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Double, Double, Toil and Trouble

By Debra Meiburg MW

Wine can be spooky. Bubbling vats of fermenting grape juice emit heat, froth and mysterious gases and seemingly innocent cellars are mysteriously called caves in France. With the spooky American holiday, Halloween, just around the corner, why not tuck a bottle of wine in your trick-or-treat bag to celebrate?

It is not clear how orange became a Halloween color—most likely due to jack o’lanterns. For an orange celebration, open a bottle from the Orange region of France, home of the famous Rhône Valley wines, such as Domaine Roger Sabon, Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

Or, pop open a bottle of the orange-label Veuve Clicquot Brut. For an additional cost, the bottle comes in an orange insulated costume. This top Champagne house was one of the first companies in the world to register its trademark color, which is described as egg yolk. Egg yolks have long had a Halloween role to play in America, it being a popular Halloween prank to toss eggs at moving vehicles.

Follow your bottle of bubbly with the bright tangerine-colored label of Sacred Hill Chardonnay from Marlborough, New Zealand. Perched just above the words “barrel fermented” is a logo that looks suspiciously like a little witch in a black cloak. Or, strikingly labeled Toar offers a knee quaking option, with its roaring orange label bringing to mind the heat of the underworld.

And in that regard, Dievole Renascimento (Devil’s Rebirth) from Tuscany is a devilishly fitting bottle to open at midnight. The devil is a ubiquitous character as his name is also found label of Chile’s Casillero Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon. The devil also seems to be an organized fellow as “Casillero Diablo” can be interpreted to mean the devil’s cellar or the devil’s filing cabinet. Family legend purports that the winery’s founder hid his special wines in the devil’s cellar to discourage unauthorized sampling.

If your trick-or-treat haul lacks sweet candy-corn, open a bottle of Quady’s Orange Muscat, California. This dessert wine is a zingy blend of lime, orange peel, orange marmalade, quince, and apricot jam.

Phantoms, goblins and skeletons might leave you with Halloween nightmares, so close the evening with the reassuring Zorro-like silhouette on the label of Sandeman, Oloroso Rich Cream Sherry. This after dinner drink is laden with nutty walnut flavors and its high alcohol gives it a warm spicy palate, perfect to ward off the cold spirits.

While 31st October is primarily associated with the dark underworld and wandering spirits, it is also a celebration of the fall season. Scarecrows, dried cornstalks and plump orange pumpkins are invitingly arranged on American porches and front yards alongside witches and giant spiders. Scarecrows are scarce in Hong Kong, let alone front yards, but don’t let that dull your celebration. Instead, decorate your balcony with dried bamboo branches and open a bottle of Antcliff’s Chase. The label of this Aussie Pinot Noir sports a bright orange scarecrow cheerfully deterring birds from pilfering the end of season bounty. Or, open a bottle of Carpineto’s Dogajolo, a rich Tuscan blend with so many festive fall leaves on its label that you’ll find yourself looking for a rake.

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