Even though my own children are now almost too old to go trick-or-treating, our house remains a popular stop among neighborhood parents. While Halloween may not fall on a Friday or Saturday night this year, that does not seem to stop the adult "trick-or-treaters" from knocking on our door looking for a goody of the red or white variety.
A couple of years ago, I thought it would be easier to just leave an ice bucket of wine on my porch alongside a bowl of candy with a sign that says, "Take Only One," but liquor laws and teenagers quickly squelched that less-than-well-thought-out plan, so once again, I will sit at home and man the door and corkscrew.
Here are a few ghoulishly good wines that are a treat to serve this Halloween. Retail prices are approximate.
What is scary about the 2010 Leyda Sauvignon Blanc ($10) from Leyda Valley, Chile, is how good this wine is for the money. From the cool climate of a coastal valley, this sauvignon blanc features beautiful aromas of lime, grapefruit and orange blossom on the fragrant nose and flavors of gooseberry, passion fruit and bright citrus in the mouth. There is just a hint of grassy notes that combine with fresh acidity and subtle minerality on the refreshing finish. QPR 9
Wine producers Michael and David Phillips, who are also brothers, originally thought the white grapes they bought were roussanne, but they were pleasantly surprised when DNA testing revealed that the main ingredient in their 2010 Michael David Winery Incognito White Wine ($18) is actually viognier masquerading as its French cousin. Blended with chardonnay, muscat, sauvignon blanc and roussanne, the wine sports beautiful flavors of peach, apricot, pineapple and orange rind that float over the entire palate. A highlight of candied nectarine provides remarkable depth on the luscious finish. QPR 9
The sunny hills of Southern France are where the grenache, cabernet sauvignon, syrah and pinot noir grapes are grown that go into the debut of the 2010 HobNob Wicked Red ($12), a fun, easy-drinking wine that features aromas of black cherry, black currant and violets on the bouquet and juicy flavors of blackberry, black plum and baking spices on the fruit-flesh palate. A touch of earthy tobacco on the smooth finish lends a touch of refinement. QPR 7.5
Hollywood may have its cult film classics like "Sleepy Hollow," but Walla Walla, Wash., has its cult wine classic. From Ash Hollow Estate Vineyards and Winery comes the nonvintage Headless Red ($19), a wickedly enchanting blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, syrah and malbec. The wine carries aromatics of dark raspberry and crimson cherries with whispering hints of earth, heady spices and a subtle oak finish. According to the website, production is "scarce," so ask your local wine shop to hunt this down for you in time for Halloween. QPR 8
It has been a few years since I have reviewed this cultlike cabernet from California, but the 2009 EMH Vineyards Black Cat Cabernet Sauvignon ($75) from Napa Valley continues to haunt my palate. This massive, brooding wine exudes scents of black cherry, blackberry, dark chocolate and toasty oak on the explosive bouquet. Commanding flavors of dark plum, jammy blackberry, cassis and mocha are kept in check by sweet tannins and followed up with notes of chocolate and toasty oak on the impressive finish. This wine can be hard to find, but it is worth the hunt. QPR 9.5