'Game of Thrones' Dornish Wine Brought to Real Life by St.-Emilion Vintner

Thibault Bardet researched the climate, soil and flavor of Tyrion Lannister's beloved fantasy cuvée to create an IRL version. Also in Unfiltered, a nail salon puts tiny Champagne flutes, vodka bottles at/on your fingertips, and Scots call for House of Lords to be disgorged over Champagne habits
'Game of Thrones' Dornish Wine Brought to Real Life by St.-Emilion Vintner
For the wine is dark, and full of tannins. Tyrion Lannister (left) and the St.-Emilion Dornish cuvée (HBO/Photofest / Courtesy of Vignobles Bardet)
Jan 10, 2019

The end is coming: The final season of everyone's favorite medieval-fantasy-gorefest-drama debuts on HBO this April, and we're not quite prepared to say goodbye to all the incredible wine references made throughout the show (we'll always have Tyrion Lannister's immortal credo "I drink and I know things"). But one winery in Bordeaux has come up with a way for wine-loving superfans to give a proper sendoff to the beloved series: a taste of a real-life version of that fantastic Dornish wine all those Westerosi enophiles, Tyrion in particular, have been rav(en)ing about for the past seven seasons.

Vigneron Thibault Bardet of Vignobles Bardet, across the Narrow Sea over in St.-Emilion, got the idea to research how wine from Dorne would actually taste based on how it has been described in the GoT books and series, as well as how the climate of the arid southernmost region of Westeros is portrayed.

"The project began after watching an episode of Game of Thrones with a friend," Bardet told Unfiltered. "We thought that it may be very interesting to have the possibility to drink the wine from Dorne. Sadly, after some research, I discovered that there wasn’t a wine like that. So I decided to make my own." (His libation is not to be confused with HBO's branded GoT merch wine.)

Rarely an episode goes by that we don't see a noble character holding a goblet of wine aloft as they make covert alliances or order death sentences, so we know the juice is likely quite good. Still, "in the TV show, they don’t speak a lot about the Dornish wine taste, but in the book, there are so many descriptions about it," Bardet said. "After reading all [of the books], I had more than 40 pages of wine information. The main information was: fruity, powerful but easy to drink, and [with] intense dark color."

For Thibault and his father, Philippe, that description had Merlot written all over it. Once they had their grape, they knew they would need to source it from vines in sandy soils, to mimic the terrain of the fictional peninsula that is Dorne; a warm, dry summer in Bordeaux in 2016 gave them appropriately Dornish weather.

The result is not one but two cuvées made in the Dornish style: Dornish Wine Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux Red 2016 and The Imp's Delight St.-Emilion Red 2016. The latter—named after the wine Tyrion hopes to one day make when he retires from the spotlight and purchases his own vineyard—is vinted without sulfites, which Thibault thinks is probably how Dornish wine would have been made in those mythical days.

And while Westerosis (and Wine Spectators) typically prefer wine, those seeking the harder stuff might enjoy a new collection from HBO and Diageo of eight single-malt Scotch whiskies, each one corresponding with a major royal house in the GoT universe—the Lagavulin 9 Year Old House Lannister, the Dalwhinnie Winter’s Frost House Stark, and so on. "Valar dohaeris," as they say—"all must serve."

HBO / Diageo
A Scotch of fire and ice

Nail Salon Puts Tiny Champagne Flutes, Vodka Bottles at/on Your Fingertips

Russia-based nail-salon chain Nail Sunny wants to help you to keep your favorite glass of bubbly on hand at all times—literally. That’s the idea behind one of the salon’s new nail-art concepts: Mini acrylic-like molds of Champagne, vodka and brandy bottles (plus a mimosa pitcher) are sculpted and decorated, sealed to nails on one hand, then filled with actual alcohol using a small syringe. The party really gets out of hand—again, literally, of course—when the wearer "pours" the bottles' contents into the molds perched atop their other hand, of tiny Champagne flutes and cocktail glasses.

Instagram / @nail_sunny
Pair with knuckle sandwiches.

From the looks of Nail Sunny’s Instagram account, the whimsical manicurists previously topped nails with baby bottles, flower corsages, chess pieces, lightbulbs, bottle openers and hand tools (once more, literally): functional fingertip Phillips-head and slotted screwdriver bits. Unfiltered is now headed to Moscow to get a set of corkscrews on one hand, and on the other, a foil cutter, Port tongs (two fingers), Champagne saber and Coravin.

Scots Call for House of Lords to be Disgorged Over Champagne Habits

Britons deploy the euphemism "tired and emotional" to describe one's state after imbibing, say, a mite too much Champagne. And Parliament's House of Lords has been getting frequently tired and emotional on a not-insignificant amount of Pol Roger, according to figures obtained by the Scottish National Party. This while the Scots are getting very (literally) tired and emotional at all the antics of their neighbors south of the wall in the lead-up to their Brexit bugbear.

This latest hurly-burly began when the SNP discovered that the House of Lords' mostly private watering holes in Parliament served 679 bottles of Champagne and Prosecco in the 2017-18 session, at what the SNP characterizes as discounted prices, subsidized by taxpayers who rarely have access to the members' wine and dining venues. The subjects of the Crown pay about $1.5 million in taxes annually that goes toward catering and other Parli parties, including $894,000 on the Lords' dining room.

“The House of Lords is a democratic disgrace—with party donors and cronies given a say on our laws without the chance for voters to kick them out," Member of the Scottish Parliament Bill Kidd told the National ("the newspaper that supports an independent Scotland," it should be noted). “It’ll stick in the craw of voters to hear that these unelected Lords are guzzling Champagne and Prosecco while others are struggling."

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