Wine: Vampire Cabernet Sauvignon

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From the October 25, 2012 edition

OK, we’ll admit it: We fell for the Halloween-inspired packaging.

But when it comes to wine labels, there are two varieties: the gimmicky and the fancy. As an average wine shopper, you trust the quality of the fancy label (whether you should or not). The quirky label makes you think, “I wonder if that wine is both delicious and entertaining?”

In the case of Vampire cabernet sauvignon — note the drop of blood dripping from the “V” — we decided to find out.

Over at Hausfrau Haven, Aaron Simpson vouched for the line, which also includes a syrah and a pinot noir. It’s especially popular around Halloween, when they display it on a shelf made to look like a coffin, but the German Village wine shop started stocking it year-round after it became a hit with “Twilight” fans.

What does this wine have in common with the haunted, the undead or the otherwise scary? Not much. It’s a Napa Valley cabernet, dark maroon in color and with that silky-smooth pour that entices you even before you sense the aromas of cherries and plums.

The first sip is a bit overwhelmingly tannic, but that tempers as you enjoy the glass. The flavor is very fruit-forward, full of dark berries.

Vampire cabernet is completely drinkable on its own — which is probably how vampires would prefer it — but serve it with something like marinated lamb kebabs, pot roast or anything tomato-based to really help it shine.

It might not take home any awards, but if you appreciate it as a fun, easy bottle that won’t set you back too much, this one will be far from haunting your dreams.

2009 Vampire Cabernet Sauvignon, $11