With Halloween quickly approaching, I am yet again turned off by the same old - same old costume parties I attend each year. Craving something new, I wondered - can I combine my favorite past time (drinking wine of course) with my least favorite holiday? And so began my quest to put a ghoulish spin on wine get togethers and relieve my friends from their heavy makeup, masks, and platform heels for just one year.
What I came up with is fun, different, and allows your guests to dress for the occassion if they wish and taste some unique, different, and GOOD wines! The premise of the event is a blind tasting. Each couple is pre-assigned to bring a bottle (or two - depending on the size of your group) by the host. These wines are grouped into different themes based on the Halloween premise, for example:
Group 1: Vampire Wines
Vampire Vineyards, located in Transylvania, has a number of blood red wines including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Zinfandel.
Group 2: Bull's Blood (Egri Bikaver)
This Hungarian wine is typically the highest selling wine of the region. The native Kekfrankos grape is often blended from at least three other varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Kadarka, and Merlot. The result is a full-bodied red, with deep flavors reminsicent of strong berries.
Group 3: Ghosts and Ghouls
Challenge your guests with this one to come up with a play on words within the name, region, or producer of a specific wine. Here's some examples: Ghost Block (Napa Cabernet), River of Skulls (Sierra Foothills Mouverde), or Eye of the Toad (Sonoma Rose).
When your guests arrive, bag each bottle of wine in a paper bag and label it with a number. Also present each guest with a tasting card theme for the holiday. Give suggestions for the color category using terms like blood red, ghoulish gold, etc. Get creative and fun! Lastly, ask each guest to identify the wines based not on varietal or region but by name. Was this Ghost Block or Vampire Syrah? The resulting conversation is sure to spure some classic comments and fun bickering. With this party, your guests will be impressed with your creativity and will thank you for rescuing them from their standard black cat costume for yet another year.