October 28, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Entertainment News
TORONTO, Ont. (October 26, 2007) – Witches and Goblins and Ghosts…oh my! This year, instead of hitting a boring costume party, lock your doors, pull your shades, light a few Jack-O-Lanterns, invite over all of your single friends and set the mood for a frightful night! This Halloween, Lavalife, a leading online dating website, asked contributing journalist and the world’s only film sommelier Christopher Sawyer to help singles create the perfect Halloween night with wine parings for the holiday’s most frightening films.

Curling up for a Hitchcock marathon culminating in Psycho? You could just wing it at the wine shop. Or you could impress the heck out of your date and your friends by serving Mia's Playground 2005 Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley ($16), which is reminiscent of the classic vineyard scenes depicted in the film. Cool, huh? But wait! There's more…

Lavalife’s Halloween Film Special: Ghouls, Ghosts, Goblins and Wine

By Christopher Sawyer

Night of the Hunter (1955)
Ah, Evil. The substructure of the scary movie. The heart of Halloween. Many an actor has attempted to truly personify Evil but few have been so successful as Robert Mitchum in Night of the Hunter, a creepy suspense thriller in which Mitchum stars as an evil preacher who uses powers of brutal force and psychological mind-games to find a hidden fortune in a small town. Yikes!

Pairing: Wyndham Estate 2004 Show Reserve Shiraz, Australia, $18*
To smooth out the wickedness of this dark and edgy film, try this delicious new release from Wyndham Estate, a legendary winery known for blazing the wine trail in the Hunter Valley of Eastern Australia. In 1828, English immigrant George Wyndham made Australia's first commercial Shiraz on the Dalwood property in the then rather primitive region. Today, the fruit used to make this exciting wine is sourced from the winery's estate property in the valley and other premium locations in South Australia. With a gracious amount of plums, berry, vanilla, chocolate, and a spicy note of eucalyptus on the finish, this flavorful wine is graceful enough to invigorate and refresh the palate on the first sip yet strong enough to be paired with something as muscular as red meats and lamb.

The Shining (1980)
Based on the Steven King novel and directed by Stanley Kubrick, The Shining stars Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance, a family man and the off-season caretaker of a remote hotel during wintertime. Influenced by the loneliness of this desolate setting and myriad malevolent ghosts, Jack goes off the deep end and begins chasing his family and other unsuspecting prey within the confines of the haunted hotel. Supernatural and sinister, The Shining is a cerebral horror flick from start to finish.

Pairing: Howell Mountain 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, $60
In keeping with the isolation theme, try the 2003 Howell Mountain Cabernet, a powerful wine made with a blend of mountainside fruit from the Beatty Ranch and the Black Sears Vineyard, two of the oldest vineyards in this extremely rugged appellation. In the glass, this wine features brilliant aromas of vanilla and violets; rich, concentrated flavors of dark fruit, cherries, exotic and savory spices; and a magnificent finish with nuances of freshly cut cedar logs burning in the fireplace. Deep, dense and delicious.

Rosemary's Baby (1968)
In director Roman Polanski's heady horror flick, Mia Farrow is the titular Rosemary, a pregnant and naïve young woman married to an actor on the rise. But while her husband is busy following his path to stardom, lonely Rosemary is battling some serious demonic stuff and a bunch of pesky neighbors including Minnie Castevet — a haunting role that won Ruth Gordon the 1968 best supporting actress Oscar.

Pairing: Couly-Dutheil 2005 Gravières, Chinon AOC, France, $18
A great pairing with this film is a wine able to complement the popular and aromatic herb, rosemary. In countries along the Mediterranean, the spiky leaves and delicate blue flowers of rosemary are typically used to accent the flavors of specialty dishes This is especially true in Chinon, a legendary winegrowing region located in France's Loire Valley, where the taste-tempting herb is commonly used to enhance lamb, pork, stews and other types of cuisine paired with Cabernet Franc-based wines. Made with grapes grown on clay-limestone soils and aged in naturally formed caves in the region, the Couly-Dutheil 2005 Les Gravieres is a delightful wine featuring fresh fruity flavors, earthy spices, soft tannins, and a long elegant finish. The underlying beauty of this wine will calm the horror and lingering tension in the film.

Psycho (1960)
Alfred Hitchcock made a lot of great horror films but Psycho may be his greatest. It was certainly among his most influential, inspiring many subsequent "slasher" flicks like Friday the Thirteenth, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street and all the rest. Set in the rural countryside, the movie stars a young Anthony Perkins as a twisted hotel clerk haunted both by unseen demons and his attraction to his beautiful new tenant played by Janet Leigh.

Pairing: Mia's Playground 2005 Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, $16
Psycho's setting conjures memories of classic old vine Zinfandel grapes. Dubbed the "sweetheart" of California, this bold red grape variety can toughen up and produce intensive fruit in isolated settings and temperamental weather. A tasty example is Mia's Playground 2005 Zinfandel, a robust wine loaded with alluring aromas of wild strawberries, tobacco and sweet vanilla. The flavor profile is generous with notes of ripe cherries, blackberries, roasted coffee beans, fresh herbs and the gripping combination of cloves, cinnamon and black pepper on the finish.

Young Frankenstein (1974)
Mel Brooks' hilarious monster parody stars Gene Wilder as a young surgeon who attempts to create a flawless living being in the laboratory of his grandfather's haunted castle in Transylvania. Trivia: a stage production of Young Frankenstein is currently the hottest thing on Broadway right now.

Pairing: Cline 2005 Marsanne-Roussanne, Sonoma County, $20
This movie demands to be paired with Cline 2005 Marsanne-Roussanne, a fresh and lively white wine aged in stainless steel tanks to preserve the fresh flavors of melon, white peach, mandarin orange and citrus, a hint of mineral and a long, crisp, invigorating finish. In France, Marsanne and Rousanne are the two most important grape varieties and are regularly blended together in the Rhone Valley above Avignon. But in California there are less than 250 acres of these grapes planted. So much like this ambitious Halloween comedy, this fine blended wine can also be considered a bit of a rarity.

