Pop Culture and Wine: Wines for the Game of Thrones Premiere

Pop Culture and Wine: Wines for the Game of Thrones Premiere

To say that our team is excited about the Game of Thrones premiere would be a huge understatement. While the Season 4 kick-off is still a few days away (Sunday, April 6th), our team debated over what modern wines each house would drink in their theoretical worlds. It was a lively discussion with many opinions on both wines and characters.

Ultimately, we all agreed that the answer to this conundrum depended greatly on which character / houses you favor. Here are our guesses with that in mind:

FYI: Spoiler alert if you are not up-to-date on the TV show

House Lannister:

By Sam Shepard

As Mel Brooks said in History of the World, Part I, “It’s good to the king.” Such true words. While other houses have struggled in the first three seasons of the TV show, the Lannisters have fared quite well (all things considered). The family has maintained its status in Westeros and Joffrey is Ruler of the Seven Kingdoms (yes we acknowledge that he is technically a Baratheon, but come on, really?).

Game-of-Thrones-Season-2-First-Look-Trailer-game-of-thrones-29334886-683-388With the royal wedding on the horizon, we imagine the Master of Coin, Tyrion, will purchase nothing less than First growth Bordeaux, Grand Cru Burgundy and Sweet Bordeaux for the occasion, despite any debts the realm has incurred because of the family’s interests (which I am sure will be repaid). In particular, we think 1982 Château Mouton Rothschild and 1982 Château Latour, 1985 La Tâche Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and 1967 Château d’Yquem, preferably in large formats for the the head of the table. That may seem “extravagant” but in the words of Olenna Tyrell “what good is the word ‘extravagant’ if it cannot be used to describe a royal wedding”? We have no doubts that Cersei will drink straight through, from ceremony through reception.

House Targaryen: 

By Sam Shepard

It is hard to pick a wine suitable for the “Mother of Dragons,” but try we must. Daenerys, or Dany, is no stranger to tough climates; she and her diminished khalasar spend ages wandering the Red Waste in the east. The climate was hot and challenging. But she, and her people, endured this period and have grown in numbers. Her dragons also grow with age and are becoming a powerful force in the realm.

For Dany and her tribe, we anticipate access may be an issue. Given that constraint, she and her company will have to make due with the terroir and will drink wines that can also endure the hot climates and hundred-degree days. Big, powerful reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Zinfandel fit the bill here. We expect she would drink vintages of Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon, a variety of Penfolds Grange Hermitage and Turley Wine Cellars Zinfandel, from the Dragon Vineyard (of course).

House Greyjoy:

By Seaghan Brien

What does a Reaver drink? Anything he can plunder.

house_greyjoy_by_scrollsofaryavart-d4rjdf6With a house motto of “We Do Not Sow” and a fairly straightforward trade policy (The Iron Price), the question of what to drink would most likely lead to immediate death or a sound beating. That said, a savvy Captain or highborn Iron Islander will have paid the Iron Price for a wide range of delicacies, alcoholic treats included.

But what of the many Thralls in service to the Iron Born, living in bondage on the Iron Islands with limited farming options and the bounty of the sea? The sly epicurean among them would go for a crisp, acidic white to match the extravagance of fish stew with root vegetables or wash down the thin gruel to fortify the deadened spirits. Well-made Muscadet, Albarino (or Godello), or Vinho Verde with medium to low alcohol levels would wash this down with a fortifying sense of having stuck it to the Man.

But say the Thrall is on a slightly warmer, calmer southeastern side of the Islands and the stores of wine available of a different style? Something akin to Soave (again a well-made, perhaps single vineyard) or Falanghina (to name two of the many white wines Italy produces and whose quality has increased dramatically since the dark days of tanker wines) would be a world of freedom in the repast of a few minutes.

House Martell: 

By Allan Frischman

house_martell_by_scrollsofaryavart-d4rjdsjMy first thought about wine and GOT involved the Martell family, rulers of Dorne. Oberyn Martell, the prince of Dorne, is going to be this season’s big new character introduction. The food in Dorne tends to be aggressively spiced and exotic by Westeros’ standards. I would imagine that they would drink a lot of white wines like German Riesling Auslese or forceful white wines from the Rhone. I also can see them opening up the occasional bottle of Sauternes (an underrated dinner wine). They eat a lot of fresh fruit and dishes sweetened with honey so a rich, white like a sweet Vouvray or Savennieres from the Loire would make for a nice match. There will also have to be some Champagne for Ellaria Sand.

House Stark:


Photo courtesy of Paste Magazine

By Allan Frischman

On the opposite end of the spectrum of food/wine – as well as everything else – from House Martell is the House Stark. In the north, as you know, it ranges from cold to ridiculously cold. The northerners eat a lot of game when it is available, and smoked and cured meats when game is scarce. For the Starks, I would imagine you would want a lot of sweet fortified wines like Port and Madeira as well as sweet Alsace VTs – especially the Rieslings (a serious wine for a serious clan). Dense and powerful Syrah-based wines from the northern Rhone or possibly California could also do. That and beer – lots and lots of beer. Particularly strong ales and porters.

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