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.
Somehow I find it bizarrely gratifying that the most popular Halloween costume so far this year (at least based on Google searches) is apparently not Miley Cyrus, but a Minion from the animated film Despicable Me. While it’s a little premature to take this as a wholesale redemption of our national culture, at the very least it means that there should be less twerking going on this Halloween by people who should never, ever twerk, even alone in a locked room, and for that we can all be thankful.
And what better way to express our deeply felt aesthetic thanks than to raise a glass of wine (weirdly enough, there’s even someone on Etsy selling hand-painted Minion wine glasses, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend you rush out and buy one). And, since it’s Halloween - or near enough - how about a glass of Halloween-appropriate wine? Below are five appropriately spooky bottles to consider.
2011 Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon ($9)
Hard to argue with for Halloween: It’s got a devil’s head as an emblem on the bottle (the name means “the devil’s cellar”), plus the wine inside is a good, all-purpose red.
2012 Skeleton Grüner Veltliner ($13 per liter)
A decidedly affable skeleton - but a skeleton nonetheless - adorns the label of this crisp Austrian white.
2010 Bogle Vineyards Phantom ($16)
For a wine named after an ethereal presence, Bogle’s Phantom - a blend of the red varieties Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Mourvèdre - is impressively substantial, loaded with ripe boysenberry and blackberry character.
2012 Edmunds St. John Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir Rosé ($19)
California winemaker Steve Edmunds uses Gamay Noir grown in the Sierra Foothills for this lively, strawberry-scented rosé. The fiddling and harp-playing skeletons on the bottle only add to the appeal.
Russian River Brewing Co. Damnation ($5 for 375 ml)
Sometimes wine won’t suffice after a hard night of trick-or-treating (or a hard night of corralling candy-frenzied small children), and what you want is a beer. Russian River Brewing is one of the best craft brewers in the country, and its Damnation - a spicy brew along the lines of a Belgian golden ale - is a fine way to wind down. Plus it has a nifty pitchfork on the label; how can you argue with that?
More from Food & Wine:
Spooky Halloween Desserts
Ultimate Candy Guide
10 Black-and-Orange Dishes
Homemade Chocolate Candies
Halloween candy is dandy - even when it's fish, guts and onions
Halloween party tricks and boozy treats
Homemade peanut butter cups
The kid who couldn't trick-or-treat
© 2011 American Express Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.
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