For some reason, I’ve always enjoyed celebrating Halloween. Growing up, my friends and I had elaborate costumes and went trick-or-treating in a local housing development. In college, my sorority sisters and I were not only dressing up to go to Halloween parties, but also handing out candy to the local kids trick-or-treating on campus. When I first moved to DC, I spent a week’s worth of dinner and drinking money on candy because it was my first time living in a city and I didn’t want to run out of candy when all of the neighborhood kids went trick-or-treating from apartment to apartment (I was wrong. There were no trick-or-treaters in my building, and I was left with a sickening amount of candy for dinner that week). As I gained more friends in DC, I threw Halloween parties that still occasionally come up in nostalgic conversation. Now, as a member of the condo association board, I organize the building’s party, which is combined with a fall food drive, as well as a building-wide trick-or-treat. This year, we only had a few kids come to our door, as there aren’t that many children in our building, but it’s still about the fun of the holiday.
To keep with that spirit, I wanted to find a bottle of wine that had a Halloween feel. To make it even more challenging, October 31st was the last day of Virginia wine month, so I went hunting for a Halloween-ish Virginia wine. I ended up with Blenheim Vineyards’ Painted Red because nothing says Halloween like the Queen of Hearts, particularly when paired with an undercurrent of Alice in Wonderland.
The 2008 Blenheim Vineyards Painted Red (winery) is a blend of 37% Cabernet Franc, 32% Petit Verdot, 28% Merlot, and 3% Malbec grapes and was dark purple with flecks of ruby. On the nose, there were dark berries, followed by smoke, cedar, and something vegetal. There was also a hint of all-spice. In the mouth, there were cherries, blackberries, smoke, and a touch of all-spice. The wine had a medium body, light tannins, and good acid.
Is this worth a glass after work? Sure…you won’t be drinking anything out of the ordinary, but you’ll have a decent, reliable glass of wine. At $32, this wine was decent, but nothing special. It helped me get into the Halloween mood and was perfect for enjoying the latest episode of Boardwalk Empire. To some extent, though, it was the label and the novelty of the wine that I liked just much as, if not more than, the wine itself.
Purchased at: Best Cellars in Clarendon
Overall: 3 corks