The Best Wines to Drink at Halloween
It’s late October, the nights are drawing in, the air outside is cold.
And in the UK, when Halloween comes around, it means we have to go outside and freeze if we want to enjoy this fun night of the year.
Halloween in the UK has gained a lot of traction in the last decade or so.
It is now much more than a night each year when our children go out to play Trick or Treat and hopefully bag some goodies.
These days, people throw Halloween parties for grownups, and many clubs and bars run themed events.
So now more than ever, Halloween is a great time to drink and enjoy wine.
In this article, we are going to look at some of the best wines to drink leading up to, during and after your Halloween event.
We will try and throw something different in to the mix with this one, as we will talk about fortified wines, great for warming the bones on a cold Halloween night.
We will also talk about mulled wine, and specifically which wines can be used as a great basis for a warming mulled wine on a cold Halloween evening.
Set the Scene with some Claret
It’s Halloween night, and you are getting ready to go out and party.
Are you looking for something to drink as you prepare for your fun night out?
How about drinking a nice glass or two of Claret? With its association with blood, this is the perfect Halloween wine to get you in the mood for fun.
So while you are putting on your spooky makeup, be that bloody vampire fangs, or zombie rotting flesh, why not sip a glass or two of Claret to get you in the mood?
Below we list a selection of great Claret wines for you to try.
Waitrose Reserve Claret
Made from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet grapes, this wine gives all of the classic Claret character, without breaking the bank.
Don’t go expecting the same drinking experience as an expensive Claret, but for a pre-party tipple while you prepare for Halloween, this is a good choice.
Great bouquet, good flavour but not too much body.
Again from the Waitrose Cellar, this is a more refined Claret than our previous budget selection.
A modern, deep red Claret, with plenty of character.
We chose this Claret, simply because it is such a good choice for drinking without accompanying food.
A great wine to sip as you prepare for your Halloween party.
Definition Claret 2010/2012
From Majestic Wine, this is a perfect example of what a good Claret should be.
A nice dark colour, with a fruity and spicy bouquet.
Not too dry on the palate, and with plenty of body, with undertones of raspberry.
A refined Claret to sip as a pre-party aperitif on Halloween.
Get Fortified Against the Cold – Fortified Wines to Warm the Cockles
It’s cold outside on Halloween night. So you need something to keep the chill from your bones.
A standard wine isn’t going to cut it. You need something a little more robust.
Fortified wines are great for this. There are some good fortified wines, that offer an alternative to the usual Sherry.
Here is our selection of good fortified wines that can keep you warm on a cold night.
Magnum Tonic Wine
From TheDrinkShop, this is a fortified tonic wine for the budget conscious.
Great for sharing around on a cold Halloween night.
This is a Jamaican recipe for tonic wine, and it has a very distinctive taste.
It has undertones of alcohol, but with an almost medicinal aroma, and a taste delivery that is at first alarming, until the finish blends the flavours together.
Rubis Chocolate Wine
From TheDrinkShop, this is a red Tempranillo wine, fortified with a chocolate flavour.
This might be hard to imagine, but if you have every tried eating chocolate liquors, then you can probably imagine how it’s going to taste.
Smooth chocolate start, and a great aroma.
The finish delivers the alcoholic kick, for a very pleasant drinking experience.
A selection of fortified wines to drink on Halloween night, would not be complete without mentioning at least one mead.
And here we have one, from TheDrinkShop.
Made from grapes, honey and herbs, Lindisfarne is one of the top modern mead drinks currently available.
The recipe for this mead can be traced back to 700AD.
A very interesting drink for Halloween, and one that may surprise you with its subtle flavours.
Mull it Over – The Best Wine to Make Mulled Wine From
Nothing warms the body like a nice mug of mulled wine. It has been a winter drink in Europe for hundreds of years.
But how do you make mulled wine?
What makes a good starting point for mulled wine?
Here is a list of good wines, that will make an excellent basis for mulled wine.
Either done in the traditional manner, or made using one of the many mulled wine additives that are widely available.
Something to consider when you are choosing a wine to mull, is that here, quality really counts.
It can be tempting just to use the cheapest wine possible.
However, as the wine is adding the foundation for the mulling process, skimping on quality will result in an inferior drink.
You don’t need to go crazy on the price, but aim for something above the bargain barrel in quality as a good base for a mulled wine.
Here are a few good choices:
Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages
Beaujolais makes a great foundation for good mulled wine.
The mulling process really seems to unlock a lot of that fruity flavour that is hidden away in Beaujolais.
The flavour of the fruit, combined with the spices used to mull the wine, results in a tangy, flavoursome drink that is sure to keep you warm on a cold Halloween night.
Merlot has plenty of character to start with, and the mulling process really builds on the flavours of this wine.
The great thing about using a semi-dry wine like this to mull, is that it results in a somewhat sweater, easier to drink mulled wine.
So great for people with a sweet tooth on Halloween night.
Mischief and Mayhem Pinot Noir Red Burgundy
From the Waitrose Cellar, this is a great place to start to make a fantastic mulled wine.
Burgundy really has the perfect character to be mulled.
Spicy, fruity bouquet, with a strong and challenging delivery on the palate, once it is mulled, this character becomes lighter, but extremely tasty.
Getting Warm Again – Wines to Drink When You Get Home
Halloween is over, and you are back home again.
Frozen fingers and chilled toes warming by the fire.
But wouldn’t a late night tipple help to warm you up even faster?
Here we present a selection of fortified wines and normal wines that would make a great late evening drink, to warm you after a chilly night out on Halloween.
Waitrose Amontillado Sherry
From the Waitrose Cellar, this is a classic Amontillado Sherry at a good price point.
This is a medium dry sherry, with a bouquet of dried fruits and nuts.
The taste delivering takes this bouquet and turns it in to a fuller experience on the palate.
OK, it’s not a world class sherry, but for the price it is great.
Barbeito Single Harvest Madeira
Again from the Waitrose Cellar, this is our non-fortified selection for getting warm after a cold Halloween night.
Madeira is one of the only wines that can compete with fortified wines in this role.
And this Madeira is something exceptional.
Only 3,000 bottles of this are made each year, yet the price remains affordable.
A wine that has been aged for 10 years in the cask, at a less than 30 Euro price point is rare. So this is something of a bargain.
Definitely worth trying if you enjoy finding fine wines at a good price.
Taylor’s 10 Year Old Tawny
We had to put a port on this list, it would have been incomplete without one.
We could have chosen something cheaper, but quite frankly, with port you really do get what you pay for.
A cheap port might be fine for sipping after a large meal.
But as a standalone drink, you need something more refined. This port does the job well.
Halloween and the eclectic selection
So there we have it, a selection of wines and fortified wines that would be suitable to drink on Halloween night.
Whether you are partying, going out with the children to trick or treat, or simple staying home by the fire.
The great thing about this list, is that there is such a wide variety of wines to choose from.
We have everything here from Beaujolais to Mead.
This is our most eclectic selection to date, and one that really can be explored, discovering new wines and fortified wines you may not have chosen under normal circumstances.
And that Barbeito Single Harvest Madeira we mentioned is something you can try at any time.
This wine is one of the best bargain wines around at the moment.
In all likelihood, the price of this wine will increase next season, so try it now before the price goes up.
Mac is an avid traveller, who spends many months of the year wandering the world with a laptop and a suitcase. He has been a wine lover for over 30 years, and has a fondness for Italian reds, although don’t ask his opinion on the Barolo Wars. On his travels he has tasted a great many wines. Some good, some bad, and some that should never have been sold for human consumption.