HalloWine Party 2010

Sally and I had a few friends over for a "HalloWine" party last Saturday night. The wine theme was "favorites under $20" and Sally was able to pair each one with a finger food, a cheese, and even a Halloween candy! The tasting was blind, so our guests also got to decide whether each wine was a trick or a treat.

1st Place - 2008 Cycles Gladiator Pinot Noir (100% Treat)
This was the only wine to get 100% "Treat" votes. Cycles Gladiator makes an outstanding Pinot Noir, and it tastes even better when you know how inexpensive it is! It has a nice balance of earthiness with fruit and went very well with all our pairings.
  • Finger food: mixed veggie tray, pigs in a blanket
  • Cheese: smoked Gouda, Camembert
  • Candy: Hot Tamales
2nd Place (tie) - 2009 Ferrari Carano Fume Blanc (78% Treat)
This is probably the wine we recommend to friends and family most often, so it was good to see it do well in our tasting. It's a dry Sauvignon Blanc (hence, "Fume Blanc") that is a very smooth drinker and goes well with a wide variety of food.
  • Finger food: cranberry feta pinwheels with ham
  • Cheese: lemon feta spread
  • Candy: candy corn
2nd Place (tie) - 2007 Ravenswood Napa Valley Old Vine Zinfandel (78% Treat)
I've got nuthin' to say about this one because I voted "Trick". It wasn't my favorite, but many of our guests said the wine grew on you, especially with food.
  • Finger food: pepperoni pizza bites
  • Cheese: aged cheddar, Dubliner
  • Candy: Skittles
4th Place - 2008 Blackstone Winemaker's Select Cabernet Sauvignon (75% Treat)
This wine was exactly what a good, inexpensive bottle of wine should be. An easy drinker that's light on flavors, tannins, and alcohol taste so it goes well with a wide variety of food.
  • Finger food: open-face London broil sandwiches (mmmmm, soooo good!)
  • Cheese: blue Stilton, brie
  • Candy: Hershey's Miniatures
5th Place - 2008 Hess Chardonnay (56% Treat)
Hard to believe a Hess didn't fair well, but it drew mixed reviews from our guests. Some really enjoyed its neutral Chardonnay flavors - not too much butter and not too much tart fruit. Others felt the flavor was a little 'off' and they didn't like it with their food.
  • Finger food: vegetable egg rolls
  • Cheese: Monterey jack, double cream Gouda
  • Candy: Reece's Peanut Butter Cups