Wines to Honor Your Favorite Stark (or Lannister)

A dark-haired man and blonde woman stand next to each other in a snowy landscape. Game of Thrones characters Jon Snow and Danerys Targaryan
Photo by Helen Sloan / HBO

Over the next six Sundays, the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones will play out on TV screens around the world. Many of the GoT fans here at W.E. HQ have rewatched the first seven seasons leading to vigorous debate about what wines would best represent the major characters remaining. Here are the bottles to pick up to show your support for House Stark, House Targaryen or House Lannister. After all, we’ve also made it through five kings, beheadings, endless marches up and down the King’s Road and across the Narrow Sea and back.

Five Northern Wines in Support of House Stark

Jon Snow

Everything had to work out perfectly for Jon Snow/Aegon Targaryen to make it this far. It’s the same with Canadian Icewine. This bottle from the Niagara Peninsula is made from the hybrid grape Vidal, the bastard son of Ugni Blanc and another hybrid, Rayon d’Or. The grape thrives in the extreme cold found north (of the wall) and ends up in complex, yet sweet, Icewines.

Inniskillin 2017 Icewine Vidal (Niagara Peninsula); $55/ 375ml, 94 points. Intensely aromatic, this wine brings concentrated flavors of peach syrup, apricot jam and candied pineapple. Lush and tongue-coating, the sweetness (250 g/L residual sugar) is adequately offset with acidity, and as it rolls down the throat brings added layers of maple syrup, butterscotch and butter brickle. Editors’ Choice.—Paul Gregutt

Daenerys Targaryen

The mother of dragons is a woman who deserves a bottle that’s ageworthy and worth every penny. Sealing the deal, this limited-edition rosé Champagne was made via the saignée, or “to bleed,” method.

H. Blin NV Rosé de Saignée Edition Limitée Extra-Brut Pinot Meunier (Champagne); $96, 94 points.The color of this limited-edition production is darker than many rosés, the product of skin contact rather than adding red wine. The color also heralds the richness of the wine, with its several years of bottle aging. Toast comes through the red fruits and the well-balanced acidity. Drink now. Editors’ Choice.—Roger Voss

Cersei Lannister

The Queen of the Seven Kingdoms is no stranger to burning it all down with wildfire. For her, we offer this Amarone della Valpolicella, a dark, opulent and seductive wine made from grapes as dry as Casterly Rock’s coffers.

Pieropan 2012 Vigna Garzon (Amarone della Valpolicella); $79, 93 points. Aromas of scorched earth, leather, underbrush and cherries marinated in spirits emerge on this full-bodied red, along with a whiff of menthol. The firm chewy palate shows both opulence and freshness offering blackberry jam, baked plum, pipe tobacco and licorice alongside a backbone of velvety tannins. Drink 2017–2024.—Kerin O’Keefe

Tyrion Lannister

Tyrion’s now been Hand to two would-be monarchs of Westeros, and is always at the ready with common sense advice (and wine). Unlike some members of his family, he’s never been obsessed with power, making him a rare golden lion. That puts him in fine company with this rare ageworthy Grenache.

Epoch 2015 Sensibility Grenache (Paso Robles Willow Creek District); $75, 95 points. It’s rare for a Grenache to be deemed cellar worthy, but this beauty, which is strategically bolstered by 4% Syrah, packs the right mix of tannin, alcohol and acidity to do the trick. Baked red cherries, clove and gingerbread show on the nose, while the sip grips the palate with chalky tannins, showing flavors of plum, cranberry, orange rind and baking spice. Drink now through 2028. Cellar Selection.—Matt Kettmann

Red-haired woman in front of crowd, Sansa Stark from Game of Thrones
Photo by Helen Sloan / HBO

Sansa Stark

The young beauty who’s matured into a no-nonsense woman, most viewers didn’t think Sansa would make it this far. It’s a trait she shares with the 14th century castle that houses Château de la Terrière. Beaujolais is a region famous for its young, simple fruity wines. But Cru Beajolais is the serious, sophisticated version that can go the distance, Sansa, like this one, is reaching its maturity.

Château de la Terrière 2015 Climat Le Moulin (Moulin-à-Vent); $29, 90 points. The vineyard for this wine is at the foot of the slope that leads up to the photogenic windmill of Moulin-à-Vent. It is a perfumed wine, full of blackberries and black cherries. Juicy and rich, the wine is reaching its maturity, so drink from early 2019.—R.V.

Arya Stark

Westeros’s slyest assassin focuses intensely on her subjects and gets away with murder by simply changing her face. Riesling is a grape of many faces with needle-like precision that, in this bottle, shows its smoky and concentrated sides.

Wittmann 2017 Westhofen Aulerde Trocken GG Riesling (Rheinhessen); $65, 94 points. Intensely smoky, spicy mineral tones accent buoyant white grapefruit and lemon in this intensely ripe yet pertly balanced Riesling. Sourced from fruit grown in the producer’s warmest south-facing slopes, it’s deeply concentrated yet invigorating. The finish is marked by whispers of saffron and smoke. Lovely already but it should drink well through 2030. Editors’ Choice.—Anna Lee C. Iijima

Bran Stark

Now that he is the Three-Eyed Raven, Bran may live to be more than 1,000 years old. Like him, Madeira will never spoil and bottlings are drinkable for centuries.

Henriques & Henriques NV Boal 15 Years Old Bual (Madeira); $75, 92 points. Old-wood aromas lead to a wine with great richness and spice. Lines of acidity lift the wonderful toffee, rich caramel and old-wood flavors. This is a wine for the end of the meal, perhaps with fruit or coffee.—R.V.

Jaime Lannister

The most golden of the Lannister clan, and not because he has a golden hand, Jaime is best served by a bottle of a golden Sauternes. May the gods be good that he is able to age as long as this bottle.

