the spring. I believe Walpurgis Night sounds more eerie and dreadful than Halloween, and it brings up images of Frankenstein, Dracula, bleak castles, dank dungeons, creaking doors and other spooky things.

With that bit of trivia out of the way, we can now give our full attention to wines worthy of the Halloween table.

Ravage Dark 2018 Red Blend ($14)
This spooky dark red wine is presented with a dark gray label embossed with a knight on horseback that will look great next to the skull and witch hat on the table. The wine is not a bitter witches’ brew but a fine, fruity libation that features the flavors and aromas of blueberry and blackberry. There are’s notes of coffee and dark chocolate for a rich and smooth mouth feel. The finish is as good as the flavor and lasts on the palate for a long time.

Dark Horse Big Red Blend ($13)
This name could be referring to the dark horse of one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, a title scary enough to fit in with the Halloween theme. While the dark horseman was said to predict famine, there is nothing but abundance in this wine, including a blood red color. The Big Red Blend is exactly that, a full-flavored blend composed of zinfandel, alicante bouschet, petite sirah and cabernet sauvignon. It can well accompany almost anything on your table while maintaining the Halloween or Walpurgis Night theme.

Armida Winery PoiZin 2017 Dry Creek Zinfandel ($28)
If the wine is as good as the decoration of the bottle, this wine is a real winner. The bottle carries a blood- red skull and crossbones, and it is really an eye- catcher. The wine is a rich and robust style that adds new levels of finesse and grandeur to an already familiar wine style. The aroma is alive with jammy red fruits and blackberries. These carry over to the flavor, where they merge with the flavors of licorice and spice. While the wine is full bodied, it is not tannic (that pucker sensation in the cheeks). Its motto is just perfect for Halloween. Enjoy this poizin with caution; it is The Wine to Die for!

Carnivor 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon ($20)
This wine is so dark that it seems almost black. It’s a wine that exhibits all its aromas and flavors in humongous proportions. Blackberry is the featured flavor and aroma, followed very closely by coffee and mocha with a slight hint of oak in the background. The tannin, that component of a red wine that produces the dry sensation in the cheeks, is held in check and acts in combination with the rest of the elements in the wine to produce a velvety mouthfeel. After a hard evening trudging up and down the streets with the kids, this wine can take the pain away from your aching feet.

Gnarly Head Authentic Black ($12)
This wine is based on the petite sirah grape variety, so you know that the wine will be darker than dark and full bodied. The aroma opens with a blast of dark cherries, which gives way to black licorice and vanilla. The flavor takes a turn away from the aroma by introducing intense flavors of boysenberry, dark chocolate and the petite sirah signature flavor of spice. The finish is nothing short of amazing, reprising the aroma but with added intensity. I believe this wine will be a sure hit at your Halloween festivities and perhaps even introduce some of your guests to better wines.

Wine columnist Bennet Bodenstein can be reached at


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