Ravenous (1999)
Set in the rugged Sierra wilderness of California in the early 1800s, Ravenous stars Guy Pearce (Momento, L.A. Confidential) as a solider assigned to protect the inhabitants of a primitive military post. But these duties rapidly become more complicated when he meets a devilish stranger (Robert Carlyle) who develops a feisty appetite for eating people to gain more energy. Gory, suspenseful and jammed with non-stop action.

Paring: Turnbull 2005 Old Bull Red, Estate, Napa Valley, $20
Turnbull 2005 Old Bull Red is a young but explosive wine made with a combination of Merlot, Tempranillo, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Sangiovese and Barbera grapes grown in the heart of Napa Valley. When blended together, these flavorful components fill the palate with ripe flavors of wild berry, cherry, cranberry, vanilla, oak and an amiable rustic note on the finish.

The Village (2005)
Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense), this dark and eerie tale sees residents of a small colonial-style community haunted by unseen creatures living in the surrounding forest. Or are they? Starring Joaquin Phoenix, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver and Bryce Dallas Howard.

Pairing: Gundlach-Bundcshu 2003 Mountain Cuvée Red Wine, Rhinefarm Estate, Sonoma Valley, $24
In much the same way the forest symbolically influences the lives of the main characters in The Village, the densely wooded base of the Mayacamus Mountains east of Sonoma has a significant affect on the flavor profile of the premium grapes grown at the historic Rhinefarm Vineyard owned by Gundlach Bundschu and founded in 1858. The end result is a collection of high-quality wines that bear the natural flavors of their surrounding environment. A delicious example is the 2003 Mountain Cuvée, a Bordeaux-style blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes grown on the estate. It's a fiery red wine with aromatic notes of dark fruit, wild sage, and ancient forest floor on the nose; rich flavors of dark plum, ripe cherry, anise and other subtle spices on the palate; and gratifying hints of cedar and chaparral on the finish.

The Omen (1976)
In The Omen, cute and seemingly harmless young boy Damien is revealed as the Anti-Christ, who can't help but direct his cruel powers on his family and others standing in his way. There have been several sequels over the years but none can touch the original starring Gregory Peck and Lee Remick as the parents of the irritable demonic brat.

Pairing: Chateau L'Abbeye de St. Ferme 2003, Bordeaux Superior, France, $12.50
In general, Merlot is usually known as a smooth and easy wine. So, like little Damien, this inexpensive French wine made with 70 per cent Merlot, 25 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon and 5 per cent Cabernet Franc seems relatively harmless. But once you get it in your mouth, it doesn't take long to realize you are the victim of the rich and powerful flavors of ripe plum, cherry, dried herbs, firm tannins, and a finish that commands respect!

The Fog (1979)
A small coastal town in California is invaded by the ghosts of merciless mariners who died when their boat wrecked off the coast in the previous century.

Pairing: Foley 2005 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara County, $40
While the underlying theme "When the fog rolls in…The terror begins!" may work for marketing this film, this important climatic element is seen in a much more positive light in the wine industry. This is especially true in Santa Barbara County, a coastal region of California where fog is a priceless advantage to preserving the fresh acidity of Pinot Noir fruit as it slowly ripens leading up to harvest. A brilliant example is the Foley 2005 Pinot Noir, a lavish wine made with grapes grown in the Sta. Rita Hills, a cool climate region that is influenced by dense layers of morning fog on a daily basis. Together, these factors help create a flavorful wine with seductive flavors of ripe cherry, wild berries, pomegranate, black tea, spices of nutmeg and forest floor, and a generous smoky note on the finish. These tasty elements can complement a wide range of seafaring cuisine, red meats, fine cheeses and of course, a film as scary as this one!

Beetlejuice (1988)
Following their untimely deaths, Adam (Alec Baldwin) and wife Barbara (Geena Davis) return to their home as ghosts assigned to haunt its new occupants. After two failed attempts to frighten the Deetz family off the property, the couple calls for assistance from Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton), an obnoxious ghost known for his wacky exorcism techniques. Things get sticky when Deetz daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder) interrupts the game plan by communicating directly with the ghosts.

Pairing: Veramonte 2006 Sauvignon Blanc, Reserva, Casablanca Valley, Chile, $11
Beetlejuice is a fine film to pair with a spirited beverage like the Veramonte 2006 Sauvignon Blanc Reserva, a crisp white wine with delectable flavors of ripe melon, citrus, stone fruit, fresh mint, and a bright and zingy finish that invigorates the palate. In addition to being slowly nurtured by warm daytime temperatures and cool nighttime breezes, the grapes grown in the Casablanca Valley of Chile are also said to be influenced by the mystical spirits of the legendary artists and poets who once lived in this special coastal area west of Santiago. No wonder this wine tastes so charming and unique!

For more great party and date ideas, check out Lavalife’s free online magazine, Click,

About Lavalife
Lavalife is ranked the #1 website for online dating in Canada* and is ranked among the top 10 worldwide dating sites.** A leading provider of products and services designed for singles, Lavalife connects, engages and entertains through a variety of web, voice and mobile offerings. Founded in 1987, Lavalife Corp. markets its products and services across the United States, Canada and Australia. Lavalife's open-minded approach to online dating allows singles to choose how they want to "click" by offering three unique and distinctive services in personals: dating, relationships and intimate encounters. Lavalife has attracted millions of unique members who exchange 1.3 million messages every day. For more information, visit

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Editor’s Note: Interviews and hi-res images available.