Château Lapinesse 2016 Grand Vin (Sauternes); $80, 94 points. The sumptuous top wine from this estate, this is produced in tiny quantities. It is gorgeously ripe, with dried fruits, crystallized orange and supersmooth honey. Botrytis gives the dry edge to the wine that will let it age for so much time. Drink from 2025.—R.V.

Brienne of Tarth

A true lady doesn’t need dresses and jewels. Brienne’s loyalty, grace and strength belies a true elegance, just like this Gamay Noir from the Willamette Valley.

Evening Land 2017 Seven Springs Gamay Noir (Eola-Amity Hills); $35, 90 points. The grape were put through whole-cluster carbonic maceration in concrete, then aged in both neutral oak and stainless steel, yielding a wine with bold cranberry fruit with a vein of iron. The tannins are polished but stiffen the finish, with a thread of graphite. It’s still quite young, quite tart and bursting with flavor.—P.G.

Man in dark clothes in a cavern, Samwell Tarly of Game of Thrones
Photo by Helen Sloan / HBO

Samwell Tarly

Friendly and honorable Sam rescued Gilly and her baby without a second thought. And he didn’t even let killing a White Walker go to his head. Like Sam, this rosy Crémant de Limoux is noteworthy, but accessible enough to have in your glass during a weekend read-a-thon.

Domaine J. Laurens NV La Rose N° 7 Sparkling (Crémant de Limoux); $23, 91 points. Lovely scents of red cherry and plum skin are coupled with an earthy hint of pressed violet on the nose of this fresh and inviting sparkling rosé. A bright and vibrant red color, it’s medium in weight and offers a fine mousse to support the rich red-fruit flavors, while a spicy flourish graces the finish. Editors’ Choice.—Lauren Buzzeo

Ser Davos Seaworth

The Onion Knight has been one of the most dependable characters throughout the series, even when others patronize him for his humble Flea Bottom roots. You also know what you’re going to get from Spanish Garnatxa/Grenache.

Alta Alella 2017 GX Organic Garnatxa (Catalunya); $16, 88 points. Foxy berry aromas are jammy and fleshy, while this Grenache shows rubbing tannins and bold acidity. Tomato, plum and oaky flavors have an herbal element, while this deals an additional hit of oak on a finish with scratchy residual tannins.—Michael Schachner

Varys

The Spider. The Master of Whispers. The person who has been stirring the pot and orchestrating events from the shadows all along. Varys is the embodiment of this offering from Sleight of Hand.

Sleight of Hand 2016 Spiders From Mars Ziggy Stardust Block Syrah (Walla Walla Valley); $100, 89 points. This is the winery’s first release from its block at Elevation Vineyard, a new, higher up planting by the north fork of the Walla Walla River. Reserved aromas of potpourri, black pepper, crushed basalt, raspberry and plum lead to light fruit flavors with a fresh lick of acidity. It’s equal parts intrigue and delivery.—Sean P. Sullivan

A ship with a kracken on the sails, Euron Greyjoy's ship on Game of Thrones
Photo courtesy of HBO

Euron Greyjoy

In both the books and the series, Euron is a force of nature. His boyish charm perfectly matches with his pirate lifestyle, and yet you know his clothes were recently dripping with blood.

Gunter Triebaumer 2017 Blaufränkisch (Burgenland); $19, 91 points. A hint of iron oxide on the nose, compared with the dark crushed berry fruit on the nose almost has something of blood about it. The dense palate puckers the mouth with its firm tannins and fine freshness. This is boyish, bold and supremely juicy and appetizing.—Anne Krebiehl MW

Melisandre

Her red hair, dark magic and penchant for burning people have made Melisandre an iconic character. She’s wild woman from a distant land to the east who likes to wrap herself in velvet.

Recanati 2016 Reserve Wild Carignan (Israel); $50, 92 points. This violet-red wine proffers a bouquet of cassis and roasted fennel bulb. Flavors of dark plum, black currant, vanilla bean and anise are wrapped in a web of velvety tannins that recede into a soft, violet-scented finish. Editors’ Choice.—Mike DeSimone

Podrick Payne

Pod grew into his squire role alongside both Tyrion Lannister and Brienne of Tarth, but he still has much to learn about the world. The upcoming battle with the dead will mature our dear Pod even more…if he survives, that is.

Raised By Wolves 2017 La Colline Groen Druif Semillon (Franschhoek); $45, 92 points. A lovely bouquet of toasted brioche, walnut shell and beeswax is spicy and inviting, with yellow apple, honeydew and sweet orange fruits at the core. Medium in weight, this is soft and slightly plush in feel, though it offers focused acidity, bright minerality and tones of fresh fynbos and lifted herbs to keep it all in balance. It’s a baby now, with plenty of life and even greater depth ahead of it. Try after 2020 and through 2025.—L.B.

Tormund Giantsbane

Last seen running down The Wall, Tormund is one of the tough-skinned Free Folk who’s adapted to life south of The (former) Wall. But, luckily for Brienne, he’s keeping himself, and his beard, as natural as this pét-nat from Delinquente.

Delinquente 2017 Tuff Nutt Bianco D’Alessano Sparkling (Riverland); $22, 90 points. This cloudy, unfiltered pét-nat is made from the Puglian variety Bianco d’Alessano. It changes rapidly in glass, morphing from tropical fruit and floral aromas to apple skins and green herbs. It’s pithy and slightly creamy on the palate, balanced by a refreshing zing of acidity and a fruity, herbal punch right to the end. A porch pounder through and through, especially considering it comes in at just 10% abv. Editors’ Choice.—Christina Pickard

Published on April 12, 2019
Topics: Game of Thrones


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