A Star Wars Wine Companion
Choosing the right bottle in the vast world of wine can often seem like navigating the galaxy. Star Wars: The Force Awakens set a new box office record this week—so obviously there are many out there who share my fondness for the epic film series. The major players from the original triology all had strong, distinct personalities, much like wines have unique styles, and the character that you identify with most might lend some insight into what you like to drink. With Episode VII introducing the voices of the new generation, here are 13 central characters from both the Light and Dark Sides—and their wine world equivalents.
Princess Leia Organa: Blanc de Noirs Champagne
Why? Bold, fearless and brimming with energy and determination, Leia is instrumental in the Galactic Civil War. Although there’s darkness in her lineage—in the form of Darth Vader—she is pure Light, like this white Champagne made from black grapes (100 percent pinot noir, to be exact).
Try: NV Vouette et Sorbée ‘Fidèle’ Extra Brut ($74)
Luke Skywalker: Barolo
Why? Skywalker is awkward and unsettled in his youth, his true identity hidden away until later in life, when he realizes his true potential as a Jedi Master. Barolo similarly requires time for its tannins to soften and its beguiling secondary aromas to come to the fore. When they do, the wine drinks like the masterpiece it was destined to be.
Try: 2008 Elio Altare Barolo ($66)
R2-D2: New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
Why? This feisty little droid is always on a mission, and he always succeeds—just as Sauvignon Blanc successfully put New Zealand on the map as a world-class wine-producing country. Plus, he’s zippy, spritely and always reliable.
Try: 2013 Palliser Estate Martinborough Sauvignon Blanc ($16)
C-3PO: Second Wine of a top-growth Bordeaux
Why? This 3PO unit is programmed for etiquette and protocol and is fluent in over 6 million forms of communication, so you’ll want him as your Number 2. Buttoned-up and British by accent, he’s right at home at any fancy affair but can also hold his own if the mood turns a little more raucous.
Try: 2012 Les Hauts de Smith Pessac-Léognan ($31)
Darth Vader: Cahors
Why? There could be no darker side of the wine-producing world than that known as the "black wine" of Cahors in Southwest France. There, the Malbec grape finds its most deeply colored and mineral manifestation, its firm structure of tannin and acidity giving it longevity, much like the life-sustaining black armor of the Sith Lord Vader.
Try: 2011 Château du Cèdre Cahors ($24)
Obi-Wan Kenobi: Burgundy
Why? A longtime Jedi Master, Obi-Wan is to the Force as Burgundy is to terroir: the epitome of its expression. The wines, like the man, exude the effortless elegance, grace, and complexity to which all others aspire.
Try: 2012 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes ($98)
Han Solo: Etna Rosso
Why? “I’ve got a bad feeling about this…” is a frequent quip from the lawless smuggler turned Alliance fighter Han Solo. You’d have a bad feeling, too, if you were a vine planted on the volcanic slope of Sicily’s Mount Etna, which is prone to erupting from time to time. Wines produced there are smoky, seductive and never lacking character.
Try: 2010 Benanti Etna Rosso ‘Rovittello’ ($45)
Chewbacca: Chilean Carménère
Why? This Wookie warrior speaks in a tongue not many understand, like this grape, which was originally mistaken for Merlot in Chile and produces wines of an earthy, animale profile.
Try: 2011 Concha y Toro Terrunyo ‘Peumo Vineyard Block 27’ Carménère ($38)
Yoda: Georgian Wine
Why? Yoda is a beacon of ancient wisdom and the organic lifestyle. If he were to make wine, he would almost certainly ferment his fruit in old-school earthenware vessels buried into the ground, like the qvevri that Georgian winemakers still use today.
Try: 2013 Gotsa Kartli Mtsvane ($30)
Rey: Oregon Pinot Noir
Why? The Force is strong with Rey. Although she’s next-generation Jedi, she has the makings of Obi-Wan-level mastery, just as Willamette Pinot shows obvious ties to the grape’s Burgundian pedigree.
Try: 2012 White Rose Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($35)
Why? This latest addition to the lineup of droids stole the show with his crowd-pleasing and naturally bubbly demeanor. He also wins for best sound effects, like this fun, fuss-free French sparkler.
Try: 2013 Les Vins Contés ‘Pow Blop Wizz’ Rosé Pétillant ($23)
Finn: Cru Beaujolais
Why? Finn refuses to conform and remain among the ranks of Stormtroopers of the First Order, opting to express his individuality, much like the crus express their distinct terroirs, setting them apart from commercial Bojo.
Try: 2013 Domaine des Terres Dorées Morgon ($22)
Kylo Ren: Austrian Zwiegelt
Why? Although officially turned to the Dark Side, Kylo Ren sometimes falters toward the Light, pulled in two directions like this red grape variety, which is a crossing of Blaufränkish and Sankt Laurent. Both exhibit the freshness of youth mixed with the brooding spiciness that comes from sinister intentions.
Try: 2013 Rosi Schuster Burgenland Zweigelt ($21)