Halloween commemorations may look different this year. You might sit at home waiting for trick-or-treaters who never arrive. The chance, or wisdom, of an adult Halloween gathering may be elusive. So chances are you’ll end up at home, in a half-hearted costume, with family or a few close friends. Joking about death may seem a bit tone deaf.
Fortunately, some wines can keep spirits high.
Ghost Pines 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon draws grapes from mostly Lake and Sonoma counties and a slice from Napa County. The wine is connected to the Louis Martini family of wines, which has long been owned by E&J Gallo. The wine had been, until recently, a very reliable, super premium wine. It has taken a turn toward the pop, juicy, high-alcohol wines, though, such as Apothic and Prisoner Wine Co. The jammy wine is full of berry and vanilla character with a rich texture and a smoky, anise finish. The wine wraps up with a discernible heat from the alcohol. If you like a fruit bomb, this may be your jam. $18. ♦♦♦ 1/2
Chronic Wines of Paso Robles are lighter and bit more fun with a nod toward Grateful Dead iconography, with skeletons having fun in various ways.
A cocktail wine — one that should be drunk alone — Chronic Cellars 2018 Paso Robles Purple Paradise, with a Día de los Muertos-inspired label, is a blend of mostly zinfandel and a few others. It smells rustic and grapey with a light texture and is discernibly sweet with spicy character, finishing like a dessert wine. $14. ♦♦♦ 1/2
Prisoner Wine Co. became a phenomenon with dark, creepy labels. Blindfold, its white wine, features a harrowing image of someone tied to a post, about to be, or possibly already — executed.
The Prisoner Wine Co. 2019 “Blindfold” White Wine is a rich, extracted wine and an explosion of flavor. The wine starts out with aromas of acacia and lemon curd. It has a rich, buttery texture with flavor of candied lemons. Somehow, this heavy wine pulls off some nice acids. You can get past vintages of Blindfold for between $25 to $32. ♦♦♦♦
Another wine brand that may be worth picking that is much more reasonably priced is Bogle. It’s a family name that’s also the Scots word for “ghost.” Bogle has a blend known as Phantom with a seasonally appropriate label.
GRADE: Exceptional ♦♦♦♦♦, Above average ♦♦♦♦, Good ♦♦♦, Below average ♦♦, Poor ♦
David Falchek executive director of the American Wine Society, reviews wines each week. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org