The Television Sommelier (part one)

Though it marks the end of summer, the falling of leaves and the ever-earlier retirement of the sun that declare the annual transition into autumn do not come without rewards. For the stay-at-home mother, a glimpse at sanity as her children return to their day jobs of becoming educated. For the sports fanatic, one season after another, from college football to NFL football to the NBA to college basketball, to say nothing of the fact that baseball actually becomes relevant this time of year as well. And for the winemaker, harvest! That ever so crucial moment in time when months and months of toil literally bear fruit, or don’t, and dictate in glorious, traditional fashion just what your coming year will look like. Though it may be impossible not to mourn the passage of summer, we are certainly not without wonders to anticipate as fall marches upon us.

For the television fan, the fall also has a lot to offer. New shows emerge, and old ones return, many of them fresh off wins at major awards shows (or else still licking their wounds at the public snubbing – sorry Ricky Gervais) But whichever it is, the autumn promises excitement in the form of America’s true national pastime – television watching. And here at ITheeWine, we wanted to offer an assist to our readers as the new season fast approaches. We all know that pairing wine with the right food will make the meal more enjoyable, but what about pairing wine with television? We believe that finding the right wine to pair with your favorite sit-com is every bit as important as finding the right wine to pair with your food. And so, if we may be so immodest, please sit back and consider us your television wine-pairing sommeliers, as we explore the shows that we are most looking forward to this fall, and offer our recommendations about what to imbibe while you enjoy them.

Hell’s Kitchen: Season Premier Wednesday at 7PM CST on FOX

This week, the show we’re most excited about is the season premier of Hell’s Kitchen. Gordon Ramsay has proven that he is not only an incredibly talented culinary artist, he’s also a shrewd businessman and a charismatic television personality. Given to tantrums when people fail to clear the very high bar he sets for those under his televised tutelage, the show extends an opportunity to be both entertained and inspired, as up and coming chefs do their best to impress the ever watchful Ramsay.

At this point, we’ll confess: It’s intimidating to try and pair wine with Ramsay’s show; as he reveals in his latest Sprint commercial, he has a tendency to throw things if he’s not impressed. That being said, what we like about Ramsay is his flair for both the traditional as well as the contemporary. So, tipping our hat to his native England (Ramsay was actually born in Scotland but spent most of his childhood in England, and most of his famous restaurants are in and around London), we’ve selected a wine from the menu of one of Ramsay’s own delectable eateries. At Foxtrot Oscar (, located in Chelsea, diners may select an English sparkling wine from the menu, a brut rose’ from the Chapel Down winery (, located in Kent. A sparkling rose’ is often a treat, but adding the intrigue of England’s own growing wine industry may be just the thing to enjoy while watching Ramsay coach-up yet another season of chefs in his own, charming, short-tempered manner. Like Ramsay, the wine is unique, complex, and probably best enjoyed in small quantities – no offense, Gordon!

NFL Football (Sunday on NBC, Thursday on CBS)

Also premiering this week is Sunday night football (not to be confused with Sunday afternoon football and Sunday midday football), and Thursday night football. While Mark is far more eager to welcome the NFL back into our world, and along with it fantasy football, there are any number of wonderful wines that can be paired these late evening games for those disinclined to drink beer or diet cola.

For these football time slots in particular, we’re going with Il Conte’s Stella Rosa pink semi-sweet, from Piemonte, Italy ( There are two reasons that this wine in particular is a good choice for football watching on Sunday and Thursday nights. First, it’s low-alcohol (something like 5.5%), and since most of us have to get up and go to work on Monday and Friday mornings, this wine can be enjoyed for the duration of the game without much worry about a whanging headache following you to work the next morning. Second, this semi-sweet wine will do a great job of cutting through the spicy barbecue sauce on your wings, and/or the biting jalapenos on your nachos, making it an ideal pairing with traditional game-watching food.

So there you have it, our picks for this weeks’ television premiers. Be sure to tune in next week as we again pair wine with our favorite shows as they continue to premier, making the turning of the seasons even a little more enjoyable, and providing us with still another way to enjoy our wine.







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