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Hallowine: some scary labels from Argentina to uncork on Halloween

Breaking / Markets / News / Outstanding / Trends / 26 October, 2020

By: Joaquín Hidalgo

Getting into the spooky, playful spirit of Halloween, several vineyards and cellars would appear to have opened their doors to the netherworld, giving rise to a series of labels that pay homage to bewitching and terrifying tales of horror. At the end of the day, every brand is a story and we can’t get enough of them. 

For this Halloween, here are a few labels whose look, story or concept make them the perfect thing to open in spine-chilling candle light.

Jinete sin Cabeza Cabernet Franc (Headless Horseman Cabernet Franc).

The story is universal: cultures across the globe tell of a headless horsemen on the hunt to right the wrongs that saw him beheaded. And talking about losing your head, the pure, delicious fruitiness of this Franc is enough to blow your mind. Uncorking it is a fitting tribute to Washington Irving’s classic tale set in Sleepy Hollow. 

Alchimia de Los Andes Red Blend (Alchemy of the Andes Red Blend).

Inspired by 50s horror movies, this label presents us with a hooded, faceless figure clutching a glass of red in the moonlight, surrounded by ominous black clouds. A blend of Malbec and Cabernet Franc, this ‘intriguing, mysterious Red Blend,’ as it’s described on the label, just needs you to dim the lights a little to truly come into its own. When better than Halloween? 

Chamán Malbec (Shaman Malbec).

The ancient inhabitants of Siberia believed that a Shaman (‘he who knows’ in the Tungu language) bridged different worlds with his visions. The term is applied to many different animist rituals that involve going into a trance that takes one into different dimensions and worlds. This Malbec made in La Consulta, Mendoza, might not quite cause visions, but it does offer a little magic with its flavours. Take a Shaman’s advice: a corkscrew is good first step on the path to other worlds. 

Sobrenatural Bonarda (Supernatural Bonarda).

Anything that defies the laws of physics and reason is regarded as supernatural. This Bonarda, made without sulphites, is certainly otherwordly. It might not look particularly sinister or spooky but anyone searching for something different is bound to enjoy this offering from Bodega Chakana (whose name refers  to the Inca Cross, which symbolizes the link between a higher plane of existence and the under- and everyday worlds).

Callejón del Crimen Malbec (Crime Alley Malbec).

There isn’t a culture in the world that doesn’t tell a gruesome love story or two. This label was inspired by a haunting crime of passion committed in the ‘alley that leads up to the winery’ back in the 1960s. But anyone tempted to shed blood for love can soothe their rage with a kiss from this juicy Malbec. 

Big Bat Cabernet Sauvignon.

You’d think we’ve heard enough about bats this year, let alone giant ones, but this Argentine Hallowine label is actually inspired by childhood memories. Rodolfo ‘Opi’ Sadler, a virtuoso oenologist, says that the family winery’s cellar was full of bats. He used to enjoy banging on the door and watching them swarm out through a skylight. When they were naming wines at Mascota Vineyard, they chose this one for their Cabernet.

Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino.

This label presents an allegory of death drawn from the history of Malbec, when phylloxera accounted for so many European vineyards only for it to be reborn in the new world. And the miracle is paid due tribute by this exceptional exponent of Argentina’s classic grape.   

Vinyes Ocults Malbec-Cot.

Given how central masks and costumes are to Halloween traditions, Vinyes Ocults must be first on the guest list, especially if you’re into calacas – Catch masks – and skulls. This Malbec, which was made with carbonic maceration, features a label depicting a skeleton languishing in the sun in a vineyard peering longingly at a glass of wine. The gloomy scene is wholly off-set by the smooth, perfumed experience of drinking the red itself.  

El Veneno de Dios Blend (God’s Poison Blend).

Students of the scriptures know that Samael is the fallen angel, whose name in Ancient Hebrew means ‘Poison, or Blindness of God’. Samael came down to earth to sow the seeds of discord, self-awareness and rancour. More drastic interpretations have him slipping poison onto the lips of mortals. Whatever you believe, this blend by the iconoclastic oenologist Lucas Niven is closer to manna than the proverbial poison.

And that’s just a few, other wines to invite to your Hallowine party include Callejón de Brujas (Witch Alley) and Buscado Vivo o Muerto (Wanted Dead or Alive), the wild Demencial (Demented) and Desquisiado (Unhinged) – the latter featuring a howling wolf on the label – or the ghost of Coquena who haunts anyone foolish enough to hunt vicuña in the northern valleys

Did you enjoy this article? Keep reading, NEW AND ORIGINAL WINES MADE IN AMPHORAE FROM ARGENTINA


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Joaquín Hidalgo
Joaquín Hidalgo
Mendocino de nacimiento (1978), se recibió en el Liceo Agrícola como enólogo en la promoción 1996. Al año siguiente, se inscribió en periodismo en la Universidad Nacional de La Plata, de donde egresó en 2002. Desde entonces vive en Buenos Aires donde construyó una lar- ga carrera combinando sus dos pasiones: la escritura y los vinos. Ha trabajado en casi todos los medios que le dieron co- bertura al tema. Desde el Country Herald a la Revista del Club del Vino, en los que escribió sus primeras notas firmadas, a Playboy, Revista JOY y La Mañana de Neu- quén, diario del que sigue siendo columnista dominical desde 2007. Colaboró como catador y cronista para Aus- tral Spectator relevando Chile y Perú en la edición 2005 y luego coeditando la guía entre 2011 y 2012. A contar de 2014 escribe semanalmente para el diario La Nación, donde actualmente tiene una columna llamada Sin Filtrar los días viernes en el puntocom. A principios de septiembre de 2019 fue contratado por la plataforma Vinous para reportar Argentina y Chile. Joaquín Hidalgo Born in Mendoza in 1978, Joaquin received his Certificate in Winemaking from the Liceo Agrícola in 1996. The following year, he took Journalism at the Universidad Nacional de la Plata, graduating in 2002. Since then he has lived in Buenos Aires, where he has built up an extensive career combining his two passions: writing and wine. He has worked for almost every media outlet that covers the area from the Country Herald to the Revista del Club de Vino, where he published his first signed articles, Playboy, Revista JOY, and La Mañana de Neuquen, for whom he has been a columnist since 2007. He has been a taster and correspondent for the Austral Spectator, covering Chile and Peru in 2005 and then co-editing the guide in 2011 and 2012. Since 2014, he has written a weekly column for the La Nación newspaper for whom he also writes a weekly blog called Sin Filtrar on their website. In September 2019, he was hired by the Vinous platform to cover Argentina and Chile.




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