As an avid wine lover and obsessive Game of Thrones fan, no one was more excited than I was at the announcement back in March that two of my favorite things were coming together. Vintage Wine Estates and renowned winemaker Bob Cabral have crafted three options to suit a variety of tastes: a Chardonnay, a Red Blend, and a Cabernet Sauvignon. Each one is a complex and unique blend of flavors worthy of the finest castles in the Seven Kingdoms.
I was fortunate enough to sample all three over the weekend, and they did not disappoint. The bottles alone make the purchase worthwhile; the beautiful golden labels feature a tableau of animals representing the great houses of Westeros. Each cork is adorned with either the Lannister lion, the Stark direwolf, or the Targaryen three-headed dragon.
First up was the Chardonnay, hailing from California’s Central Coast. Consisting of 90% Chardonnay and 10% Riesling, it has a lighter, crisper taste than your average Chardonnay. The wine is a beautiful light golden color, with a fruity floral aroma.
The predominant flavor is Meyer lemon, closely followed by a mixture of honey and spices. Like most Chardonnays, it has a buttery, slightly oaky finish. It’s a perfect wine for the hot, humid days of summer – not too sweet, not too heavy, but a refreshing blend of flavors that could rival the finest Arbor Gold.
The Red Blend was next. This wine is blend of eight varietals – predominantly Syrah, Tempranillo and Petite Sirah – from the Paso Robles region. Its rich, ruby color with aromas of black cherry, blackberry, and cocoa promise a rewarding taste, and it certainly delivers.
It hits your tongue with a tart fruitiness that quickly gives way to spice and leather. A hint of vanilla on the finish rounds out its multifaceted flavor profile. It’s an excellent choice for those who prefer a dry red that’s complex enough to pair with a hearty feast, yet light enough to enjoy on its own. Be wary of overindulging unless you’re Tyrion Lannister, however – at 14.7% ABV, it’s the most potent of the bunch.
Last, but certainly not least, was the Cabernet Sauvignon. The most expensive at nearly $50 per bottle, I had high expectations for this Napa Valley wine. The description promises “a wine worthy of the Iron Throne” and – rest assured – that’s what you get.
Deep purple in color, with a nose of black currant and vanilla, it looks and smells as glorious as it tastes. A dark fruit flavor and smooth, velvety texture combine with a dry finish, leaving you with a hint of cocoa. This is a robust and slightly heavy wine, perfect for days that promise winter is coming. I don’t normally drink Cabernet in warm weather, but for this one I would make an exception. It’s that good.
My verdict: the Game of Thrones wines are as intriguing as the drama for which they are named, but much less likely to break your heart. When you play this game of wine, you most certainly win.