Pop Culture

Wines to Pair With October’s Biggest TV Premieres

On the menu this fall: drama. Get your wine glasses ready

Janice Williams By October 18, 2021
photo of Insecure TV stars Yvonne Orji and Issa Rae
Photo illustration by Pix

Drama is on the menu for TV fanatics in October, when a new roster of shows is about to premiere. And if the trailers and sneak peeks are any indication of what’s in store, then just about everyone will be yelling at their screens at some point this fall. Sure, there are a few family-friendly sitcoms airing — just don’t expect to find them here. This list is all about TV drama, from family drama to love drama, work drama, and murder drama. And, of course, the only way to get through this much drama is with a glass of wine. Below are some of the most anticipated series premieres, matched with the right bottles.

7 shows to pair with 7 bottles:

Shark Tank, Season 13

Oct. 8, 2021, 8 p.m. EST, ABC 

photo of the cast of Shark Tank

The cast of Shark Tank. Photo courtesy of ABC.

There isn’t a single soul who would dare claim that things have gone back to normal, but there’s something about watching an ambitious entrepreneur from the middle of nowhere trying to sell Mark Cuban on some bizarre product that feels very reminiscent of yesteryear. Yes, “Shark Tank” is back, and, in addition to Cuban, so are the panel of filthy rich investment sharks Barbara Corcoran, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, and Kevin O’Leary. Just like previous seasons, the group will hear the watercooler pitches of business owners looking to expand or jumpstart their brands and determine whether or not they’ll break off the big bucks to help new and developing companies get off the ground.

bottle of Michel Guignier Les Améthystes Chiroubles 2018

Michel Guignier Les Améthystes Chiroubles 2018 ($21)

Now here’s a Gamay that is as unexpected as the moments when Corcoran and O’Leary are getting along on “Shark Tank.” Hailing from Morgon, the largest of Beaujolaisten crus, this wine doesn’t display the splashy, juicy, fruit-forward personality of some Gamay. It’s mineral-driven, sleek, and complex. Light enough to enjoy glass after glass, but structured enough to ease nerves when there’s a million-dollar deal on the line.

Dopesick, Mini-series premiere

Oct. 13, 2021, Hulu

Based on Beth Macy’s bestselling book of the same name, “Dopesick” is a chilling view into America’s ongoing battle with opioid abuse and the role one company played in triggering the nation’s biggest drug epidemic to date. The mini-series stars Michael Keaton as Dr. Samuel Finnix, a Virginia doctor who grows suspicious of a new miracle drug being pushed on patients in a mining community. His concerns only grow when a young coal miner develops a life-threatening addiction shortly after he’s prescribed opioids for his back pain. Finnix’s quest to uncover the truth blows the lid on immeasurable lies, schemes, and corruption taking place within the pharmaceutical world.

bottle of Bodegas Raul Perez Ultreia Bierzo Godello 2019

Bodegas Raul Perez Ultreia Bierzo Godello 2019 ($28)

Something light, fresh, and vibrant can really come in handy when dealing with such emotional and weighted content. This Godello from the village of Valtuille de Abajo, in Bierzo, Spain, with all its citrus and dried peach flavors, should help temper the anger and heartache of watching families be destroyed by the greed of big Pharma.

I Know What You Did Last Summer, Series premiere

Oct. 15, 2021, Amazon Prime Video

Back in the late ’90s, “I Know What You Did Last Summer” was a popular slasher franchise starring young Hollywood heartthrobs like Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ryan Phillippe, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Freddy Prinze Jr. In the film, the foursome were stalked by some mysterious man wearing a raincoat and wielding a hook. There were lots of secrets, lots of lies, and lots of death. Flash forward to October, and viewers will be treated to a new, TV version of a similar concept, with a deranged killer stalking a group of teens played by Madison Iseman, Bill Heck, Brianne Tju, Ezekiel Goodman, Ashley Moore, Sebastian Amoruso, Fiona Rene, Cassie Beck, and Brooke Bloom. Expect lots of secrets, lots of lies, and definitely a whole lot of blood.

