Goth Wines for the Perennially October Soul

We begin with a goth origin story. I happened into my vampiric lace-clad form around sixth grade, when I suddenly deeply desired to wear black, be moody—but also perky—but also what does it mean to be alive? What a confusing time. And Instagram was not there to show me that Goth was A Thing. But by age 13, I thought wearing vintage petticoats and shaving half my head was maybe just an alt-music-adjacent-thing Ellen-thing. Until! I met someone else, an upper schooler, at the 7-12th grade school I went to. She was wearing a lacey black outfit on Halloween. “That’s not just for Halloween, right?” I inquired, intuitively knowing the answer. At last. I’d found my people. But what did teenage goth Elle drink? It was pink Franzia. I’m so sorry. At an adult goth friend’s parties, I’d lounge in the giant wooden coffin he’d built and lined with pillows to serve as a couch, eating his kugel (weird goth flex), and occasionally refilling my drink from that giant box in the fridge, getting deliciously tipsy and reveling in having found my people. And if I still had a coffin couch to lounge in, I’d do it again. But—what does a goth take into the shower? In theory, she bathes in ennui and absinthe. In reality, she drinks Champagne . Vintage Champagne because she’s a vintage goth, which she pours over her head because what is life? Okay, in reality I would not waste a vintage Champagne on my hair, but as Bauhaus plays in the background and the candles flitter, a glass of oxidative (maybe Bollinger?) Champagne (to drink, not bathe in) feels complete. What makes a wine goth? There are 2 main ways I consider, and some wines fit more than one of these categories: name and nature. BY NAME I’m looking to Valtellina Inferno (a region that sounds like hell in the right way), Ravenswood (a brand of forests and ravens come onnnn) and Pinot NOIR (a grape) as good examples. I wish I could recommend Apothic as it looks and sounds gothic but…I digress. BY NATURE There is probably no wine more gothic than vintage blanc de NOIRS Champagne . This wine is so dark in soul it spends many a month, if not years, on its lees aka its DEAD yeast cells. It conjures up autumn flavors of browning apples, dark cherries, charred toast, and turned earth, and holy heck it is delicious. Also, like any good goth blanc de noirs, it makes light (wine) of dark (grapes). Meow. 2013 Champagne Pierre Paillard Les Maillerettes Bouzy Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut! Like any good goth. Brutish. Yet bubbly. Bouzy not bougie, is a village in the Montagne de Reims where Pinot Noir rules, thriving on Belemnite chalk. Like good goths—we thrive on chalk. So pale. Les Maillerettes is all Pinot Noir. Disgorged in 2018, it spent about five years with those dead yeast cells—albeit maybe there was some oak aging first, so more like four? It is—dare I say rose gold? I do. It has layer upon layer of toast, charred apples, earth, and then gives up a hints of cream, or at least half and half, mixed with cider. Which sounds gross, but trust me, tis not. 2016 Frank Family Sparkling Rouge Carneros Oh, the plush rouge bubbly speaks of opulence! “Frank Family” may not sound sinister, but I assure you this bottling is glam goth. Carneros is a delightful source for Pinot Noir (73% of this blend) and Chardonnay (27%), and the fact that the San Pablo breeze keeps these grapes chill speaks to their haughty (but like cool haughty like Madonna in “Desperately Seeking Susan”) chill chill nature. Always being a perky and rather…excitable goth, I dreamed of nonchalantly lighting a clove and being, well, like a sparkling red: Gorgeous, elegant, aloof and deep. But how does she taste? Like red roses and velvet yumberries. I’m sorry that likely isn’t a thing. Or is it? It is now. NAME AND NATURE 2018 Andis En Or Sierra Foothills Spell ‘En Or’ backwards and what do you get? Warning, this goth loves wordplay. And if you know your GSMs, or in this case SGM, you know rone sounds like Rhone, where these grapes are blended to create enchanting vins. If you are not into puns and such, maybe you’ll appreciate that it means “Golden Opportunity”. As for flavor, it is balanced in acid, alcohol and so on, rife with blue and black and red fruit as well as a surprisingly earthy undertow plus a bit of vanilla borne of a bit of new oak.This is a goth in very heavy boots AND a silk ruffled Victorian top. Kind of Zorro-esque but totally not. Even better, you trust this goth to pour you maybe just one or two more glasses. You aren’t sure where the night with this goth will take you, but it will be fun. 2017 POE Van der Kamp Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir POE. So…come on. And it is made by a woman, Samantha Sheehan, who I’ve never met but she’s kickass enough to name her wine POE. This one smells ripe and yet green and spicy like a Christmas tree that made friends with a mince pie. Tis medium minus garnet in hue, with a pronounced nose of clove, cedar, overripe cherry and under-ripe purple plum and maybe a sage or bay leaf. Is it damson plum in a purple velvet cape, the mash-up that happens when a vampire sits on a mince pie? Or is it just very tasty upscale Fig Newtons? It’s not a cookie; it's fruit and cake. And goth. 2018 Domaine Vincent Dampt Chablis Premier Cru Vaillons The name is goth because “Vincent” channels that starry night soul Van Gogh and “Vaillons” sounds like “villain” and heck, Chardonnay is goth or at least Virgo as I think I’ve mentioned here . Actually, I am Virgo and goth, so maybe I am conflating the two—but the high acid, and the hint of candy corn on the nose make me feel ripped apart in a good way, and oh so October-ish. My notes I made tasting it also mention that it is a seashell with a hint of honeycomb and a squeeze of both lemon juice and apple cider and topped with some herbs, and it is perfect. 2019 Jugo Santo Arroyo Seco “Frankenwine” Riesling It is all I ever wanted in a skin contact Riesling from California. Which is to say I had zero expectations. But this tastes and feels like Riesling (dungeon worthy ripping acid, slightly floral, a bit peachy keen) with the added texture and weight borne of time on its skins. And a bit of…I dunno, a dried and weary of the world persona that is goth to the core. 2016 Elena Fucci ‘Titolo’ Aglianico del Vulture The word ‘Vulture’ makes me think of mean birds which makes me think of crows, which makes me think of “The Raven” so that is goth point one. And growing on a former volcano is badass. Plus the region is in Basilicata , which somehow makes me think of cathedrals, and suddenly I’m imagining gargoyle statues with ravens landing on them and somehow that is super goth. In terms of nature, this is darkly tannic and brooding, and then—cocoa dried dark fruits, spices, and what I call “vine-y”, that dried greenery taste, all inhabit this goth goth wine made by a woman. Here’s the thing though, I think this wine will be AMZAZING in several more years so buys some now, drink it later? Or do both. And finally because PINK IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF GOTH 2019 Gothic Wine ‘Telltale” Rosé I mean. It literally is Gothic wine. And Pinot Noir. And it is rife with red fruits and red roses and a certain freshness. It is goth Cinderella at the vampire’s ball. IN CONCLUSION What to do if your wine is decidedly ungoth? Fancy glasses. Candlelight. NIN. Irony. Fin. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Want to read more from Ellen? Check out her recent articles: Back to School More Than Port It’s a Can-demic Ellen in Lalaland Pandemic-Style Pink Velvet, If You Please: Old World Old World vs. New World: Sauvignon Blanc You can also listen to Ellen's podcast , The Wine Situation here . Check out her recent transcripts of the Final Five questions: Wine Situation Final Five! With Cha McCoy Wine Situation Final Five! With Lydia Richards

