Dining & Wine

Netflix & Chilled: A Pro Guide To Perfect Pop Culture Wine Pairings

October 8, 2022

Streaming service loaded. Bingeable new release queued. Lights dimmed. Snack of choice in hand. All that’s missing is a delicious something in your glass to accompany your entertainment du jour. Gone are the days where the dwindling wine selection on your shelf is “good enough” for a night in on the couch; this occasion calls for a curated wine pairing. We have you covered with some sommelier picks to couple with your top pop-culture moments, so sit back and enjoy! —Janet Helou

Emily In Paris & Moët & Chandon Imperial Rosé 

When you transplant a starry-eyed 20-something American woman to Paris, the storyline practically begs to be coupled with un verre de vin Français. Champagne it is! The most versatile wine to pair, Champagne’s effervescence and acidity balance out rich treats like charcuterie plates and French fries. Toast to santé with a glass or two of Moët & Chandon Imperial Rosé while indulging every gloriously Parisian experience—think city sights, high fashion, lost-in-translation moments, cultural clashes and budding relationships—with Emily and the ensemble. This beautifully balanced bubble is Pinot Noir-dominant; the zesty red fruit character echoes Emily’s resilient sass, with an elegant floral character. 

Bridgerton & Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad Cava 

When it is social season in the Regency era, one wouldn’t be caught dead with anything but the finest of liquids in their coupe—if one wishes to court a suitable match. If you’re a fan of the series you’ll know that the most noble and powerful Bridgerton family would give a nod to pair the show with Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad Cava—Spain’s answer to Champagne. Its delicate brioche, citrus and honeysuckle floral notes pair with the period costume and décor, while the racy minerality and chiffon undertones are as suggestive as the first season’s … less PG-friendly moments. The bottle alone screams status, of which even Lady Wistledown would approve. Serve with a side of scandal, or in a Gin Affair cocktail with London Dry Gin, Earl Grey simple syrup and a dash of bitters. 

Stranger Things & Penfolds Bin 311 Chardonnay

The delightfully ’80s themed Stranger Things is hard not to fall in love with—think a gang of childhood friends battling a sinister presence with low-fi nerdiness alongside their telepathic heroine, El. Any good 1980s mom, like Joyce Byers, would likely serve pigs-in-a-blanket or a Jell-o salad alongside an overly oaked Chardonnay—but not today, butter bombs! A much more sophisticated pairing for this throwback thriller is Penfolds Bin 311 Chardonnay: a cool-climate Tasmanian with structure and intrigue just like the storyline, with a touch of cheekiness. Picture growing grapes in Hawkins, Illinois, but with a rustic, mysterious Australian charm. The mineral backbone with balanced acidity would be a perfect match with a catsupy meatloaf or TV dinner.

Ozark & Liquidity Estate Pinot Noir 

Deep, dark and brooding: the same descriptor applies to both the Ozark series (brilliantly co-starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney) and Liquidity Estate Pinot Noir. The series is not a journey to tread lightly upon; rather, pour a hefty glass and hang on for the roller coaster you’re about to ride. On first sip the juicy red-fruit characters are like fresh sunshine atop the Missouri Belle, a subtle structured intensity like the Byrd family backbone—a touch of spice character from Ruth Langmore, but in a good way. Overlay that with a Cedar-laced Ozark mountain floor and a subtle intrigue of something more sinister. No spoilers here, but just when you think things in the Ozark series can’t possibly get worse, it may be time to refill your glass. You’ve been warned.

The Great Canadian Baking Show & Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Merlot

Don’t let the “fluffy baking reality show” pairing fool you: this is a very serious accolade. Watching even a single episode of the longstanding GCBS series will leave you in awe with each individual baker’s style, technique, structure and flair. Baking, like winemaking, is at the intricate confluence of of science and art. The attention and precision in harvesting grapes at their optimal ripeness in the Osoyoos and Oliver vineyards, then working with their natural beauty in the winery to transform them into a structured and full-bodied wine with elegant notes of wild blackberry and dark cherry would make any baker (or wine lover) weak in the knees. With refined tannins and a long finish, this wine would pair perfectly with an expertly baked Black Forest Cake.

The Bachelor & Austin Hope Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 

The Bachelor is an undeniably guilty pleasure among endless seasons of fans. So what does one pair with waves of lustful courting, intrigue, companionship and drama under the watchful gaze of a reality TV show camera? First, it has to be stunningly approachable, bold but with layers of complexity. Think: your candidate is from rolling hills with beautifully manicured vineyards, and although 2019 was a challenging growing season (none of us are perfect), by the end of the season a perfect balance has been struck. The result is a deep ruby stunner whose embrace smells like chocolate-coated black currant and juicy cherry notes, subtly savoury or tobacco-noted, with just a touch of vanilla-meets-baking spice. We don’t even need to wait for the next episode to queue; pour us another glass!

Sex And The City & Belvedere Cosmo

When SATC premiered way back in 1998, the world of fashion and feminism boomed with the show’s popularity. And, when Carrie Bradshaw ordered a Cosmopolitan—a vodka/lime juice/cranberry/Triple Sec concoction—the world followed and the sweet-tart cocktail has been flowing ever since. Even though the drink is ubiquitous, 20-plus years on, modern variations have cropped up. Feel free to make it yours by swapping out the cranberry juice with pomegranate, or a low-sugar version with soda water and Agnostura bitters—or even topping with bubbles for a delightfully “uptown” experience.

The Crown & No.3 London Dry Gin & Dubonnet

The Crown is a true masterpiece: a dramatic series profiling the rise and extensive tenure of the late Queen Elizabeth II, beautifully weaving the demands of monarchy with the pulls of politics, family dynamics, nations under conflict and the weight of a patriarchal society. The cinematography, acting and costume design alone are worthy of a fine sip of any type, though the Queen’s true choice of tipple was the Dubonnet and London Dry Gin. Pour yourself one and you’ll feel like you’re sitting in a horse-drawn carriage right next to Elizabeth herself. Mix two parts of the aromatic French aperitif Dubonnet, made from a blend of fortified wine infused with herbs and spices including black currant, black tea varietals and quinine, with one part No.3 London Dry Gin. Serve over an ice cube in a vintage coupe glass and garnish with a thin lemon wheel.


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