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October 12, 2017

Your best wine buys for $60, Halloween edition

What $60 spent on wine in one month looks like, by Philly Wine Week

Wine Halloween
wine Jill Weber /for PhillyVoice

A.O.C. Cahors is known as the “black wine” of the southwest of France — the deeply inky, earthy wines that seem to complement the regional fare of duck (and duck fat). Cahors is also the birthplace of Cot, the grape more commonly known as Malbec.

It’s nearly Halloween, which means it is time for costumes, candy, cobwebs, calories, etc. But, let’s remember what Halloween is really about – tricks and treats! We've laid out a few great tricks to score the greatest treat: wine! 

The experts at Philly Wine Week bring you seven days of wine tastings, dinners and events in the spring every year. Now, they're here with a new monthly column guiding you through how to drink great wine for just $60 or less. First up is Jill Weber, of Philly Wine Week and owner of Jet Wine Bar, Rex 1516 and Café Ynez. With a last name like Weber, we thought it appropriate to have Jill walk us through fall’s freakiest fete: Halloween. 

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What to drink when you’re blanking on a costume:

Before you can step foot into a party, you have to get that costume together. If you’re stuck for an idea, let wine be your guide: Do you spill your wine? Same. Does red wine turn your teeth blue? Yup. Let’s use it to our advantage…

I found Clos La Coutale Cahors 2014 for $16.99. As the label says, this is a wine from Cahors, southwest France. Wines from the southwest are robust and hearty, and Cahors is known for its super-dark, inky “black” wines made from Côt (just the way the fancy French of Cahors say, “Malbec”).

Blue teeth and blood-wine stains seem like the perfect accessories to your zombie or mummy costume, no? We’ll drink to that.

Trick for buying this great treat: See those magic words, “Imported by Kermit Lynch?” Trust them.

Jill Weber /for PhillyVoice

On the palate, Anima Negra Quibia Falanis is weighty with a creamy texture and has concentrated flavors, but at the same time, it is fresh, delicate and well-balanced.

What to drink post-candy binge:

So, you’ve blinked and half a bag of sour gummy worms are gone. Blink twice more and you’ve finished off the candy corn. The last thing you’re thinking to wash it down with is wine, right? Think again!

Enter: Anima Negra Quibia Falanis 2015 for $15.99. This wine is a little round and soft – to coat your mouth against all that sour! – and has a ton of complementary flavors, as per the “official” tasting notes: white peach, pear, sea brine and jasmine.

Trick for buying this great treat: Don’t be scared off by the animal label, which is often how lesser producers trick us into buying their wines.

What’s best to pour at your “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” viewing party:

Don’t freak, we’re not suggesting pumpkin-flavored wine! But orange wines are all the rage these days for their amber-y gold hues stemming from (wine puns!) white-but-pigmented grapes.

Seek out the Ferdinand Rebula Slovenia 2014 for $19.99. The juice stays with the skins long enough to get some color and tannin as well as nutty, peachy and salty notes. Your friends will thank you, and we think Violet would have invited Charlie Brown if he’d promised this wine.

Trick for drinking this great treat: Some lightly salted pumpkin seeds would taste absolutely excellent with the Rebula.

What to drink for liquid courage before entering a haunted house:

If you have friends who insist being terrified is fun (but, why?!), I have to suggest enlisting the power of the bubbles. See, sparkling-wine bottles must be thick and heavy to withstand the internal pressure of the wine. We aren’t promoting violence here, but when actors are jumping out at you from behind fake gravestones, you must be prepared to defend yourself.

The Chook Sparkling Shiraz South Australia NV for $15.99 has got your back. Big, heavy bottle? Check. Delicious wine with nice licorice and blackberry notes? Check.

Trick for drinking this great treat: It’s also the perfect wine to pair with all the chocolate you’ll need to consume in order to bring down the anxiety after whichever haunted tour you’re being dragged through.

Jill Weber is secretary of Philly Wine Week, a professional archaeologist and owner of Jet Wine Bar, Rex 1516 and Café Ynez.