Has the vampire craze relaxed its death grip on the popular imagination, its unholy domination of pop culture? Not a chance. Behold the 2008 Vampire Pinot Noir, a wine whose label bears not a word about grape origins, flavor profile or food pairings, but instead features Lord Byron musing on those bloodsucking fiends who have haunted the human psyche down the centuries. This may not be a memorable wine, but boy will it look swell by candlelight on the drinks table at your Halloween party.
Expect to pay about $12 for this novelty, produced by a company that markets other Vampire wines as well as Vampire vodka and a Vamp energy drink in a can, at wine shops. The question, of course, is whether the stuff is worth the bite. The answer will depend largely on the strength of your affection for things that go flap flap flap in the night, but we tasted it and will share our take anyway.
This wine has no noticeable bouquet. On the tongue it delivers a very grapey first impression before blackberry and cherry enter the fray, underpinned by a bit of bramble and a touch of warm spice. The midrange finish is asserted by hints of black tea and gunpowder. It may not display much structure, but it is generous with the dark fruits.
The bottom line? While we wouldn't recommend Vampire Pinot Noir (origin: California) as an everyday table wine, it is drinkable and is pretty sure to be a hit on the night when zombies rule the party circuit.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.