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5 suitably criminal Halloween wines

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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.

Truett Hurst's The Fugitive. Photo credit: Mary Orlin/DFM Staff

Truett Hurst’s The Fugitive. Photo credit: Mary Orlin/DFM Staff

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.

 The Prisoner Wine Co.'s The Prisoner. Photo credit: Mary Orlin/DFM Staff

The Prisoner Wine Co.’s The Prisoner. Photo credit: Mary Orlin/DFM Staff

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.

Ravenswood's Besieged. Photo credit: Mary Orlin/DFM Staff

Ravenswood’s Besieged. Photo credit: Mary Orlin/DFM Staff

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.

 Barrel + Ink's Thief red wine blend. Photo credit: Courtesy of Barrel Ink

Barrel + Ink’s Thief red wine blend. Photo credit: Courtesy of Barrel Ink

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.

 The Warden from 19 Crimes. Photo credit: Mary Orlin/DFM Staff

The Warden from 19 Crimes. Photo credit: Mary Orlin/DFM Staff

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.

Editor’s note: To find out if a product is available locally, check HERE.

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