It is almost the end of Game of Thrones Season 7, and everyone (plus their mother) has been swept up in the mania.
That said, no “intelligent” wine research has happened in our house, especially with the excitement of the season finale coming up…
Which is why I’ve personally given up and decided to just write an article as an about to the series.
Again, as this is a wine and beverage blog, I had to ask myself… Based from their personalities, what wine can I imagine the characters drinking?
As I’m not an expert on the subject (and admittedly I’ve lost track of the characters, living or, most likely, dead), I decided to do this article as a collaboration between me and our at-home GoT expert (who’s read the books and could tell you character biographies with minimal prompting): my husband, Chad.
I asked him to provide brief bios on his favourite characters, and I wrote down what wine I think they’d be drinking:
Description: Ned Stark is kind, patient (especially with his family), and absolutely loves his wife. He’s a pretty good Lord of Winterfell – he takes responsibility for his actions and that of his men; he bonds and jokes with them; he relates and associates even with the household help. He’s honourable and quite idealistic – which makes him a TERRIBLE politician. As his name implies, he’s tough, enduring – pretty damn good qualities to have given that a) Winterfell is in the North, and it’s partially named after a COLD season, and b) his house’s tagline is “Winter is coming.”
Wine: Red wine from either the Barolo or Barbaresco regions of Piemonte, Italy. Piemonte is in the NORTHern region of the country, and their Nebbiolo-based wines tend to be quite powerful (tasting notes would constantly indicate full body, high tannin, high alcohol, high acidity…). Incredibly resilient, these wines can with stand equally flavourful Italian food. In fact, the wines are so powerful that I could easily imagine them being drunk on a cold winter evening.
Description: Ah, the one who knows nothing. Jon Snow is a loner and perpetually sees himself as an outsider. Even though he (thinks) is the illegitimate son of Ned Stark, he is mightily proud to be his son and to be a member of the Stark family. He is fiercely protective of his siblings and has a very close relationship with Arya. He is loyal, friendly, generous, and is accepting. He somewhat mirrors some of the qualities of Ned Stark, his father(?), which makes him SOMEWHAT of a terrible politician – also, because he’s honourable (but not to a fault!), he probably will survive the series.
Wine: People who, uhm, “know nothing” about wine tend to forget that Piemonte also produces red wine from the Barbera grapes. Not as powerful or renowned as its distant relative the Nebbiolo, Barbarescos are so gentle, they require barrel ageing to bring out more character (an interesting parallelism to Snow’s character development, perhaps?). An “outsider” of sorts, wine scholars often write off Barbera as the “second” wine of Piemonte.
Description: Dany used to be an underdog – she was a princess who was never a princess, she was sold to the Dothraki, she lived almost as a beggar with her brother, she lost her husband Khal Drogo and almost his entire tribe… The list goes on and on. But she survives and endures and transforms from an unsure teenager to a powerful dragon queen. Since she’s an underdog, she has a soft spot in her heart for underdogs… The slaves and the women. She’s constantly learning about how to survive and make her way through the world, which makes her tough on the outside but occasionally… Soft…? Unsure…? On the inside.
Wine: I’d say a Malbec from Argentina. I say so because of the region’s history: They were once upon a time the “underdog” of winemaking, as they were more concerned about bulk production as opposed to quality. In the very early 1900s, however, they looked to their French counterparts and realised, if they figured out which grape would thrive in their terroir, they could truly revolutionise (and industrialise) their winemaking. They then discovered that Argentina possesses the best terroir for Malbec, and the grape has now become their calling card. While it would have been easier to say Torrontes for Dany (to echo her flowing white locks), I feel that her tough exterior is best reflected by the robust tannins of the Malbec. Moreover, her softness is reminiscent of the juicy fruit flavours of the wine.
Description: If Tyrion were born in this age, he’d be your stereotypical nerd. He’s small, weird, smart, and not just funny but SARCASTIC funny. He loves reading (he did say that his mind is a weapon) and is acutely self-aware of both his weaknesses (he’ll never be a warrior) and his strengths. He’s a survivor. In a world where might makes right (in their POV), Tyrion not just survives but flourishes.
Wine: I often see him in the series scuttling about with a goblet of red wine in his hand, so I thought it was only fitting that he’d be represented by one. I thought that the Hunter Valley Shiraz is perfect: A person needs to really study wine to know that the Hunter Valley style is completely different for most of Australia because of the region’s fog. The fog cools down the area significantly more than the other wine producing places in the land down under, which produces a style that is considerably more restrained.
Description: The girl who would rather play with a sword than marry a man. She’s absolutely brave and is a wild child – she almost crosses the line that delineates independence from recklessness. Her saving grace is that she LISTENS – primarily to her father, who, unfortunately, is dead (and his death was something she witnessed). She is fiercely protective and absolutely loves Ned Stark and has a close sibling relationship with Jon Snow. She’s smart, adventurous, and brave – proof positive that even though she’s physically a little girl, she can definitely hold her own.
Wine: When I thought of a wine that possesses both a relatively small production and a big and powerful character, my thoughts naturally gravitated to Touriga Nacional wines from Portugal. A textbook low-yielding grape, it produces intense, tannic, deep red wines are definitely meant for ageing AND can be used to make Port. I feel that just like Arya, it’s a big wine in a small package that really doesn’t strictly play by the rules (and is a wine for the adventurous).
Description: She’s probably the Yin to Arya Stark’s Yang. She’s a romantic (her direwolf was named LADY for crying out loud!), and she’s gentle and kind. She had this dream of marrying a king and becoming a queen – too bad she ended up with Joffrey… She wants the world to be nice and pretty but we all know that Westeros ain’t that! She is completely UNPREPARED for what the real world is. She sometimes can’t seem to recognise why the real world isn’t like her fantasy world – though having Littlefinger mentor her (to some extent) is teaching her a few things about how life works.
Wine: I’d definitely say a Viognier from the Northern Rhône region of France. First of all, it is literally from a “north” region (see what I did there?). Secondly, Viogniers tend to be a very romantic wine: soft, full-bodied, fragrantly aromatic… It also echoes Sansa’s gentle personality with the wine’s minimal acidity.
THE NIGHT KING
Description: Tall, dark, broody, man of NO words, and kind of (un)dead. Leads an army of silent “it-takes-10-blows-to-incapacitate-one-soldier” zombies. Lives in the cold cold North. Rides a horse. Slayer of dragons. Blue eyes. Did I mention silent?
Wine: Given the words “cold, cold North” and “slayer of dragons”, I thought of an off-dry German Riesling, specifically from the steep slopes of Rheingau. This style of wine tends to be refreshing enough to quench fiery food. The geography also lends itself to further describing the character (such as the quiet mountainside and the blue hue of the river Rhine).
These are our wine recommendations for our favorite GoT characters, but what do we recommend for the viewers? Wino fans can go to Wine Club in Legaspi Village and score themselves a bottle of Game of Thrones Paso Robles Red Wine in time for the season finale tomorrow night. It’s an easy drinking, subtly supple wine (Chad can relate this to certain phases of Daenerys’ “character” development, which is much too graphic for this text), perfect for a thrilling season finale.
So what will happen next? We know we need this wine to calm our nerves enough and see. Cheers!