Joel Vincent

Technology. Wine. Family. (maybe not in that order)

Real Wines for Reality TV

Wine Expert Picks Perfect Pairings for Fall 2004 Reality TV Lineup

From competing castaways to cutthroat corporate moguls, today’s range of reality TV offers something for everyone. Whether you pride yourself on religiously following a whole list of shows or just tune in once a week for an hour of escapist enjoyment, you’re among millions of Americans who can’t get enough of reality TV. The enticing combination of voyeurism and entertainment just keeps us coming back for more.

This fall, viewers have a new reason to tune into reality TV — to increase their wine knowledge! Just in time for the start of the new fall season, Wine Market Council has enlisted noted wine expert Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible and host of the PBS series “Wine, Food, and Friends,” to pair favorite wines with top reality TV shows. MacNeil says that comparing wines to the “personalities” of reality TV shows is a fun way to learn about different types of wines. “To me, ‘The Apprentice’ calls for a gutsy Petite Sirah to stand up to The Donald, while the fun ‘Queer Eye For the Straight Guy’ is unexpectedly hip like a Sherry,” explains MacNeil.

“This little pop-culture exercise is not only meant to be fun, but it also reminds us that wine has always had a place in sharing a relaxed evening with friends,” says Wine Market Council President, John Gillespie.

Whether you’re taking cues from Jessica Simpson’s ‘Jessica Moments,’ the latest tribal alliances on “Survivor” or the “moberly” advice of Victoria Gotti, MacNeil’s fun pairings offer the perfect opportunity for novice and experienced wine enthusiasts to taste and to learn about new wines. So go ahead, open your favorite bottle, pop up a bowl of popcorn and invite a few friends over for an evening of reality TV — there’s a great fall “wine-up” to choose from.

The Fall Reality TV “Wine-Up”

THE BACHELOR – Pinot Noir
The very idea of “The Bachelor” has Pinot Noir written all over it. First, there’s the endless-search-for-perfection part (Pinot Noir lovers are relentless in their pursuit). Then there’s the sexy subtext of the search (Pinot’s texture is as sensual as….never mind). And to top it all off, Pinot Noir has an aroma that’s somewhere between manly, earthy and — dried roses!

THE APPRENTICE – Petite Sirah
Petite Sirah — it could trump Trump at his own game. Tough as nails, thick skinned, and with a structure (read ego) that’s monolithic, Petite Sirah — despite its name — isn’t petite at all. The name’s a cunning ploy…extra points for boardroom subterfuge. Petite Sirah’s flavors? Fiercely dark and devious.

SURVIVOR: VANUATU – Cote-Rotie
Cote-Rotie — the vinous equivalent of the primal scream. Made from syrah grapes in France’s northern Rhone Valley, Cote-Rotie seems like a nice red wine — at first sip. But with a little time, all its primitive wild flavors come unleashed. A polite cafe society wine, it is not.

NEWLYWEDS: NICK & JESSICA – Asti Spumante
Just a little ditzy (er, I mean: fizzy) and naughty (in a fresh, lively sort of way). Of course, they’re exuberant and charming, though a little naive — the bubbles, that is.

GROWING UP GOTTI – Sauvignon Blanc

Flaunting its appeal as the “bad girl” of white grapes, Sauvignon is sassy, wild, dangerous (in a feminine sort of way) and above all, could walk onto the set of “The Sopranos” and give those Chiantis a run for their money — without skipping a beat.

AVERAGE JOE IV – Shiraz
It may not be flashy or drive fast cars, but there isn’t a more loveable red wine around. Australian Shiraz is dependable, amenable, happy-go-lucky and born to please. It’s also got a soft core of nice fruit. C’mon girls: it’s everything you always wanted and you know it.

QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GUY – Sherry
The world’s most misunderstood and underappreciated wine is actually the hippest, most stylish wine of all: Sherry. We know; you thought Sherry was for little old ladies with blue hair. Yeah, but what do you know? (Anyone who would use bar soap as shampoo can hardly consider themselves an arbiter of good taste.) Sherry — from the south of Spain (known for bull fights and cigars) — is actually just about the most macho drink around. Insider’s tip from the Fab 5: drink the style of Sherry called Fino: it’s hauntingly dry and powerful.

THE REAL GILLIGAN’S ISLAND – Boxed Chardonnay
A box of Chardonnay, mate! Not only is it packaged in a seaworthy, unbreakable container but Chardonnay is a perfectly fresh, light wine that’s tasty and not too complex to figure out. Save the intellectual complexities for figuring out how to get off the island.

THE AMAZING RACE – Cabernet Sauvignon
First, because cabernet sauvignon is resilient enough to endure just about anything. Second, because cabernet is good at having a partner (usually Merlot) to struggle through life with. But most of all because you can travel the world in a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon (it grows in just about every corner of the globe you can think of; from Texas to the Golan Heights).

Source: Wine Market Council

Wine Market Council is an independent, non-profit trade association of grape growers, wine producers, importers, wholesalers, retailers and other organizations affiliated with the wine industry.

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