Cheers To You

An exploration of all things wine with local wine expert Mary Earl.
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What we’re drinking: Vampire Wine

October 31st, 2012 by brynn grimley

Mary writes:

Happy Halloween to all you Goblins! In keeping with today’s theme, we are offering you some scary wine labels to serve to guests on this ghoulish holiday.

Here’s what we know: Theme wines for Halloween started popping up roughly a decade or more ago. The first was a bottle shaped like a sitting black cat.

From the village of Zell, on Germany’s Mosel River, Zeller Schwarz Katz is made from Riesling and produced by many in the area. But only Moselland has the black cat bottle. It sells for the not too scary price of $16.

Then came the dawn of vampire wine.

This one doesn’t come from Forks, but Paso Robles, California instead. Vampire Merlot was harvested from cool, coastal vineyards at the southern end of Paso Robles. This merlot is fermented on the skins, with daily pumpovers. These two processes extract rich color for the new wine.  A bit of cabernet is added for structure and zinfandel for jamminess and of course the final touch — a label with the obligatory drip of blood.

Sip the blood of these vines for under $10.

One of the finest California wine producers, with an appropriately themed label we might add, is Ravenswood’s ring of ravens.

Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” also rang: “Once upon a midnight dreary, while we pondered weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of wine lore.”

The first vintage for Ravenswood was in 1976. Ahead of the curve they made two, single vineyard zinfandels. Three years later, those wines topped all others at a San Francisco tasting. Today Ravenswood and zinfandel are synonymous.

The single vineyard wines are sourced from Barricia, first planted in 1864, Belloni, Dickerson, Old Hill, Teldeschi and mountain-grown Pickberry. These wines are definitely special occasion treats.

But, for just $10, try the Vintner’s Blend 2011 Old Vine Zinfandel. It’s packed with blueberry, cherry, vanilla and cinnamon flavors and is a quaint match with candy corn and taffy apples.

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