STORY WRITTEN BY MARY ORLIN
Bay Area News Group
Many wineries have fun with tongue-in-cheek, creative labels. But vintners and artists go all out — scarily — for All Hallows Eve. Reflecting the public’s fascination with crime scenes and real-life lock-up stories, there’s been a proliferation of criminal element wines. Here are five wine labels that are up to no good — although they taste very good indeed.
1. Truett Hurst: The 2014 The Fugitive ($25) fits the bill for sketchy characters on the run. You, too, can elude capture with this smooth, plummy, black pepper-spiced blend of petite sirah, syrah and zinfandel; www.totalwine.com.
2. The Prisoner Wine Company: Ever popular, 2014’s The Prisoner ($47) is a rich, slightly sweet wine, with, pomegranate, fig and rasberry fruit and roasted espresso beans. This distinctive zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, petite sirah and charbono blend won’t stay locked up in the bottle for very long; www.theprisonerwinecompany.com.
3. Ravenswood: With its label depicting black ravens flying against a stormy sky, the 2014 Besieged ($22) is a dark wine from the get-go. Earthy, luscious black fruit and exotic cardamom aromas and flavors make this a delight for a night under siege; www.ravenswoodwinery.com.
4. Big House Wine Co.: These wines celebrate the Prohibition bootleggers, who spent time in the “big house” behind bars. We’re partial to the 2014 Zinfandel ($8), with Frank Nitti, mobster Al Capone’s enforcer, on the label. Like the strong man, this big, jammy, toasty wine sneaks up on you when you least expect it; www.bighousewines.com.
5. 19 Crimes: These wines pay homage to Australia’s penal colony beginnings, when English criminals found guilty of one or more of 19 crimes were banished to the Southern Hemisphere. Heavily guarded, 2015’s The Warden ($24.99) is a brambly, fruity shiraz-based wine, rough around the edges with bold tannins and a vanilla spice finish; www.19crimes.com.
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