The TV Series: American Horror Story
The Wine: 2014 The Paring Red, California, USA ($24 on wine-searcher)
Haunted house up for sale, half the price of the other houses in the neighborhood? Check. Unwitting family happy they found a deal, figures it won’t be an issue? Check. Absolute terroir and misery to ensue? You betcha. The Paring is a terrifically sinister red produced by Matt Dees, one of the Central Coasts rising star winemakers, if not the shining star of the moment. Why this wine? It’s got a paring knife for a logo, and we all know how well those come in handy in horror films. Ya know, the protagonist, walking with an outstretched hand pointing a paring knife at the cupboard, while the haunting spirit creeps up behind and the lights go to black just before lightning strikes? Frightened or not, the Paring in your glass will torment and transform your palate, redefining your love for California red blends.
The TV Series: Creeped Out
The Wine: 1000 Stories Bourbon Barrel Aged Zinfandel, Mendocino County, USA ($17 on wine-searcher)
With the power to control their parents, pure evil is unleashed among the children of Great Britain. And naturally, things get out of hand. That’s exactly how I feel about wines being aged in used bourbon barrels. I’m utterly creeped out by this! Winemakers, what are you thinking!? Oh, I know: it imparts “charred vanilla and caramel spices” to the wine. But what about good old-fashioned used French and American or Hungarian oaky? Or concrete? Or stainless steel? Has stainless steel gone out of fashion? Grab a bottle of 1000 Stories Zin and creep out on this craze while practicing your best British accent (if you don’t already have one). The TV Series:
The TV Series: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Part I
The Wine: Bleasdale Uncle Dick The Red Brute Sparkling Shiraz, Langhorne Creek, Australia ($19 find on wine-searcher)
This one’s easy. Remember Kiernan Shipka from Mad Men? Remember that Don Draper was really Dick Whitman? Yeah, well, this re-hash of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, staring Shipka, calls for something rather unexpected—unexpectedly good. The show is terrific, and Uncle Dick’s Red Brute Sparkling Shiraz is OMG good. If you spill it on anything, it will stain that thing for the rest of eternity an inky purple color. Your teeth, for instance. But really, it’s gobsmacking tasty and with enough tingly fizz to stomp out the tingly goosebumps you’ll get courtesy of tricky camera cuts and such.
The TV Series: The Haunting of Hill House
The Wine: 2012 Henschke Hill of Grace Shiraz, Eden Valley, Australia ($745 on wine-searcher)
So, admittedly this is a rather absurd pairing—the name is perfect of course, but the price, well, that’s the absurd bit. I know there’s at least one or two of you out there reading this who are capable of dropping $745-ish bones on one bottle of wine. Just do it. Get two bottles while you’re at it because The Haunting of Hill House is so seriously frightening you will undoubtedly knock a glass or two off the coffee table. What better wine to pair with this show than one that is brooding, powerful, explosively haunting, and a wine for the ages? Next to Penfold’s Grange, it’s the best Australian red out there—so I’ve been told. I’m still waiting for an invite to the winery or a sample bottle for editorial consideration. I’ll keep waiting.
The TV Series: The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell
The Wine: 2016 Cockburn’s Vintage Port, Portugal ($77 on wine-searcher)
A baker and an artist, Ms. McConnell employs her talents to “create hauntingly disturbing confections,” so we are told. Sounds like a dessert wine pairing to me. How about a bourbon-barrel aged red—oh wait, sorry, that’s a DRY RED TABLE WINE. My mistake. I’d go with a 1999 Y’quem Sauternes if you’ve got a spare $300 lying around. Otherwise, this calls for Vintage Port—a Cockburn’s (and from what I can tell thanks to Steven Spurrier’s fabulous appearance in SOMM 3, it is pronounced “co-burns”). While he is dazzled by a 1908 vintage-dated bottle, you’ll be just fine with a 2016.