Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
Halloween is definitely scary - if you’ve got kids. They come home, they’ve been trick-or-treating for hours, they’ve been downing candy the whole time, now they want more candy, and what you end up with are some truly maniacal sugar-jacked little demons who are just moments away from overload/exhaustion/complete wailing meltdown. See? Even if you don’t have kids, you’re scared now.
What you need after dealing with a situation like this is a strong drink. You could do bourbon straight, but on the other hand, why not opt for a glass of something appropriately spooky? It’ll rekindle the awareness in you that Halloween is actually pretty fun. Here, a few good choices:
2010 Charles Smith The Velvet Devil Merlot ($12)
This Washington Merlot’s a substantial wine packed with ripe fruit - plus it comes in a bottle with a big black pitchfork on the label.
2009 Spellbound Cabernet ($16)
Rob Mondavi - yes, one of those Mondavis - makes this balanced, affordable Cabernet from vineyards in California’s Lodi region. A ghostly half-full moon on the label helps add an appropriately Halloweenish touch.
2008 Clos du Fees Les Sorcières ($24)
The name of this Roussillon estate, Clos du Fees, translates to “walled garden of the fairies.” If that weren’t spooky enough, there’s the name of the wine itself, which means “the witches” - hence the pointy-hatted woman riding the broomstick on the label. And inside the bottle? It's a dark, spicy, Syrah-based red.
This Quebeçois Belgian-style brewery’s Maudite amber ale takes its name from an old legend in which eight woodsmen who wanted to be home for the holidays offered their souls to the devil for a trip back (by way of flying canoe, no less).
Moorhouse’s Black Cat Dark Ale
From Lancashire in England, this malty, surprisingly light-bodied dark ale has appealing roasted and chocolate flavors. Plus, it’s got a somewhat dour-looking black cat staring out at you from the label. In truth, the cat looks more disapproving than spooky, but you know - Halloween, black cats. It’s a classic pairing.
Left Coast VooDoo
I’d say any label that features a top-hatted skeleton leering over the name of the beer qualifies as on target for Halloween. VooDoo is a pretty potent stout, 8.5% alcohol, darn near black in color, with a lot of coffee and molasses character.
More from Food & Wine:
Best Bars in the U.S.
America’s Haunted Hotels and Restaurants
World’s Scariest Foods
Spooky Halloween Party Recipes
Sink your teeth into more Halloween goodness
© 2011 American Express Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.
I wonder if Ray Ray sniffs the cork?
that not good kissing a brian
How could you miss Twisted Oak's River of Skulls http://www.twistedoak.com/skulls2008 ? (They're in Calaveras County; calavera = skull in spanish; many skull theme things at the winery).
What? No Dead Guy Ale by Rogue?
I will be sipping a glass of Southern Tier Pumking as I pass out the trick or treats on Halloween.
Hey Ray, you have it BACKWARDS. You sip on your wine or beer along with your neighbor friends while following the little monster horde from house to house. This way everyone gets a treat.
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