Wine with a friendly spirit perfect for the Halloween holiday

Bogle Vineyards in California is a generational, family owned winery.  While they produce over 10 types of wine they are probably most well known for their Bogle Phantom.  This is a small production reserve wine the family releases prior to Halloween every year and it is eagerly awaited by Phantom collectors everywhere.

Bogle by definition according to Scottish folklore is “a freakish spirit, who delights rather to perplex and frighten mankind than either to serve or seriously to hurt them.”  If you’ve ever opened a bottle of Bogle Phantom, on the cork is also a definition of Bogle.  “Bogle: (bō/gol/noun.) (Scottish origin)  A friendly spirit, a phantom.”  Nothing like taking your last name and creating a wine with somewhat of a cult following!  It is the perfect wine to release right before Halloween. 

John, a friend of mine has a 10 year vertical of Bogle Phantom.  This means he has at least one bottle of every vintage beginning from 2001 to present vintage.  When I spoke with him about my idea for this week’s article he let me know that over the weekend he opened a 2005, 2007 and 2008 vintage of Phantom.  The proof that a wine can age beautifully (even one under $20) was demonstrated when he opened the bottle of 2005.  He said it was absolutely wonderful and had aged very gracefully.  The 2007 was “brooding” according to John and he felt the 2008 could have sat a little bit longer but was still very good.

2010 is the current vintage and is comprised of 51% Old Vine Zinfandel, 47% Petite Sirah and 2% Mourvèdre.  While these grapes are used consistently throughout all Phantom vintages, the percentages of the blend change every year.  This is a very dark wine with rich concentrated flavors.  Blackberry is the predominate rich fruit flavor I get with this vintage, but there are also layers of oak, tobacco and even a tiny hint of anise and there is definitely spice from the Zinfandel as well. 

This wine is aged for over 2 years in American oak which intensifies the big flavors in this wine. The Bogle family takes great care with this wine and it isn’t often you see a bottle under $20 staying on oak this long and waiting two years for release into the market.  While fine sipped on its own, when paired with a full-flavored and hearty meal Phantom really shines.  If your kids get dark chocolate in their candy bags tonight, a few pieces with a glass of Phantom would be wonderful.  Who says adults can’t have treats as well?

As my friend John realized over 10 years ago, this wine is a keeper! As the Bogles say “welcome the winery ghost into your home again with this latest vintage before it vanishes again!”