~ By Andrea Pollock
Red wines are perfect if you are looking to find something that will help you get into that spooky Halloween spirit and theme.
Red wine soaked lips also look pretty ferocious with a vampire costume. If you are out choosing some wines to serve at your Halloween party think about red wines that will appear thick and heavy in the glass, something with that slightly blue hue that is reminiscent of blood. To get that bloody effect, look for rich Australian Shiraz or California Zinfandel; want to find something Canadian? Why not get an Ontario Baco Noir.
Many, many years ago the Mediterranean winemaking countries would fine their wines with pigs or cows blood. It is still very possible to find wines made like this today, although the use of blood as a fining agent is prohibited by some countries like the United States and France. Today most wines are fined using bentonite; a silica clay that can remove suspended materials in the wine giving it a better appearance. Eggs and milk have also been used as fining agents in old world winemaking.
To fine a wine using blood, it would be poured onto the top of a large vat of wine. Imagine you had a cup filled partway to the top with olive oil; if you were to add water to that glass, the water would sink to the bottom and the oil would rise to the top. The pigs blood would do much the same thing to the wine and would also catch a bunch of the impurities and filter them out of the wine. The suspended particles being filtered out by the blood can come from many things including the grape skins, the barrel and even the spent yeast cells. The result is a wine that is cosmetically improved and ready to be siphoned off the top.
My selections this week are wines that will taste good, but also be the perfect Halloween showcase wines to give you that rich, bloody effect at your table:
Kitfox Vineyards Foxy Red Blend 2005 – [California]
A pretty red colour invited you in to take a whiff filled with heavy red berry fruit, a little anise and some nice warm fruity pepper. Nice flavours that start off with some pleasant and gentle berry fruit, followed but dry, peppery tannins. 83/100 (July 18th, 2011)
Bird in Hand – Two in the Bush Merlot Cabernet – [Australia]
Nice, roasty bbq notes on the nose with blackberries and cool menthol. Very smooth flavours that leave a dry finish. A mouth full of warm berries, anise and mild oak. 86/100 (Sep. 20, 2011)