Game of Thrones Wine Pairings
Game of Thrones Season 5 kicks off April 12, 2015, and most Thronee’s/GOTer’s I know will want a skin of wine to pair with their favorite fantasy novel turned hit HBO show, and for that we are serving up several Game of Thrones Wine Pairings worthy of Westeros and the REALM. No matter where you side in the Seven Kingdoms these wine picks are fit for a king or a queen, even Cersei deserves a little nectar of the gods every now and then. So Lords and Ladies listen up, whether you pray to the old gods, or the new, you will be praying to the wine gods after you get your hands on a few of these vinos!
Motto: Winter Is Coming
Wine: Anomaly Vineyards
For House Stark what other than a direwolf would do? What do you think does the pooch in this pic look more like Grey Wind, Shaggy Dog, Summer, Lady (RIP), Ghost or the long lost Nymeria? If you are anything like Eddard you likely couldn’t pick a favorite, but no matter which wolf you run with, it’s what is inside the bottle that you will really warm up to. As you may have heard over and over and over again, Winter is Coming and there is no better way to fight off the bitter cold than with a cool bottle of Napa Cab!
Anomaly Vineyards is located at the base of the Mayacamas Mountains in California’s Napa Valley in the small historic town of St. Helena. Anomaly specializes in the production of the highest-quality Cabernet Sauvignon. The first vintage of Anomaly was harvested in 1997. After that they embarked on the journey of obtaining a permit to produce Cabernet Sauvignon by building a small winery adjacent to our small vineyard. In the fall of 2000, a hard-fought battle with the City was won, and they secured a permit to build a stone winery replete with a 2,000 square foot underground cave. Construction commenced in Spring 2001 and was completed in time for harvest in 2002.
The animal on the label is inspired by a wolf. When Steve and Linda Goldfarb started the project, they did not have any label ideas, but they did know they wanted to put their husky shepherd, Indee on the label. They were up in Mendocino and wandered into an art gallery, where they saw a sculpture howling at the moon! They said, “gee — that looks a lot like our husky shepherd!” They purchased the sculpture and used it as inspiration to design the label. The sculpture sits in the cellar to this day!
Motto: Hear Me Roar
Unofficial Motto: A Lannister always pays his debts
Wine: Roar Wines
The lions of Casterly Rock are the richest family in the Seven Kingdoms and even they would give all their gold if it would get them one sip of this wine that gives the milk of the poppy a run for the money. By now, we all know that a Lannister always pays his debts, but a wine like this won’t coast you a fortune. In fact Roar’s highly rates wines are a relative steal, not that that would matter to the Lannisters because we all know Tywin shits gold bricks.
Roar Wines is a family winery specializing in small lots of Santa Lucia Highland’s Pinot Noir, Syrah and beginning in the summer of 2009, Chardonnay. Their roots in the Santa Lucia Highlands are quite deep. Both Gary and Rosella grew up in California’s agricultural heartland where Gary’s family has farmed for over 100 years. After graduating from Cal Poly with a degree in agribusiness, Gary took over the running of the family farm business, which owned and managed over 200 acres of row crops in the Salinas Valley. Recognizing the region’s potential for premium wine grapes, they planted Rosella’s Vineyard in 1996. They also co-own and manage the Garys’ Vineyard with Gary Pisoni of Pisoni Vineyard.
Motto: Fire and Blood
Wine: La Tarasque Cotes du Rhone
House Targaryen may have ruled as the Kings of Westeros for nearly 300 years, but Aaron Pott rules the wine world. Daenerys Stormborn and her fire breathing dragons can not be contained by any mortal weapon so it’s going to take an act of god or better yet a bottle of this wine to tame the young blood of the dragon.
La Tarasque Cotes du Rhone is a sensual, old-vine Grenache-dominated blend of elegance and structure, named for the notorious beast that ravaged the medieval countryside of the Côtes du Rhône. According to legend, the dragon was a reluctant tyrant, gladly saved by the soothing hymns and prayers of Saint Martha.
Aaron Pott, Winemaker
“I’ve crafted this wine inspired by the creature coaxed by St. Martha’s hand; unmasking the beast for a spirited wine of complexity and suppleness.”
