The Tannins of Wrath: Select Wines to Accompany Your Favorite Genres (and All Under $100)
Drinking wine, strangely enough, is very much like reading a book. While the average wine drinker may easily simplify a cabernet or a pinot as either “very good” or “absolutely terrible,” wine writers have the knack for reviewing wines in a similar fashion as would book critics. A wine may have a hard or soft finish, varied ingredients, and an overall taste that all contribute to what Poe may have called a Singular Fermentation. To assist your literary wine needs, I’ve conjured a wine for each of the most popular genres there are.
If you’re about to depart in a Clive Cussler or Ian Fleming classic, bring compass, rope, and a bottle of Macchia Zinfandel Adventurous. Its “brambly flavors” will emphasize your inner pangs for discovery and danger – but not too much danger, of course.
Macchia Zinfandel Adventurous – $24.99
You’re reading David Baldacci’s The Target in the parlor of your aunt’s two-hundred-year-old mansion. You hear a noise down the hall. What could it be? Do you dare find out?
Of course you do! It’s a bottle of Baldacci Four Sons Fraternity. Its berry and mint flavors, like a Baldacci plot, “all come together in this medium-bodied, nicely delineated wine.” What if you’re reading a particularly gripping Agatha Christie mystery? Mystery solved! Have a glass of Duboeuf Morgon Descombes, “lightly grippy, with a moderate finish.” If you’re reading a gritty apocalyptic detective story like Ben H. Winters’ The Last Policeman, you may want to sip on some Chateau Marquis D'Alesme Becker Margaux, a wine that prides itself on its charcoal affect.
Baldacci Four Sons Fraternity–$44.99
Duboeuf Morgon Descombes – $15.99
Chateau Marquis D’Alesme Becker Margaux – $39.97
You find yourself in a suit of armor facing off against Daenerys and her intimidating dragons. Luckily, Gandalf is by your side to assist, holding a bottle of opulent Neyers Chardonnay Carneros. While Carneros is a world away from Westeros, it is a complex, often winding wine with “well integrated smoke and vanilla” flavors that Gandalf knows will calm your nerves. If Ron E. Howard and the conquest-driven Conan are better suited to your sword-and-sorcery ambitions, consider Sterling Sauvignon Blanc, a steely wine forged by Crom himself. Not really. Though quite possibly.
Neyers Chardonnay Carneros – $27.99
Sterling Sauvignon Blanc – $15.99
The general sci-fi lover, either a fan of Asimov’s robots or Clarke’s obelisks, will enjoy Adler Fels Sauvignon Blanc, a wine with “laser-like” precision of its grassiness and herbal notes. If you want the austere and harsh hard SF (think John Scalzi), then look no further than Halos de Jupiter Gigondas, with a rough taste that mirrors the bleakness of space. Want something to accompany your soma and Victory Gin? A truly dystopian wine (at a dystopian cost), Miner – The Oracle has a metallic bent that will mold you into a near-future survivor worthy of Katniss Everdeen.
Adler Fels Sauvignon Blanc– $14.99
Miner – The Oracle – $89.99
Wine writers, like Norman Bates, have a dark side, often describing certain fruit-forward wines as “fleshy” (creepy, I know!) If you’re in the mood for a delightful Psycho evening (the book obviously!), or if you’ve been delving into Ransom Riggs’ Ms. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series, then it might behoove you to pick up a bottle of Greg Norman Chardonnay, with notes of crisp apple and, yes, “fleshy peach.” Even spookier is the affordable price.
Greg Norman Chardonnay – $9.97
The genre you’ve been waiting for. Tucked away in your nook with a Julie Garwood or Nora Roberts novel, waiting for that special other to come into the doorway (yes, I’ve been in that nook several times, wearing a robe and espying the chocolate-covered strawberries I carefully hand-dipped), what wine do you sip to enjoy the passion of the moment? Chocolat Rouge: Sweet Red, naturally. It’s a delicious, forbidden treat made for your wildest desires—and desserts. If paranormal romance is more of your spectral fancy, then Ghost Pines: Red Blend will satisfy your incorporeal love with hints of “dark berry, licorice, and brown spice meld.”
Chocolat Rouge: Sweet Red – $7.47
Ghost Pines: Red Blend – $16.97
Did I egregiously miss any deserving wines? Let me know below—but only with a corresponding genre.
Alex Grover currently modifies ebooks at Penguin Random House. He’s a VR enthusiast, a pseudo Godzilla scholar, a haphazard SF poet, and an overall nice chap. Read his infrequent thoughts @AlexPGrover.