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Wine Buzz: October 2014

Posted on  | September 30, 2014   Bookmark and Share
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This Halloween, try something with a bite!

RED BLENDS SLIDE TOWARD THE ‘DARK’ SIDE…FOR HALLOWEEN & BEYOND?
Holiday-happy Americans have grown accustomed to treating October as Halloween Month. This may be at least partly responsible for the recent crop of red blends that lean—conceptually if not also tastewise— to the dark side. No doubt the 2013 limited-release success of Apothic Dark (from E. & J. Gallo) and Ravenswood’s “Besieged” (Constellation) also served as harbingers. Either way, it is clear that suppliers are testing the limits of the splendid-blended phenomenon. Here is a snapshot of wines that will fit right into Halloween displays this year. Some are seasonal; some will stick around.

THE DEVIL MADE THEM DO IT.

Casillero del Diablo 2012 “Devil’s Collection” is a blend of Carmenère, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah from Chile’s Rapel Valley, featuring dark ripe fruit (plum, black cherry) and a sinful hint of dark chocolate. (The red devil also has a white sidekick, melding Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer.)
SRP $15

EVERYONE LOVES A GOOD SECRET….

Santa Rita has launched Santa Rita 2013 “Secret Reserve,” from Chile’s Maipo Valley. The grapes are not exactly secret (53% Cabernet, 20% Merlot, 15% Syrah, plus Petit Verdot and Carmenere), but importer Palm Bay surely hopes word of the wine travels at the speed of gossip.
SRP $11.99

 

 

NEXT “CULT WINE”?

If you every doubted that red blends can do anything, look no further than TGIC Global’s latest—Black Ink, a California blend (mostly Merlot and Syrah) that aims to be “a cult wine for the masses.” Described in press materials as “juicy blackberry cobbler meets smoky licorice with a hint of spice,” the wine sports a squid graphic on top of the capsule.
SRP $9.99

 

 

DFV GETS EVEN GNARLIER.

DFV’s Gnarly Head label has launched a seasonal, limited release: “Authentic Black.” It’s a dark, inky Petite Sirah-based blend sourced from Lodi, CA, aged in oak for 12 months and designed to stand up to fall’s heartiest dishes. Authentic Red and Authentic White continue year-round.
SRP $11.99

BEWARE THE RAVEN OF AUTUMN.

With its namesake bird, Ravenswood fits right in come Halloween. The 2013 “Besieged” (Sonoma County AVA) is the second release, blending robust Petite Sirah, Carignane, Zinfandel, Syrah, Barbera, Alicante Bouschet and Mourvedre. Limited time only; but Besieged is the first of an ongoing Storyteller Series, via which Founding Winemaker Joel Peterson interprets aspects of the winery and its vineyards in completely new blends.
SRP $15.99

IN THE BLACK OF THE NIGHT….

Few brands have excelled in the blended arena like Menage à Trois. The front label wastes no time appealing to shoppers’ sensual side: “Let the deep, dark magic of Midnight embrace you.” Though not a limited-edition, Ménage à Trois “Midnight” is produced in small batches of numbered lots, composed of Merlot, Cabernet, Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot. The 2012 vintage already sold out; 2013 is entering the pipeline.
SRP $13.99

RETURNING TO A DARK PLACE.

Named for the mysterious place, Apotheca, where vintners stored their most coveted concoctions in 13th century Europe, Apothic Red has been one of the most remarkable Cali red-blend debuts of recent memory. Apothic Dark is back this Q4, again for a limited time only, with the brand’s signature smooth style deepened via Petite Sirah, Teroldego and Merlot.
SRP $14


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