Motto: Ours is the Fury
Wine: Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars
Baratheon is the youngest of the original great houses, but this wine is old enough to face the fury! We all know King Robert loved three things: war, women and wine. And while the three Baratheon brothers rarely agreed on anything, Robert, Renly and even sourpuss Stannis would get on board with a skin of this wine.
Founded in 1970, it was a time when the Napa Valley was undergoing a renaissance after the devastating effects of prohibition. Although there had once been some 140 wineries in the valley, there were fewer than 20 by the mid-1960s when a new spirit of excitement had returned to the Napa Valley.
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars has a long and distinguished wine reputation and is considered a Napa Valley first-growth estate. Best known for its estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignons—CASK 23, S.L.V., and FAY. Over the years, these wines have become some of the most highly regarded and collected wines worldwide. They are fashioned to express classic elegance, structure, and ageability, and to reflect the place in which they are grown.
Motto: Family, Duty, Honor
Wine: DI COSTANZO
House Tully of Riverrun, is one of the Great Houses of Seven Kingdoms. House Tully is an old noble house, dating back to the Age of Heroes. Unlike many Great Houses they never ruled as kings, but held Riverrun for a thousand years as vassals of those who did. Just because they never ruled the Realm doesn’t make Catelyn’s house the blackfish of the bunch, in fact their commitment to family, duty and honor is what has kept them from swimming upstream for centuries.
DI COSTANZO wine is an expression of the land it comes from, and their winemaking philosophy is similarly influenced by Massimo Di Costanzo’s heritage and upbringing. Di Costanzo was born and raised in the Bay Area and spent summers in Florence and Positano, Italy, visiting his grandparents and family. In both of these places he developed a deep passion for food, wine, and living, all founded on a respect for tradition (Florence) tempered by a vibrant (Positano) and perhaps bold idealism (the Bay Area). With these values, he began his career as a winemaker by studying Viticulture and Enology as an undergraduate at the University of California, Davis, followed by various projects and stints in Napa Valley, Stellenbosch, Mendoza, Tuscany, and under the tutelage of Badenhorst, Erickson, Abreu, Rolland, Melka, and Farella.
In 2006, Di Costanzo returned to Napa Valley to take up the role of day-to-day winemaker at Screaming Eagle for the acclaimed 2006 and 2007 vintages. It was during this period in which, under the guidance, mentorship, and influence of unparalleled international master winemakers, he began to articulate his own winemaking vision, both philosophically and in the wine. After the nearly flawless 2007 vintage, he sought to create that vision uniquely and independently, and this wine is the product of that quest. Water makes for sickness. Wine makes for singing.
Massimo Di Costanzo, Winemaker
“My grandfather was a fisherman in Positano, Italy and from him I learned a deep respect for nature, dedication to a craft using traditional techniques, and the importance of a sense of place. These values inform my wine and my life, and it is to him that I dedicate it.”
Motto: Growing Strong
Wine: Flowers Vineyard & Winery
House Tyrell of Highgarden is one of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms. A large, wealthy house, its wealth is only surpassed among the Great Houses by House Lannister. Highgarden is an ancient seat of rule and the heart of chivalry in the Seven Kingdoms. What other wine would win over the Knight of Flowers, than well Flowers? Would a wine by any other name than his own still smell as sweet to this ostentatious, dazzling good looking, highly skilled knight and jouster? Me thinks not!
Flowers Vineyard & Winery As nursery owners in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Walt and Joan Flowers had long dreamed of combining their love of wine with their passion for agriculture. They knew they wanted to produce their favorite varietals, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir; what they didn’t know was that their path would eventually lead them across country to Northern California’s rugged Sonoma Coast. After responding to a small classified ad in a national wine publication, that’s exactly where they landed.
In 1989, after many information-gathering trips to Napa and Sonoma, Walt and Joan purchased 321 acres, including a ridge top, high above the Pacific Ocean on the northern Sonoma Coast. With the same determination they drew on to build their successful nursery business; the Flowers proceeded with the dream of producing their favorite cool-climate varietals in a place they believed uniquely suited to growing them.
Today, Flowers Winery produces Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from its two estate properties, Camp Meeting Ridge Vineyard and Sea View Ridge Vineyard, as well as select vineyards in the coolest regions of the Sonoma Coast AVA, which are farmed to Flowers’ specifications by their own crews. In addition to direct consumer sales, the wines are sold to fine restaurants and retailers in the US and overseas.
