Saturday, December 10, 2022

The scariest wines for Halloween

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You can underline the ghostly mood on Halloween with the right wine accompaniment, how about a blood-colored wine?

Isabelle Thürlemann-Brigger

With Halloween just around the corner, it’s time to get in the mood for gloomy November with a glass of wine.

Wine accompaniment to spooky dishes

Something terrifying can be conjured up from the pantry in just a few minutes. There are no limits to your imagination, neither in the preparation nor in the naming of your creations. Already at the aperitif you can teach your guests to fear with a tasty wine spritzer, peppered with lychee eyeballs and puff pastry fingers.

The leftovers of the self-carved pumpkin face can be used in a starter soup. A strong Gewürztraminer from Alsace goes well with this. An aromatic Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is a good choice for the exotic variant with coconut milk and ginger because of its ripe tropical aroma.

For the main course, we recommend an uncomplicated, fruity red wine without aging from Switzerland, for example a Gamaret from Geneva or a Gamay from Valais. These wines are rather light and not too filling. They still leave room for a succulent Halloween cupcake for dessert.

Bloodthirsty Cries

If you’re open to a taste experience from the afterlife, you can indulge in a wine with a subtle meaty-bloody taste, which doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing! Some blue grape varieties naturally have this aroma. Such wines are well suited as food companions because they absorb and complement the aroma profile of food.

Wines made from the Mencía grape, for example, often have notes of undercooked steak. There are also floral and mineral notes. Typical representatives of these wines come from Bierzo in north-west Spain. The wines made from the Croatian grape variety Teran also have a bloody character. Their color is also often described as blood red.

The yeast strain Brettanomyces (Brett for short) can also produce aromas of fresh meat or leather in wine. This happens during winemaking in the cellar and is mainly a problem with red wine because of the warmer fermentation and storage temperatures. In small concentrations, Brett is enriching because it promotes complexity. Above a certain amount, however, this harmful yeast is clearly classified as a wine defect.

The use of blood to clarify wine sounds like an anecdote from the cabinet of horrors. For a long time, it was common practice to use blood or proteins derived from it to remove turbidity. In Europe and the USA, this method was only banned at the end of the 1990s as a result of the BSE (mad cow disease) crisis.

Creepy Labels

Not only what’s in the bottle, but also what’s stuck to it can decoratively enrich your Halloween celebration. Provocative, eye-catching designs are rampant on wine shelves today. In keeping with the ambience, you can grab a bottle with a skull label, for example from the winemaker duo Karel and Pablo. The Demuerte collection bears the promising slogan “to die for”.

Alternatively, you can serve up a wine from Australian producer 19 Crimes. Each of his wines is dedicated to a British villain who became a criminal and was exiled to Australia in the 18th century. The 19 Crimes app allows you to listen to the story of the outlaws and get in the creepy mood.

If you don’t have time for a hop into the store or a trip to the Frankenstein winery in Offenburg (D), Baden, you can let your creative streak run free and design your own label. There are numerous templates for this on the internet.

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