You know what they say, you’re never drinking alone as long as there are voices coming from the TV.
Sometimes you get that urge to sit down with the latest Marvel release from Netflix. Or maybe you have some reality show trash to catch up on. But what to drink while you watch? I know a lot of people are hesitant to get into wine, and frankly I don’t blame them. It’s a complicated subject (one of my personal nerderies) with a lot to learn, and it can be very hard to find an access point. So I’m here to give you some quick and easy pairings for your entertainment enjoyment.
Starting at the very lightest end, we have champagne (or your sparkling white wine of choice). This will go with pretty much any reality competition show. Dancing with the Stars? Light, frothy, not too serious, goes great with champagne. Survivor? Maybe Trader Joe’s Bellini version of this drink will give it that tropical edge of a jungle island. Amazing Race? Help your favorite team celebrate as they reach checkpoints first. Sparkling wine probably won’t go great with murder mysteries or horror movies, but as with food, there are far more things it will go with than not.
One out of every three bottles of wine sold in America is Chardonnay. It’s light, fruity, not too serious, and as long as you get a decent one, it’s not going to leave you in tatters the next day. It’s The Big Bang Theory of wines. Super popular across the country, but nobody can pin down why (except for Caley Cuoco. She’s why).
A lot of people hate on Rose. They’re still thinking of that mid-80s Sutter Home White Zinfandel that Grandma Helen still drinks at Thanksgiving dinner. That stuff was so sugary, it was basically adult Kool-Aid. Modern day Rose is making a strong effort to be considered a serious wine again, with crisper, dryer styles, elegant fruit, and… Sorry, were you drifting off? I did mention wine is one of the things I can Nerd out on. This one is easy. The Bachelor. On the surface it’s a trainwreck that people feel like they should avoid, but like the makers of newer roses, the editors at The Bachelor may be some of the best in the game. They make what should be an unwatchable concept into something fun, and more importantly funny.
The Central Coast region of California is making its name with some really nice GSMs (that’s Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre, the three main grapes that make up the various styles of this blend). The thing about this wine is that it can go with things you didn’t previously picture. A lighter red with some dark undertones, this is good with something like Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (or Legends of Tomorrow if you lean the DC way). It’s getting you into the world, it’s complex enough that it’s sometimes hard to follow, but mostly it’s just fun and easy.
This wine can be hit or miss. There are so many different available styles to it that you can range anywhere from earthy and spicy to light and fruity, to extremely complicated and nuanced. The style of the wine depends on who made it. Same with the Marvel Suite of shows. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses, and when they’re firing on all cylinders, they’re keeping whole companies in business. And when they don’t work, they can make you wonder why you bothered.
Now we’re getting into my favorite area. This is the Game of Thrones of wine. It’s got a ton of layers to it and can be very complicated, but it’s somehow still enjoyable to a much bigger audience than you would think. Dark, ruby red with some smoky texture, flavors of dark cherry, coffee, licorice and leather. What exactly is it you think Cersei and Tyrion are always swilling in their fancy goblets? I know. It’s what I do; I drink and I know things.
If Chardonnay is one of every three bottles sold in this country, Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the other two. Super popular just a few years ago, with some questions about its continuing success, you can occasionally find a standout version that seems to make the whole thing worth it. Which makes it perfect for The Walking Dead. Dark, heavy, shouting at you with a message that you already understood, it pairs perfectly with katanas slicing rotting heads open, people we love getting their heads bashed in with baseball bats, and learning that we are the real monsters now.
Big, jammy, spicy, powerful, occasionally light and playful. It’s a blockbuster, despite what the sales numbers say. It holds your attention the whole way through, and even though not everyone you know likes it, that’s their fault. Idiots. Firefly.