My guess is that anyone who might have been a fan of the series “Game of Thrones” may have been aware that wine was made under that name. I for one was not one of those people. In fact, it was only after my post titled “Game of Thrones – I’m Late to the Party” was published that I received word from my friends at Three Sticks Winery in California that they told me that a wine was made. Not only that but that their winemaker, Bob Cabral, was the winemaker for the GoT wines.
After some email exchanges between Three Sticks and then with Bob Cabral’s wife, Heather, (Bob does make 4 wines currently under his own label; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Rose of Pinot Noir and his newest addition Riesling), I was able to find some of the technical aspects of the wines from GoT. For the record, and I think I’ve got (not GoT) this right, there were three wines for wide distribution; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a Red Blend. There is a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon produced but I believe that it is very limited and may only be available through their wine website (https://www.gameofthroneswines.com/).
If you read my reviews, you’ll see that I am quite a fan of Three Sticks and the wines Bob produces for them. So when I learned he was the winemaker for GoT, I had to track some down. However, just as I was “Late to the Party” for the series, I found myself even later for the wines. Most places were long sold out. Perseverance paid off though as I found one lone bottle of the Pinot Noir (that’s the one I wanted anyway) at a store. Unfortunately 25 miles away, but this was a “gotta have it” situation. Nice day for a drive so off I go.
While I did plan a meal around the wine (Roasted Split Chicken Breast with some veggies), this review is all about the wine experience.
While the excitement of trying something new from a highly respected winemaker gave me goosebumps (I’m so easily amused), I did have a little trepidation as this was or could be a gimmicky wine. Trying my best to withhold any predetermination about the wine and let it “speak for itself.” I am so glad I was able to do that, even if it took a couple of sips to get me there.
Game of Thrones Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2017
Lets’ set the stage first. The wine is 100% Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley, Oregon, from several clones from various vineyards allowing them to blend the best lots. The wine is sur lees aged 10 months on a combination of 30% new French and 30% new American medium toasted oak (that’s straight from their tech sheet that you can see by clicking here).
Getting to the wine; upon pouring I noticed the wine was crimson red, much like the label, but very light, translucent bordering on transparent. Aromas were also light but having an earthy dried fruit quality. Next is what stunned (yes, stunned) my palate, and me in general. The first sip brought forth that lighter quality that the color revealed. It also had fruit characteristics of dried dark fruit and rusticity, but something else. A familiarity to it. I searched my mind (no I didn’t perform brain surgery to find things) for this “flavor” that seems that I once had tasted this wine before. Then it clicked; a remembrance of a Pinot Noir, this one from California, Sonoma to be exact, that I recalled the almost identical flavors. I’m not going to mention the name, except to say that the wine was of exceptional quality and price was about four times as much. There may also be some connections in other ways, but I’ll leave that to your own devices.
So as not to present this GoT’s wine or the other as equals, it should be noted that the “other” wine did have more to it, I only relate the two wines as to flavor only. The more I drank of the GoT wine the more engaging it became. Bright with a tinge of oak and a slight spice note to finish it off. I’m glad I didn’t let my predetermination about the gimmick effect cloud my thoughts. This is a solid wine at around $20 if you can still find it. Now that the series is over, I couldn’t find out if there are more vintages to come or those were the last.
If anyone out there knows anything, give me a shout. Oh, and there is some ale in honor of GoT as well as some commemoratory spirits.