Pairing video games and classic wine

You may have seen millions of listings online about pairing wine with food or wine with music, hell, even wine with movies. But where is the wine pairing for video games? To address this absence, we spoke with sommelier master Morgan Harris about which wines are best suited to which game.

Before we begin, we should note that pairing wine and games is not an exact science. Pairing wine with food often leads to chemical interactions that enhance or change flavor; This doesn’t happen with game pairs, obviously. “Basically, alcohol is a food which means it doesn’t really have much of a structural overlap with gaming, which is a recreational activity,” Harris said. “At their base, they’re very different things, but there’s certainly some overlap and both are designed to be fun… I would argue that like the game, very much of the joy of wine lies in discovery. Just like exploring a world as you would in an open world game, the joy of wine is tasting the novel and trying new things. With that, you can think of wines as game genres to some extent.”

Taking that into account, here are some wines you might want to pair with a game for a fun night out in:

Riesling & Stardew Valley

“Classic German Riesling is really acidic, but also very sweet. I think it’s funny that we tend to resist sweet wines – as Americans, we don’t drink that wine, but we do. we love soda, it’s exactly the same thing. It’s really sour and sweet. It’s nice to sit around and drink a glass of German Riesling. It’s like playing something mindless and fun, like Stardew Valley or, in a way, like Valheim, where you’re just sitting around and relaxing and doing things at your own pace.”

Barbaresco / Barolo & Darks Souls

“In northern Italy, a famous grape there is called Nebbiolo, and it’s used in two wines: one called Barbaresco and another called Barolo. When they’re young, this wine really very tanning, so that’s the astringent feel you get and they’re high in acidity. They’re great in the red meat scene, but they’re not really enjoyable to sit around and just drink it when you’re young because they’re chewy and astringent, but it’s something like Dark Souls, isn’t it? patience, and prefer something full of flavor and intensity, that might be your preference.”

Champagne & story-based RPG

“Champagne is, in a way, like story-based RPGs in that you can get lost in it as a little world of its own. Again, with the caveat that alcohol is always a type. to share, for me, there’s something very relaxing about drinking champagne and also playing story-driven single-player RPGs because you just do things at your own pace. , there are a lot of quest icons everywhere, but if people don’t want to do that side quest, you don’t have to do that side quest No one is in a hurry to chase you No one is forcing you. You just have to do the whole game at your own pace. Nobody depends on you to do anything else, so champagne for me is very relaxing.”

Sauvignon Blanc & Fighting Games

“Sauvignon blanc are like fighting games in that they have a very distinctive flavor. There’s a certain shade of blue that not everyone has. Some people love it. They really love it. But for many There’s a certain amount of perspiration up, up, down, down, a, b, a quality, or whatever we’ll call it, that’s appreciated by a particular segment of people who find it interesting. I think Sauvignon blanc is the same. You either love it or hate it. Also, there are many different expressions of it around the world. various subgenres of fighting games.”

Chardonnay & Shooters

“The Chardonnay itself doesn’t have much of a flavor and is very much the character of where it comes from. So you have something like Chablis, coming from the north of France, it’s very lean and low in alcohol. It’s grown in one place. It’s cold and they don’t really use any oak on it. On the flip side of the spectrum, you have something like California Chardonnay, very rich and smelling of oak and butter. Both are the same thing. types of grapes, but they are given a lot of information about where they grow. FPS is, to a certain extent, like that. You have a shooter that shoots like Destiny, which is a foam ammo. The FPS is there but it plays a little bit more like an RPG. And then you have things like the entire CoD series, which has its own special flavor, which is some people’s stuff and not mine. Then you have games like Valorant or Counter-Strike. They’re all related. There are so many different ways to look down on a gun and shoot people. Within a genre, there are many different expressions.

Cabernet Sauvignon and World of Warcraft

“MMOs are ubiquitous as a genre that I think goes hand in hand with something like Cabernet Sauvignon because it’s an experience that pretty much anyone has. There are very few people at this point in time who haven’t played or haven’t. play knows what that is, so there’s a lot of similarity there. It’s believable. Everyone can find something inside of it to love.”

Pinot Noir & Hades

“Pinot Noir is kind of like a roguelike or roguelite. Pinot Noir is really, really hard to grow, but when you do it right, it’s one of the most magical grapes out there. It’s very expensive, highest quality, lowest quality. Sure, you can think of something like Spelunky or Hades in a similar way. When you start using it, you know there’s going to be a lot of frustration, but as you pick more and more of what you like, when you do something, like beat Hades for the first time, you feel really accomplished. Pinot Noir is the same. You have to go through a lot of mediocre wines to find one that’s really special. special because it’s really hard to develop. And it’s not for everyone. It takes a dexterous hand and reasonable skill to create.”

Last lesson

Pairing wine with games is all about creating structural similarities between genres and grapes, but no two are alike. Finally, if you pair a bottle of wine with a game, you’ll likely have a good night’s sleep.

“To a certain extent, the game is a competition,” says Harris. “Even if you’re up against yourself. Wine is never really meant to be competitive. If you like easy, white wine, it doesn’t matter how many points Napa Valley Cabernet gets; it probably doesn’t. It’s never really your pocket. But both are recreational activities. You want to have fun with them. I think, like many things, sharing with friends is one of the best ways to both have fun. the game just drank. Check out their house, buy a bottle of wine and talk about it. Interact with it. Have fun.”

But, of course, remember to drink responsibly!

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