Our blog title this week is a play on the famous quote cackled by a witch in Shakespeare’s Macbeth “something wicked this way comes.” This week at City Vino, for our Saturday October 31, 2020, tasting, rather than feature wines with diabolical names, we opted to feature four wines with labels that conjure up something a little wicked for Halloween.
The first featured wine is the Volteface Alentejo Tinto Reserva 2017 from Portugal. It has a glowing orange mask, with an intricate design on its label that is ripe for intrigue, as it attempts to disguise itself. Don’t be fooled by the brightness of its mask, for inside awaits something dark. The wine is a blend of 75 percent Alicante Bouschet, and 25 percent Syrah. Alicante Bouschet—a crossing of Grenache and Petit Bouschet—is what is called a “teinturier grape,” where the flesh inside the grape has color to it, leading to deeply colored wine. This blend has aromas and flavors of black cherry, blackberry, plum, black pepper, and tobacco. Pair this wine with roasted meats, stews, or devilishly fatty foods like foie gras, and cheeses like Cheddar, Colby, or Swiss. Read more on Portuguese wines here, here, or here.
Our next wine is Sparkman Cellars Wilderness Red Blend 2015, from Washington State. The label appears to be of a foggy and haunted woods. Was that the crack of a twig I heard? Is that a buzzard circling? Did I hear a distant howl? This wine from above the woods features an intriguing blend of 62 percent Syrah, 14 percent Tempranillo, 11 percent Grenache, 7 percent Petite Sirah, 5 percent Souzao, and 1 percent Touriga Nacional. The nose and palate show blackberry, plum, flowers, crushed nuts, and spice. This is a wine to pair with grilled, roasted, or smoked meats, poultry, or fish.
Next, we head to Bulgaria, for the Villa Melnik Aplauz Shirok Reserve Stroma Valley 2015. This label includes a golden coat of arms above a gray scene of a structure above the vineyards, with the dark mountains looming in the background. What lurks in those mountains keeping watch on the winery below? The wine behind this label is made from 100 percent Melnik, which is a rare red grape grown in the southwest of Bulgaria, near its borders with Greece and the Republic of Macedonia. Wines made from the grape were a favorite of Winston Churchill, and have been compared in profile to wines from Chateauneuf-du-Pape. The wine is medium-bodied, with aromas and flavors of strawberries, sour cherries, and tobacco. Pairings for this wine include pasta or cheese dishes and game meats. For more information on Bulgarian wines read here.
Our final wine for the week is the Chakana Winery 4 Gatos Locos 2018, from Valle de Uco Mendoza, Argentina. This wine is sold with four different labels—one corresponding to the personality of each of the winemakers, all of which depict black cats. Do not be fooled by their smiles, as they are undoubtedly up to something truly sinister. Remember: Never cross a black cat. The wine is made from 100 percent Malbec, with spicy and perfumed aromas, having flavors of black cherry, red plum, rosemary, and oregano. It is recommended to enjoy this wine with beef, lamb, or poultry dishes. To learn more about Argentinian wines click here or Malbec’s home here.
We hope you will join us for Halloween and find treats within these wickedly labelled bottles!