Elena Fucci

Titolo Aglianico del Vulture 2016

Volcanic wine made by an amazing women at great altitude. Could age a bit longer but delish now too... — 3 years ago

Paulo, Paul and 19 others liked this

Andis Wines

ENOR Sierra Foothills 2018

Love the GSM, it is allllll the red blue and black fruits. It is mysterious but also friendly in equal parts. — 3 years ago

Paul, S.S. and 15 others liked this

Poe Wines

Van der Kamp Vineyard Pinot Noir

Updated! Think Pinot noir via fig newtons and I mean that in the best possible way — 3 years ago

S.S., Serge and 16 others liked this
Paul T- Huntington Beach

Paul T- Huntington Beach

Freaking me out with the 👁
Ellen Clifford

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Uh oh guess I ought to show both of them next time? 🤔
Paul T- Huntington Beach

Paul T- Huntington Beach

Double freak out is better 👍🏼

Gothic Wine

Telltale Willamette Valley Rosé Blend 2019

So good so fun so goth. Rosé is the highest level of goth. It’s all like hi I’m rose petals and angst but also sidewalk chalk fun. Love Gothic. Love goth stuff. — 3 years ago

Serge, David and 11 others liked this

Frank Family Vineyards

Rouge Carneros Sparkling Red Blend 2016

Dark soul bubbles. Ftw. Also for...I dunno, Joy Division? — 3 years ago

Serge, David and 17 others liked this

Domaine Vincent Dampt

Vaillons Chablis 1er Cru Chardonnay 2018

I delight. So zippy so good. Appeals to the Virgo and the goth in me. — 3 years ago

Serge, David and 20 others liked this

Jugo Santo

Frankenwine Skin Contact Riesling 2019

All I ever wanted of new world skin contact Riesling? I didn’t know what I wanted but now I’m pretty sure it is this. — 3 years ago

Serge, David and 16 others liked this

Pierre Paillard

Les Parcelles Bouzy Grand Cru Champagne Blend 2013

Oh my. Maybe 2013 was overlooked but this excels. — 3 years ago

Serge, Ira and 23 others liked this
Jay Kline

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Killer producers with great vineyards rarely make poor wine 😊
Ellen Clifford

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@Jay Kline true that! 🥂

Ravenswood Winery

Sonoma County Old Vine Zinfandel 2015

Oh crud I wrote a long thing about Ravenswood being family but like a family that...nevermind I cut it and apparently not in a way to paste.
Generously dried fruity. Coca Cola. Those in between tannins and abv and you, blind tasted might think it a friendly Cali blend but hell its just friendly.
— 4 years ago

Severn, Paul and 14 others liked this


They are a good wine. Cheers!🍷
Ellen Clifford

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@Trixie indeed! Cheerio 😊