With the scariest night of the year only a few sleeps away, many people we know are looking to fete All Hallows' Eve in style. And as costume parties abound, inevitably people start asking us about the perfect pairings for Fright Night that won't scare the daylights out of their bank accounts.
Now, unlike other notable seasonal celebrations like Thanksgiving or Christmas, where selecting a great wine to pair with the occasion is like shooting fish in a barrel, in our minds there really isn't a spooktacular wine for the masquerade ball. Sure, there are darkly hued cocktails with clever names and ice-trays in creative shapes like witch hats and ghosts, but when it comes to wine it's tough to get a bottle that can fill in for eye of newt in a pinch.
But, cute names aside, if you're hosting a ghoulish crowd this year and don't want to be scared silly in terms of budget, here are some magic bottles that will do the trick for your wallet and be a treat for your guests. The best part is they all come in under $15 -- and some even under $10! And since they're usually available all year long, you don't have to stuff your loot bag -- though at these prices, you may want to.
Castillo de Monseran Garanacha Carinena, Spain 2010
A fabulous and delicious value, filled with ripe raspberry concentrate, crushed black pepper and spice. Fresh and juicy, with just enough tannins to keep things interesting, this is a sure bet for a crowd.
Masi Sergio Alighieri Possessioni Rosso, Veneto 2009
Rich ruby in colour and truly Italian with aromas of dry cured meat, crushed black pepper and smokey bay leaves. On the palate look for smoke, black cherry, dark chocolate, meat and olives notes. Old world sophistication for a totally modern price.
Trapiche Astica Sauvignon Blanc/Semillion, Argentina 2010
Starbright and pale straw, guests never guess this wine is less than $10. Rich and medium bodied with pleasing tropical notes, sweet citrus and herbacious flavours, this is a completely enjoyable wine.
Beringer Stone Cellars Chardonnay, California 2008
Pale gold and lightly oaked with flavours and aromas of canned fruit salad and ripe pear. Hints of vanilla and butterscotch add some complexity, while the restrained use of oak keeps things fresh and easy drinking.