Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Sinister Hand

Once October hits, it’s always fun to find wines with spooky labels to bring to a Halloween party. This week’s featured wine fits the bill: Sinister Hand, complete with blood dripping from an armored hand. So…what is the story behind the name?

Owen Roe Winery writes, “during the 17th century, the O’Neills and O’Reillys were two revolutionary Irish families. They formed a rowing competition to reserve rights to some highly regarded land.  The two rowing teams agreed that the first to touch the land, after rowing across the lake, would become ruler of the land. O’Neill’s boat was falling behind so a member of the crew grabbed his own sword, cut off his hand and threw it ashore, winning the title to rule the land. This land still remains in the family.”

You really have to hand it to the O’Neill rowman…(ba da BING!)

Grisly story aside, this is an excellent wine. In France you’d call this a classic GSM Rhone blend, mostly Grenache (44%) with Syrah (27%) and Mourvedre (16%) but what makes it interesting is the 13% Cinsault, which adds some fruitier characteristics you don’t normally find in the typical Rhone blends. Pull the cork on this and you’ll notice a floral aroma, with cranberry and raspberry flavors, a touch of dark cherry, and smooth savory notes with slightly unripe but not unpleasant tannins on the finish. This wine is another winner from Washington State’s Columbia Valley.

On my five-cork scale based on taste and value, the Sinister Hand from Owen Roe Winery gets 3.5 corks! I had to drop it down a half cork because at $20 a bottle, this is not an everyday wine. But if you’re looking for a good, spooky wine to bring to a Halloween party, this would be a good one. (And you can tell the tale of the Sinister Hand around the campfire!)

If you’d like to try interesting wines like this, please join me at our next private wine party at Matt the Miller’s Tavern! I host a wine dinner there every month, and we feature several interesting wines, each paired with a delicious course. There are always cool prizes to win, too, so listen Wednesday at 4:15 to win your spot on the guest list, or click here for a chance to win!

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