By now, you've surely stocked up on Halloween candy. But, have you stockpiled any Halloween wine?
Each year, the Utah DABC store stocks wines from Vampire Vineyards. This year's selection includes Vampire Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Grigio. Each sells for $8.99.
Vampire Vineyards was founded in the late 1980s by Michael Machat, a New York entertainment attorney, who first bottled an Algerian Syrah under the Vampire label. Shortly after, Machat moved his operation to Italy and planted Sangiovese (Italian for the blood of Jove). In 1989, 672 bottles of Vampire Sangiovese were shipped from Europe to the Anne Rice Fan Club in New Orleans.
Next stop: Transylvania, where Vampire wines were then being made, and sales by 1995 had grown to 600,000 bottles annually. During that time, Machat married U.K. rocker Lisa Dominique and, in 2006, the couple moved to Paso Robles, Calif., which was “surrounded by hills full of intricate winding caves, a perfect hideout for vampires,” according to Machat. Well, it’s also a great place for growing wine grapes. And so, today’s Vampire wines are about more than just Halloween marketing—they’re actually perfectly good, affordable wines for Halloween or any other time.
Vampire Merlot is blended with 8 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 8 percent Zinfandel, the latter to give it a haunting spice note. Vampire Cabernet Sauvignon has a bit of Merlot added for softness, along with Syrah for structure. It’s a good wine for the Halloween grill or blood-red pasta dishes. I've yet to try the Vampire Pinot Grigio.
Happy Halloween, everybody!