If you haven’t watched Downton Abbey, you really should. It’s worth the time. For me, it ranks up there with The Wire, Lost, and Sopranos. (Well… ok… maybe not “right there”, but certainly worth your time.) It’s a wonderful character drama following the challenges of British aristocracy, and their servant class, as they adjust to the massive economic and social changes of early 20th century England. I know it’s streaming on Amazon Prime Video and I have to assume you can get it on Netflix or OnDemand or whatever too.
As I was watching the last season recently, it struck me that the show owes at least some of its success to the sheer variety of characters involved. With so many different types of people to work with (stodgy butlers, arrogant lords, powerful women, gay servants, rebellious daughters, etc, etc), the stories, issues, and emotions to be explored are almost endless. There’s a certain joy in being able to see stories from so many different perspectives in almost every episode.
This great depth of variety is part of what gives me such love for wine as well. I love a great Cabernet as much as the next guy, but I really honestly don’t want to drink it every day. I absolutely thrive on the anticipation of the next great new variety, region, producer, or vintage in my glass. I am a wine explorer!
So, I thought it would be fun to compare some of my favorite wine styles to some of my favorite Downtown Abbey characters. Check out my thoughts below and let me know how your favorite wines compare to your favorite TV characters! (Especially if your favorite characters are Mr. T or Betty White.. I’d love to see that!)
An acerbic, biting, metallic wine. It just feels unbalanced and makes you uncomfortable. When you dig deep enough, you can find something good at the center, but it’s almost completely obscured by the unpleasantness.
Common wine examples: Usually cheap bulk wines. Unbalanced with way to much acid or residual sugar for the type of wine. Not all cheap wine is bad wine by any means… but the cheaper you go, the more likley you are to run into one of these bottles.
The Lady Rose
Fun, simple, light, and fruity. A refreshing wine that puts a smile on your face. Always great at a summer picnic. A Lady Rose wine isn’t very complex and doesn’t usually age well. But it is very easy to drink and hard not to like.
Common wine examples: Prosecco, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Unoaked Chardonnay, Albarino
The Lady Edith
A light and elegant wine showing more complexity of flavors and textures. Basically the more sophisticated cousin of The Lady Rose.
Common wine examples: Pinot Noir, Gamay, Chenin Blanc, Resiling,
The most complex and complete light-bodied wine. Often aged and usually showing secondary and tertiary flavors like earth, smoke, and mushroom.
Common wine examples: Burgundy Pinot Noir
Medium body and pleasant with straight forward fruit flavors. Generally a great “go-to” wine for non wine drinkers. (Not that we wine drinkers can’t love it to!)
Common wine examples: Value-priced Merlot, Zinfandel, and Sangiovese (Chianti), Oaked Chardonnay, Voignier
A medium-body wine conveying more complex flavors beyond the basic fruit profile. In the reds, you’ll often pick up vanilla, oak, smoke, forest, meat, etc.
Common wine examples: Merlot, Zinfandel, and Sangiovese (Chianti), Oaked Chardonnay, Voignier
A medium-bodied, deeply contemplative wine. Sophisticated and complex with great depth. Well balanced. Usually aged and showing secondary or tertiary flavors.
Common wine examples: High quality SuperTuscan, Brunello di Montalcino
Full bodied and fruit forward. This one is definitely luxurious and delicious. But it’s also somewhat one-dimensional, leaving you wishing there was just a little more to be discovered if you could dig deep enough.
Common wine examples: Young high-end Cabernet, Malbec, Merlot
A full bodied wine with great depth and complexity. Every time you revisit the glass, you discover something you hadn’t noticed before. Is this wine really a killer?? 😉
Common wine examples: Generally more expensive aged Bordeaux, Barolo, Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah
A giant powerhouse of structure and tannin overpowering the flavors. Gruff, rough, and intimidating. But softens as it ages.
Common wine examples: Young Sagrantino, Montepulciano,