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HALLOWEEN: Wines For The Occasion

Which witch is that on Les Sorcières wine?
Photo courtesy 1Jour1Vin.com.

Your wine store should feature some “special Halloween wines” if you’d like to serve (or make a gift of) a theme wine. While it might take some time to track down all of the following wines, consider this advance notice for a sophisticated Halloween event next year: a tasting of Halloween-appropriate wines.

Intrepid searches are certain to find more options, but here’s a good starting list.


Les Sorcières
Producer: Clos des Fées
Area: Roussilon, France

A syrah-based wine from the southeast edge of France, this vineyard’s name means “the walled vineyard [clos] of the fairies.” “Les Sorcières,” the name of the blend, means “the witches,” one of whom is featured on the label, flying through the skies of Roussilon. Here’s the website.

Casillero del Diablo: Assorted Varietals
Concha y Toro
Central Valley, Chile

The name of this line translates to “the devil’s goalkeeper,” and the bottle does feature the head of the devil (or is it his goalkeeper?) at the neck. Reds include Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère, Malbec and Merlot; white wines are listed below. We couldn’t find the English version, but here’s the Spanish website.

The Dead Arm Shiraz
Vintner: d’Arenberg
McLaren Vale, Australia

To wine industry professionals, this wine’s name is not sinister—but no one at the party will know that. This top-of-the-line shiraz is made from old vines, which are known as “dead-arm” grapevines because, with age, a fungus known as grape canker slowly kills one or more of the branches. (There’s a benefit here: Fewer branches reduces the yield of the vine and intensifies the flavor in the grapes.) The elegant label features the d’Arenberg family’s coat of arms and a cordon rouge, but all of the wines from this vintner have colorful names. Check out the website.

Vintner: Bogle Vineyards
Area: Clarksburg, California

Made in Yolo County, near Sacramento, the label describes the wine as “mysterious and hauntingly seductive.” The label features a rendering of creepily gnarled old vines, which look like they could snatch you and have you disappear. The wine is a blend of old vine Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and old vine Mourvèdre. To our knowledge, no old vines have actually snatched any living thing. Website.
Phantom Rivers Wine: Assorted Varietals
Vintner: Phantom Rivers Wine
Area: Central Coast, California

As with Casillero del Diablo (above), the spookiness is in the name of the winery, not a particular bottling. Whatever varietal you’re looking for, you’ll find it. Red offerings include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Mourvèdre, Petit Syrah, Pinot Noir, Rosé, Syrah, Zinfandel and a dessert Zinfandel. The whites are listed below. Website.


Sinister Hand
Vintner: Owen Roe
Area: Wapato, Washington

This grenache-based wine features a severed hand on the label. The image references an Irish legend where, in a race to be the next king of Ireland, one of the contenders severs his own hand to win. The wine may taste better if you don’t know the legend. Here’s the website.

Spellbound: Assorted Varietals
Vintner: Robert Mondavi
Area: Lodi, California
The Spellbound line features a ghostly moon on a black label. Inside the bottle: your choice of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah and Petite Sirah Reserve, plus Chardonnay. See them all at SpellboundWines.com.

A wine based on a legend of a bleeding, severed hand. Photo courtesy Owen Roe.

The Velvet Devil Merlot
Vintner: Charles Smith Wines
Area: Walla Walla, Washington

With bold lettering and a prominent forked trident, this wine screams “Halloween.” The Broncho Malbec voodo-art motif and the King Coal Cabernet/Syrah blend skeleton king fit right in; and if you need more, the Boom Boom! Syrah features a lit bomb. Check them all out on the company website.

Casillero del Diablo Reserva
Vintner: Concha y Toro
Area: Central Valley, Chile

As noted above, this line also offers Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Phantom Rivers Wine
Vintner: Phantom Rivers Wine
Area: Central Coast, California

As noted above, this winery also makes Muscat.
Kidnappers Vineyard Chardonnay
Vintner: Craggy Range
Area: Havelock North, New Zealand

This wine is named after Cape Kidnappers in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, which itself is named for a 1769 attempt by local Maori to abduct a member of Captain Cook’s crew (details). Little did either side know back then that the area would become a great spot to grow Chardonnay grapes. Website.
Spellbound: Chardonnay
Vintner: Robert Mondavi
Area: Lodi, California

See the notes under Halloween Red Wines, above.

And think of what a great night you’ll have, wearing a costume and tasting these wines. Perhaps the dress code should be: dress like one of the wines you’ll be tasting.


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