A few weeks ago, before I returned to Rabat, I hosted a Halloween themed wine tasting at Bean Good!, a little coffee and wine shop in Arlington, Virginia. If you follow me on Instagram, you saw a sneak peek of some of the wines that were featured.
I love wine and being invited to host the wine tasting was such a treat! One of my close friends from high school who lives in the DC area connected me to the owners of the shop and she also co-hosted the tasting with me. Since I’m by no means a sommelier, I volunteered my time and was happily compensated with the wine I drank. We had six wines featured, 2 whites and 4 reds. This post is a little late in coming, but each of the bottles have wonderfully spooky labels and would make the perfect display for Halloween. Beyond Halloween, several of these wines pair well with stews and roasts, perfect for Fall dining!
Here’s a quick rundown of the six wines we tasted.
1. INSOMNIA WHITE BLEND 2011
A blend of Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. This wine has a light citrus and floral character. My first thought when I sipped it was grapefruit. It is a little too light bodied for my tastes, but it’s good for sipping and has a clean finish. Drink this with Asian foods, like your Thai carry-out as you are handing out candy to the kiddies tomorrow night. Click here for a review from The Frugal Wine Snob.
2. VALLEY OF THE MOON 2011
I love the Russian River Valley so when I saw this wine was from that region, I probably started out with a bias. I’m not a big drinker of whites, but I love a good Chardonnay. This one is actually a white blend, but it is mostly Chardonnay and it is 100% stainless steel, so it’s crisp without any oakiness. I called this one the “Chardonnay for non-Chardonnay drinkers” at the tasting because I often find people turned off by the oak on many California Chards. There is a light effervescence on this one and I liked it. It’s not a sparkling wine, but it gives the edge of your tongue a little tickle when you first take a sip. I thought this one would go well will creamy pastas. Bring on the Alfredo!
3. SPELL BOUND PETITE SIRAH 2012
This is from M by Michael Mondavi and I termed this one the “Game-Day Wine” because I can picture myself sipping on this one for hours, while munching on snacks. It is easy to drink and I imagined it pairing well with a charcuterie platter and other apps. This, as with each of the reds that follow, get better after they breathe a bit.
4. CURIOUS BEASTS
Crowd favorite! This is a blend of Merlot, Petite Sirah, Syrah & Zindandel. This wine is jammy, spicy, and has a dry finish. Think grilled meats and chocolate when you pop open this one. Then again, we didn’t have grilled meats or chocolate to offer at the tasting and this wine was the most asked for wine at the tasting. I was too busy sipping and pouring wines at this point, and didn’t take a picture of the fantastic bottle and packaging, but The Food Gypsy captures the eerie feel of the bottle in her review!
Another red blend, this time a combination of Carignane, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Mourevedre, Alicante Bouschet and Barbera. Drier than the Curious Beasts, this wine is medium-full bodied. This is your quintessential fall wine. Think stews, roasts, and meaty dishes for this wine. By the end of the night, after all my wine drinking, I was craving a nice pot roast and this is the wine I’d reach for.
6. WINE MEN OF GOTHAM 2011
This was my favorite of the six. An Australian Shiraz, this wine was the boldest and driest wine featured in the tasting. This has the big, full-bodied bang of a traditional Shiraz, but the alcohol level at 13%, is a little lower than the more common Shiraz from Australia. Dry, full-bodied reds are my thing, and this one delivered just that. I sipped this one all night, even without a meal.
I don’t have any exciting Halloween plans tomorrow since the holiday is not observed in Morocco, but I do plan to eat a few snack sized Twix that Omar picked up from the duty free the last time he was at the airport. Of course, I will also treat myself to a glass of red wine, but that wouldn’t make it different from any other evening for me!