Killer Recommendations For Halloween

The day that allows people to dress up as an alter ego and gives some just enough reason to be as crazy as they want also is a great time to drink wines that fit the part.

Halloween falls on a Friday this year, so it will be ideal to host a wine tasting among all the costumed friends and family. There are some very good wines that are not too kitschy and will satisfy the thirst of your guests.


Image 2 of 2

A rich and gutsy blend that's jammy and intense with BOLD flavors

One label that is literally “striking” is 2011 Coup de Grace Red ($25). The label shows two samurai at the point in a duel where one is literally on his knees and the other has his sword raised above his head just before delivering the death blow or coup de grace. Two other samurai are racing to his aid, knowing that they are utterly too late — despair. But that is not what you find in the glass. This is a rich and gutsy blend of old-vine Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.

Yes, it is jammy and intense, full-bodied and has a toasted vanilla scent that adds complexity. If you want elegance, this is not your wine.

If you like BOLD flavors, especially Zinfandel-styled wines, this is for you. And you don’t have to lose your head to drink it.

Another red that is bloody and will leave an impression on you is 2010 Robert Biale Petit Sirah “Royal Punishers” ($35). Think of this as the royal executioner, the man with the oversized ax and a black hood.

This wine is almost as black as night, completely opaque, with fresh and preserved blueberry and plum notes gushing out of the glass. It oozes with flavor, almost staining your teeth. At 15.5 percent alcohol, it is highly viscous with gobs of black and blue fruit to punish your taste buds — something many wine drinkers love to do!

A more obviously themed wine from one of my favorite winemakers in Napa Valley is 2012 Selene Cabernet Sauvignon “Dead Fred” ($49). This is not inexpensive, and it should not be for what you get in this bottle.

Mia Klein is one of Napa Valley’s finest wine-makers, and she makes this 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon from a small (less than three acres) Coombsville vineyard planted on loamy, gravelly soils. And what she coaxes out of this vineyard is a stunningly delicious example of Napa Valley Cabernet, but with a texture and structure that exudes class and pedigree.

Espresso, dark cocoa, blue and black fruit all abound here.

You’re probably dying to know the story behind Dead Fred. So, the owner of the vineyard had a favorite cat … well, you can guess the rest.

Lastly, for all of you beer fanatics — yes, I know you read wine columns, too — you must try Clown Shoes Undead Party Crasher American Imperial Stout ($9.99/22 ounces). This malty and smoky stout is made to ward off anything “undead.” This beer is not for the un-initiated. At 10 percent alcohol, it is brash and unrelenting in the most delicious way.

To find the first two wines, head to Fujioka’s Wine Times in Market City Shopping Center. The Selene can be found at R. Field Wine Company Beretania. Clown Shoes can be found at Tamura’s, Fujioka’s, Whole Foods, SWAM and Liquor Collection.

Roberto Viernes is a master sommelier.
Twitter: @Pinotpusher