As I mentioned before, I’m a big Game of Thrones fan (both books and show). To give a little bit of context, the story deals with a few great families vying for power in what is basically a late middle-ages setting. Fortunes rise and fall, politics, treason, violence, war… I don’t want to get into any details from the story; it’s not the point of this blog.
Of course each great family comes with heraldry, words (a fancy word for motto) and is associated to a region, a type of character. That gave me an idea, since I like matching wines to songs, or character traits, why don’t I try to match a wine to some of these families. It might have been done already but here’s my attempt.
Starks : The Starks are the ruling family of the North, the largest, coldest, bleakest region of the world. They are Cold, unforgiving, and have a tendency to go on about climate change (Winter is coming). The North remembers and memories will be grim. That’s the easiest association for me, when I hear the word “stark” I think of Chablis, it’s clean, bone-dry and unforgiving character. Chablis is a stark wine.
Tyrells: The Tyrells come from the Reach, a bountiful region filled with orchards, vineyards, gardens and castle. In a way, they represent the archetypes of classical chivalry. Their knights are renowned for their prowess and gallantry. To me, this description fits the Loire Valley quite well. It also helps that the Tyrells are not as grim as most of the other houses! A nice, easygoing Cabernet Franc for our friends from the Reach it is.
Lannisters: rich and proud, very (maybe too much) into family, a perfect fit for Bordeaux with its dignified Chateaux, proud traditions and storied history. Their patriarch’s obsession with legacy and passing on the family name is a good reminder of the Bordeaux emphasis on “brand” through the chateau image.
Baratheons: 3 very different brothers, one boastful and loud, one stoic to a fault and one easygoing and fabulous. This family can take several forms; we need a versatile grape, probably Chenin Blanc. I can see Robert as a sweet, rich Montlouis, Stannis as a dry Savennieres and Renly as a bubbly Vouvray.
Martells: The Martell family is from the southernmost part of the world, Dorne. And like Dorne, the Martells run hot. They are a passionate, fiery and sensual people. Hot is probably the word that is used to describe everything Dornish: weather, tempers or food (Dornish peppers are mentioned repeatedly). We need a wine that brings the heat. I will go with the Rhone valley here; warmth and spice seem like a good fit.
Greyjoys: Nobody cares about them; I don’t see why I should.
Targaryens: As a nod to the real life Habsburgs, this family has a history of insanity brought on by the practice of inbreeding. I don’t really know how to go with that… Well, it is said that for every Targaryen born, a coin is flipped; will it be madness or greatness? Basically the Targs (that’s right, there’s a nickname) are hit or miss. In a way that reminds me of Burgundy where every wine comes from the same stock (Pinot Noir or Chardonnay) but results may vary from one parcel to the next, or from vintage to vintage.