Wine Happenings. Happening Wines. Only in New York.

Happy Hallowine!

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As holidays go, Halloween is low on demands, high on flexibility, and tops in opportunity for creativity—especially in New York City. On Thursday the 27th, New York Wine Salon added some vinous flava to Halloween, having gathered a set of tasty wines, ghoul-icious grub and fun-loving wine people at 28on27 Loft for HAPPY HALLOWINE, our third event of the fall.

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Below are program details for each of the featured wines, presented as “Chil-l-ler Whites,” “Killer Reds” and “Sparkling Tricks & Treats.” {We also had five M-m-mystery Wines… but you had to be there to know what they were.. beh-heh-heh-heh.} These particular wines were picked to show a range of grapes, origins and styles; best of all, they were all under $15. Scary good wines for precious little coin—it doesn’t get any better. Not surprisingly, no single wine stood out for everyone, and each wine garnered “favorite” votes. This wasn’t a competition anyway. It was a festive gathering with wines a backdrop and a focus (enhanced by delish finger food).

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With no further ado, here is our #Hallowine lineup, complete with retail (and some restaurant) outlets where the wines should be in stock (but remember they are all in the market, so any shop can order any of the wines for you). No prices… because they are all under $15, and you can even find some under $10. Now that’s something to scream about!

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CHIL-L-LER WHITES

Domaine du Tariquet 2010 “Classic,” Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne, France. A tradition-bending blend from France, this wine hails from the heart of Armagnac country. Witness humble grapes, Ugni Blanc (70%) and Colombard (30%), make beautiful wine together. Fun fact: the founder of Tariquet was originally a bear trainer who bought the property when the vines had been decimated by phylloxera. Smart move. Find it at First Avenue Vintner, West 57 Wine & Spirits, Vintage on 2nd.

Domaine Cazes 2010 “Le Canon du Marechal,” Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes, France. At once utterly French and thoroughly mod, this blend of 80% Muscat and 20% Viognier was inspired by a local Roussillon patriot and (sez the back label) aspires to pair with asparagus. On top of that, it’s been Biodynamic since 1997. Find it at Garnet, Buvette, Chelsea Wine Country, Parlor.

The Seeker 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand. New Zealand grabbed Sauvignon Blanc as its signature grape and has proceeded to run with it, often in styles that are aggressively citrusy. This one is dialed back just a bit, showing a tad more elegance than the usual Marlborough SB, setting it up for sipping or pairing. Find it at 67 Wine and Chelsea Wine Vault.

Cave de Lugny 2009 “Les Charmes,” Macon-Lugny, Burgundy. No-oak is trendy for New World Chards, but it’s old hat for “Les Charmes.” Call it the original naked Chardonnay. Not as heady as expensive Burgundy; then again, you don’t have to worry about when to drink it. Just say “Maintenant!” Made by one of France’s most successful cooperatives (which no doubt keeps its best fruit for its own label). Find it for at Sherry-Lehmann, Garnet, Mister Wright…lots of places.

KILLER REDS

André Brunel 2009 Cotes du Rhone, France. France’s quintessential bistro wine, CdR thrives when paired with all sorts of food (after all, it helped put the vin in coq au vin). The blend here is 80% Grenache and 10% each Syrah and Cinsault, all farmed for low yields. Look for red fruits and a touch of spice. Find it at City Cellar Bar and Grill, Whole Foods, Pop’s.

Jose Maria da Fonseca 2008 “Periquita,” Terras do Sado, Portugal. Created in 1850 and still going strong, Periquita is based on the native Portuguese grape Castelao. Not flashy; just a solid table wine that’s built, well, for the table. Tasty on its own, it only gets better with savory food. Look for berries and plum in the nose, with more of the same in a long, balanced palate. Find it at Astor, 67 Wine, Buy Rite, Aldea.

Casillero del Diablo 2010 Carmenere, Rapel Valley, Chile. Well established as the go-to country for value wines, Chile is starting to strut its stuff with a signature grape (à la Shiraz in Australia and Malbec in Argentina). Called the “forgotten grape,” Carmenere was originally a Bordeaux variety, now thriving in Chile. This is simply one of the best examples around. Find it at America’s Wine Shop, PJ Wine, Chelsea Wine Vault.

Chateau Bonnet 2007 Bordeaux Rouge, France. One of the world’s classic blends, Bordeaux tends to be less fruit-forward (earthier) than New World Cab-Merlot blends, with evident structure (tannin and acidity) that positions it to improve over time. Bonnet (which makes a great blanc as well) is a great example of Bordeaux for drinking today. Find it at 67 Wine.

The Seeker 2009 Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina. You can hardly walk into a wine store these days without knocking into a stack of Malbec. The Seeker is Kobrand’s new line that taps iconic grapes and regions then brings them together under one nifty conceptual umbrella—and this one makes a fresh case for Malbec’s star power. Find it at 67 Wine or Chelsea Wine Vault.

Purple Cowboy 2009 “Tenacious Red,” Paso Robles. In the Old World, tradition and practicality have long meant that only grapes that grow in the same zip code make it into the same bottle. In the New World, thanks to technology, it’s easier to inject some playfulness into blends. Purple Cowboy Tenacious Red ($14), made from Cab and Syrah is all about playful, with a little punch. Find it at Carnegie Liquor, New Ehrlich Wine & Liquor, International Wine & Spirits.

Deep Purple 2009 Zinfandel, California. Ready for a time warp? Pulling its imagery from the ’60s, its name from the ’70s and its fruit from the soulful heart of California Zin Country (Lodi), Deep Purple delivers all that berry-rrific fruit and spice without going over the top with the alcohol. Bonus: the psychedelic type on the front label is actually a tasting note. Find at Carnegie Liquor, New Ehrlich Wine & Liquor, International Wine & Spirits.

SPARKLING TRICKS & TREATS

Valdo Prosecco, Veneto, Italy. So light it’s practically ethereal, bubbly Prosecco has mild apple-y fruit and just a hint of sweetness that makes it hard to resist. Perfect for lunch, receptions and cocktails (hey, it was used to create the Bellini) and any occasion where you want to add sparkle without paying big bucks. Valdo is simply a great, balanced example. Find it at 67 Wine.

Cinzano NV Asti, Italy. The Cinzano brothers set up shop in Turin back in 1757, but this wine could not be more contemporary. Moscato is the hottest grape going these days, and this one represents its spiritual homeland of Asti admirably. Sweet? You bet. That’s Moscato’s job. A touch of sparkle and balancing acidity to boot. Sip, relax, repeat. Find it at Eataly, Adel Wine & Liquors; Da Rosini, Il Palazzo.

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Disclosure: Wines were curated for this event by New York Wine Salon as part of a cooperative promotional program. There are lots of good wines out there; we are thrilled to be able to showcase these wines tonight, as they represent especially good quality and value.

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