Thursday, September 17, 2009

that old black magic

It seems that in our society we're always celebrating our holidays way too early. Christmas in October, Back To School in June, Valentine's Day before New Year's. Well, right now it's Halloween, and even the wine industry is getting in on the action.
Last week I stopped by Cost Plus to pick up a couple everyday bottles for my tiny little wine collection - I like to try new things that won't break my bank and Cost Plus is the perfect venue for that. Right in the front of the store was a big display showing the latest in .... Halloween wines?

That's right, Halloween is no longer just about candy corn and costumes ... it can also be about wine pairing, with that special magical (or zombie!) touch. Now, most of these I wouldn't touch with a 6-inch cork screw. Any wine that states its region as California, like the Trick and Treat ones up front (see above), are pretty much a guaranteed Russian Roulette of drinking - those grapes could come from anywhere, gosh darn it!
Well, one bottle I couldn't resist was the little black cat. Specifically, the 2007 Zeller Schwarze Katz (translates to Zeller Black Cat), a German Riesling from Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, a famous wine region with "roots" dating back to Roman expansion of the European continent. I know it's taboo (pun intended) to purchase a bottle mainly for its packaging ... but when you find a bottle in the shape of an adorable black cat that could serve as a perfect vase for that stray daisy you find on the side of the road, you can't say no, right? Especially when that wine is $8.99.

(let's have a look at that bottle again, so cute!)

Not to mention the fact that I've traditionally had good luck with German Rieslings ... light and sweet whites generally respond well to the cooler climates that Germany has to offer.
Well, the wine was surprisingly pleasant, for the relatively short amount of time that I was able to drink it without turning into Shirley Temple. The color's an incredibly light yellow, almost like an evening sunbeam shining through glass, with tiny bubbles popping up periodically. The nose has a pleasing combination of sweetness and acidity, a slight lemongrass crispness overshadowed by the overwhelming scent of sweet white peach.
The white peach continues into the flavor of the wine, which is very, very sweet ... almost like a dessert wine. It also has notes of well-ripened green apple, with a little spritz on the tongue. It's pretty easy to drink by itself in small doses, but honestly, after awhile it becomes a little too much of the same sticky-sweet thing and I couldn't drink it anymore. It's not a wine meant to be by itself, unless you're the type of drinker who can't stand anything that's not sweet or blush.
As far as a food pairing, I didn't create one this evening (too late to cook!), but I could easily imagine this with some spicy Indian or Thai cuisine, preferably with a bit of nice red curry and bay leaves. It would also work well in a cheese fondue, which I plan on writing an article on in the next week or two ... so be on the lookout for that!
I would definitely recommend this wine for a novice who's trying to get into wine for the first time - it clocks in at 9.5% alcohol and it's perfectly sweet enough for people who may not like the red wines so much.
And now I have a perfect little bottle of a naughty black cat to keep around the house. Delightful!


  1. I must run to go get one of those now. I've never had that type of wine because I'm pretty squeamish about trying new things but I might just have to do it for the bottle. :) I looove Halloween!

  2. that is SO cute! want it! i always love hearing about simple ways to figure out wine. i'm utterly hopeless.

  3. I wondered about that wine in the cat-shaped bottle. At least it does not smell like cat-pee! Thanks for reviewing it.