Winter is Coming With GoT Wines
For Throwback Thursday #TBT here is a review I completed a couple of years ago during the SXSW Film Festival upon the release of the Game of Thrones line of wines. Enjoy!
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My first day out at SXSW was a chilly and drizzly beat. The streets of Austin, usually packed to the gills with convention goers and sightseers were less polluted than usual with the weather-brave darting in and out of clubs and the Convention Center in search of places to dry off and recharge their phones. That said, it was still marvelous to feel the energy of the city ramping up for a couple of weeks of creative mayhem unlike anything the world sees each year.
One of my first stops was for the HBO® Game of Thrones wine tasting event. As part of the HBO Escape event in which the network was premiering several seasons of shows such as Beat, Silicon Valley, and, of course, Game of Thrones which is entering its 7th Season on high notes!
Vintage Wine Estates, including acclaimed winemaker Bob Cabral, and HBO have combined their collective creative process, under the direction of Vice President of Marketing Lesley Larson, to bring about a set of exclusive Game of Thrones-inspired wines. The collection includes a special Red Blend, a Chardonnay, and a Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Each varietal is designed to embody various sets of characters within the expansive world inspired by George R.R. Martin.
“I’m a huge Game of Thrones fan, and these wines capture the complexity of the drama,” said Cabral. “But the wines also have pedigree. We source grapes from premier vineyard sites and use the finest winemaking techniques to create wines of incredible richness and texture.”
My first impression upon approaching the wine tasting bar was of the gorgeous gold enameled labeling and decadent marketing surrounding the wine line. Have I mentioned I’m a sucker for a beautiful wine label? But there was something different about this marketing, something special that I, as an avid fan of the series, was draw to – they even have three specially emblazoned corks which each play in to various aspects of the mythology!
After quickly sampling a bit of the Red Blend I was able to speak with the Vice President of Marketing, Lesley Larson, about the brand and what their intentions were behind it.
“We decided upon the three blends upon the overall popularity of these varietals. These were varietals we felt we could represent the lifestyles of the fans of Game of Thrones most accurately,” said Larson. “These wines are designed to invoke an image of what the characters are eating and drinking, depending on who you are interested in. The Red Blend is a perfect match for a pairing with game or foul as you might have noticed there is a bit of spice in it.”
She continued, “It is a true honor to be making a wine that is associated with Game of Thrones. Wine is a story in a bottle so we want to continue the story through these varietals – to transport fans just a little bit closer in their living rooms to the story they so love.”
Here are my personal takes on the two wines at this special debut event, the Red Blend and the Chardonnay.
The Red Blend is for a true red wine drinker. This wine presents itself at first on the drier side, bit heavy and more on the aged cabernet side than the lighter pinot side. Once the wine begins to open up – i.e. the longer you allow it to breath without a cork or in your glass – the easier it is to drink. It is then that you begin to assess the true notes of the wine with a bit of Allspice and cherry, as well as a bit of juniper and tobacco, which, while it may sound strange, is actually lovely to the palette. And that is coming from a person who is very picky about their red wines. This wine would be a great pairing with a good steak for a dinner or simply on its own as a sipping wine while watching GoT on a week night.
The Chardonnay, however, is beyond compare in my opinion. Not to give my affinity for wine away, but I do admit that I drink quite a bit of white wine. And almost 99% of the time I will take anything over a Chardonnay. The Game of Thrones Chardonnay has made me a convert – gorgeously bright and celebratory, this is a wine that is easily placed aside any meal or simply enjoyed, as one person put this evening, “while watching your foes being defeated on the battlefield…or simply watching your dog run around the yard on a summer evening.” There are notes of cantaloupe, grapefruit, and just the perfect hint of that buttery undertone that gives chardonnays their distinction within the wine world. This is a truly timeless and perfect wine in my eyes.
Currently the Game of Thrones collection is available at www.gameofthroneswines.com and will be available worldwide beginning April 1st, 2017 in a store near you.