Motto: Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken
Wine: Turley Wine Cellars
House Nymeros Martell of Sunspear is one of the Great Houses of Westeros and the ruling house of Dorne. ‘Nymeros’ indicates “of the line of Nymeria,” but generally it is simply called House Martell. The Martells of old used a spear as their emblem, while Nymeria and the Rhoynar used the sun as theirs. If you haven’t read the books and only watch the television show you are probably thinking WTF is this house doing in the line up? Well, keep watching and you shall soon see. Don’t rule out the Dorne, like Turley they are a force to be reckoned with, and remain Unbowed, Unbent and Unbroken for a reason!
Turley Wine Cellars is a popular California wine producer with wineries in both Templeton (Southern Cal-Paso Robles wine region) and St. Helena (Northern Cal-Napa Valley wine region). Turley wines are often recognized as “making some of the best, if not the best Zinfandel in California for decades.” Turley specializes in wines made from old-vine red Zinfandel. They source fruit from older vineyards, some date back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
In 1993, Turley Wine Cellars was founded by Larry Turley, brother of the well-known consulting winemaker Helen Turley. Turley, had entered the wine business in 1981 as co-founder of the multi-varietal Frog’s Leap Winery, but soon realized that his interest lay in wines made from the Zinfandel grape.
Motto: As High As Honor
Wine: Hawley Winery
House Arryn of the Eyrie is one of Great Houses of Westeros, and is the principal noble house in the Vale. Their main seat is the Eyrie, but they have many other holdings, including their winter castle at the Gates of the Moon. Both of these fortifications sit astride the Giant’s Lance, the tallest mountain in the Vale, and the Eyrie is considered impregnable. You might not think much of Catelyn’s crazy sister Lysa and her sickly son Robert, but Jon Arryn’s widow is worthy of a wine even if you don’t agree with her creepy parenting tactics. YIKES!
Hawley Winery and Vineyards is located near Healdsburg, overlooking the Dry Creek Valley. John Hawley started the winery in 1996, after 20 years of winemaking at some of Californias most influential wineries. Today, John and his two sons, Paul and Austin Hawley, produce unique wines from their certified organic vineyards and select Sonoma County grapes. John Hawley is also an avid falconer, training birds of prey. He flies his falcons over the vineyard to keep away destructive birds as the grapes are ripening.
Motto: We Do Not Sow
Unofficial Motto: What is dead may never die
Wine: The Kraken Rum
House Greyjoy of Pyke is one of the Great Houses of Westeros. It rules over the Iron Islands, a harsh and bleak collection of forbidding islands off the west coast of Westeros, from the castle and island of Pyke. I’m going to put it out there and say, Theon Greyjoy and his waterlogged ways will not get a wine on my watch. This traitor turned his back on the young wolf and for that I banish him from the wine world and ship him out to sea to live a life of celibacy and to drink rum till he’s blue in the face. What is dead my never die? We shall see about that!
The term bastard refers to anyone born out of wedlock. In the Seven Kingdoms there is considerable social stigma attached to being a bastard. The Faith of the Seven and that of the Old Gods of the Forest have rules against bastardy. Bastards are not allowed to inherit their father’s lands or titles, but they are allowed to drink wine. So for these poor ignored bastards we give to you what other than Fat Bastard Wine? They might not have claims to the privileges of their father’s house but they can drink themselves silly!
Men of the Night’s Watch are garbed all in black, a tradition that earned them the nickname “crows,” particularly among the wildlings. While some use this name derogatorily, many in the Night’s Watch have adopted the term for their own use. The black brothers, are the watchers of the wall and they serve for life. They can not have sex, marry or have a family but they can drink wine. So for the black knights of the Wall we have Upstart Crow! Wine sourced from premiere Napa Valley vineyards, that people even “crows” can afford to drink every day.
Whether you have the heart of a lion, live your life like a lone wolf, or prefer to swim upstream, there is a wine for everyone. But remember when you play the game of thrones you either win or you die!
Thank you to fellow Wine Oh and Game of Thrones fanatic Erin Sullivan of ACME Fine Wines for helping with some of the wine picks and to Laura Oppenheimer for saying “Monique, you are obsessed with Game of Thrones and wine you should do a wine pairing story combining the two!” DUH!