Spooks & Sips: 3 Red Wines for Halloween

by Matthew Wexler

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday October 31, 2017

Instead of dunking for apples, how about gathering your ghoulish friends for a night of luscious reds with haunting labels and backstories perfect for an evening of binge-watching "Friday the 13th" or "Nightmare on Elm Street" flicks?

EDGE gathered some of our favorite wine experts for a blind tasting of three California reds suited for such a night and this is what we discovered...


Mystery Wine #1

We found it to be full-bodied (or full-figured, like Elvira, as one guest proclaimed). This slightly viscous mouth feel is a great pairing with steak tartare -- and what better night to be eating raw meat?

A bit high in alcohol until it had time to open, we guessed Malbec before reading the label. We picked up notes of dark cherry, plum and overripe raspberry and a long finish that's best with food, though we eagerly returned to the bottle after finishing the full round of tasting. With a hue of deep magenta, one drinker described it as the blood of youth.

What did we drink?
Saved Red Wine
Inspired by tattoo artist Scott Campbell, fruit was sourced from as far south as Santa Maria Valley and as far north as King City in Monterey County. The 2014 Red Blend is a blend of Malbec, Syrah, Merlot, Grenache, Zinfandel, and a touch of Petit Verdot, and Souzão. $25


Mystery Wine #2

"Black like my heart" was one taster's tepid first response to this young wine that needs a good costume for full effect. Its deep purple color reveals a punchy finish of Concord grape and sweet, dried fruits like prune and currant.

With a bit of inspiration, we decided that this would be a great go-to for a fall-inspired sangria. Grab a trick-or-treat bucket along with a couple of bottles and tons of seasonal fruits like apples and pears. Substitute bourbon for brandy and throw in a cinnamon stick and a glug or two of orange juice (it needs the acidity). In the right proportion, it'll work cold or warm like a mulled wine.

What did we drink?
Ravage Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015
Nobody guessed we were drinking cabernet, but alas, it's true. Aged in 100 percent new French oak, we did pick up on the vintner's notes of dark berries and mocha. $10.99


Mystery Wine #3

Three bottles in, things started to turn rowdy with our entourage. Deep inhales revealed an intoxicated funk to this wine -- like wet hay in a corn maze as one guest suggested. The barnyard notes were set off by soft fruit and welcoming tannins. It deliciously offset the tableside manchengo and goat cheese that we had been nibbling on. And although we anticipated a high alcohol content, everyone felt the wine was well balanced.

What did we drink?
Besieged Sonoma Country Red Blend
From famed Ravenswood Winery, winemaker Joel Peterson gathered a blend of Petite Sirah, Carignane, Zinfandel, Syrah, Alicante Bouschet, and Barbera grapes from throughout Sonoma County. Aged for 10 months in oak barrels (40 percent new), the wine's haunting label is perfect for a haunting evening of libations. $22

Editors note: Much of northern California's wine country has been affected by wildfires consuming vineyards, forests, and neighborhoods throughout the region. Click here for ways to help.

Matthew Wexler is EDGE's Senior Editor, Features & Branded Content. More of his writing can be found at www.wexlerwrites.com. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.

10 Days of Halloween

This story is part of our special report titled 10 Days of Halloween. Want to read more? Here's the full list.