BY RICK RIOZZA
With all of the Halloween themed labels showing up on our wine shelves (and this column has indeed celebrated them these past years, such as Besieged, Apothic Dark, Vampire Vineyards, Poizin Zin, Ravage—you know, the usual scary stuff), there’s no way we can get through yet another All Hallows’ Eve without talking about the hungry & thirsty zombie in the room.
“Watch the Dead Rise–Thirsty for Wine” was on almost every other wine enthusiast’s purple stained lips earlier in the year when The Last Wine Company (a partnership between Skybound Entertainment and Treasury Wine Estates) introduced The Walking Dead Wine and Living Wine Labels Apps. As you may already know, these particular apps are “an augmented reality innovation that brings labels to life in compelling ways.” We covered these animated wine label apps previously when writing about the 19 Crimes wine portfolio.
Marketing is ruling the wine label waves these days and the action-packed brand-art are quickly becoming part of the wine experience. Remember when you ventured to some wine seminar and they instructed you about the “five senses” in wine tasting: “Sight” used to refer solely to admiring the color and depth of the wine; now, vision has expanded with animation! The “Sound” made it in at the “clinking” of glasses—now we hear a story! And who doesn’t wish to join in on the fun! (wine snobs of old—perhaps?)
I don’t think bona fide wine snobs are interested much with Halloween-type themed labels. But as far as The Last Wine Company is concerned, they’re interested in garnering business no matter: “Finding new and meaningful ways to connect with consumers is something we care very much about and we think The Walking Dead wine and Living Wine Label Apps are a perfect pairing.”
The spokesman continued “We know how enthusiastic fans of The Walking Dead can be and we expect they will embrace the Living Wine Labels app and The Walking Dead wines with real excitement,”
Further, we are told that the fans of The Walking Dead comic series are loyal and highly involved, with more than 50 million comics in print and digitally, worldwide. The series has millions of followers on social media, and The Walking Dead television program, is the #1 show for ages 18-49, with more than 36 million Facebook followers.
You have to admit, the labels on the bottles are market-ably gruesome. It arguably has artistic appeal with its black, white, gray & red layout exhibiting attacking zombies and ghouls. The first tranche of bottles were the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Blood Red Blend. I’m sure you’ll see these bottles at your local Halloween office party, or, strewn about some folk’s front yard on that fateful eve/night.
Currently two new varietals with two new labels have been added: the Chardonnay showing a heroine-type brandishing a saber; and the Sauvignon Blanc showing what appears to be a paperboy wielding a knife while caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. I don’t watch the series; these new characters could well be famous in your part of the TV nook.
But enough of the labels, let’s talk about the wine. You readers may have already tasted through the Blood Red Blend and Cab as those labels & bottles are hard to resist. So, let’s discuss the new kids on the butcher block:
The Walking Dead Chardonnay is here to stay way beyond Halloween. It’s got the latest Chard profile going for it: the Chardonnay creaminess going on with a nice backbone of acidity. Everybody’s scared, but everybody’s happy. Look for fall flavors of baked apple, peach, caramel, and clove. You wine nerds know that these flavors are often the influence of both American and French oak barrel usage, which goes to show impressive thought in the wine making process.
Remember the haters who formed the ABC club—“Anything But Chardonnay”. Well—they better reconsider, for The Walking Dead are coming after them and they’re thirsty for wine.
Where the Chardonnay was formidable with their oak barrel use, one can tell that The Walking Dead Sauvignon Blanc was fermented in “chilling” stainless steel tanks. Fans love this process that provides lip-smacking, bright acidic feeling. Cleansing as all get out, should you find Halloween Hollywood blood on your white carpets after your party, this wine will take it out right before your blood-shot eyes.
Even better, enjoy this white quaff with all forms of appetizers, salads, picnic fare and light meats. It features notes of key lime, guava, and a hint of fresh pineapple that will leave you refreshed and screeching for more.
Now let’s go back to the wines you can sink your teeth into. The Blood Red Blend, as one would expect, drips with intense & bold fruit flavors. The wine opens with an inviting nose of raspberries, cranberry, cherry and melted milk chocolate.
A robust wine with notes of ripe mixed berry, mocha and toasted spice which flesh out the structured tannins. The well-integrated oak offers a warm vanilla note and leads to a long-lasting, seamless finish with balanced acidity.
The Cabernet Sauvignon carries aromas of blackberry, nutmeg and mocha spices. It’s perfect for this fall season of bites. This full-bodied wine reveals flavors of dark cherries and currants which pool on the palate, giving way to mocha and spice again. Fine, chocolaty tannins make for a long smooth finish.
So, catch all of the action: Load up, launch the app and point at the bottle as the characters break out of the label. When the bottles are side by side, this triggers the combatants to fight each other. Further, the corks are collectible, featuring a variety of images such as barbed wire, a walker hand and an undead head. How much more can we take!!—it’s scary! A Chilling Cheers To You All!