bottle of Robert Hall Paso Robles Paso Red 2018

Robert Hall Paso Robles Paso Red 2018 ($20)

A little bit of depth will go far in soaking up all that blood and gore. So how about a bottle of something that’s a full-on berry pie of a wine sprinkled with notes of savory herbs and tobacco? This blend of Petite Sirah, Syrah, Zinfandel, Petit Verdot, Grenache, and Mourvedre gets the job done.

Succession, Season 3

Oct. 17, 2021, 9 p.m. EST, HBO

Logan Roy (Brian Cox) is back, although his position as the conservative billionaire strongman and CEO of Waystar Royco may not be so safe. The upcoming third season of HBO’s highly acclaimed series, “Succession,” will pick up right where it left off with the Roy family embroiled in legal drama surrounding Waystar Royco’s alleged abuse of migrants and sex workers. The family will have to figure out what to do with Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) now that he’s blown the whistle on his father’s corrupt and manipulative ways. And, of course, everyone will be wondering who will replace Logan, should he actually lose the power he’s been holding on to for so long.

bottle of Château Clarke Baron Edmond de Rothschild Bordeaux Red 2015

Château Clarke Baron Edmond de Rothschild Bordeaux Red 2015 ($58)

When contemplating the lives and scandals of the super-rich, what better to drink than a rich, elegant, structured, and balanced wine, much like this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from Bordeaux. It’s fitting that Château Clarke is a family-owned winery and has been since the property was purchased by Baron Edmond de Rothschild in 1973.

The Bachelorette, Season 18

Oct. 19, 2021, 8 p.m. EST, ABC

Another fall, another season of people looking for love on television. The long-running dating series will feature Michelle Young as the star “Bachelorette.” The elementary school teacher initially caught the eye of Matt James back on Season 25 of “The Bachelor,” but that didn’t quite work out in her favor. Now she has her own bouquet of roses to hand out, and she’ll attempt to find love again with one of 30 potential suitors.

bottle of Pignier Crémant Du Jura Brut Nature NV

Pignier Crémant Du Jura Brut Nature NV ($28)

A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, this sparkling wine from the Jura region of France is lively, fun, and refreshing, similar to how many of Michelle’s prospects will appear to be when they first arrive at her love shack on the ABC show. Unlike the unruly, manipulative, dramatic, bad-boy behavior some male contestants on “The Bachelorette” typically exude as the show continues, this bubbly remains refined and elegant through the very last sip.

Insecure, Season 5

Oct. 24, 2021, 10 p.m. EST, HBO

photo of Insecure TV stars Yvonne Orji and Issa Rae

Yvonne Orji and Issa Rae appear in HBO’s Insecure season 5 premiere. Photo courtesy of Mere W. Wallace for HBO.

It’s the end of an era, and soon, fans will have to say goodbye forever to Issa (Issa Rae), Molly (Yvonne Orji), Lawrence (Jay Ellis), and the rest of the “Insecure” crew. But before the show’s last hurrah, viewers will hopefully get some closure on a few important things, like the status of Issa and Molly’s friendship, Lawrence’s baby mama drama, and whether or not Issa ends up back with the man she started the show with or in the arms of another.

bottle of Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Rosé

Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Rosé ($80)

Is there a better way to celebrate the end of a truly great series other than with a bottle of sparkling rosé? The short answer: No. This Rosé Champagne expresses red berry notes with friendly and refined piny bubbles that scream so long, farewell, in the classiest way.

Queens, Series premiere 

Oct. 19, 2021, 10 p.m. EST, ABC

What happens when a star girl-group reunites in an attempt to regain all the fame and glory they had in the ‘90s? Viewers will soon find out when ABC’s new series, “Queens,” premieres. Starring Eve, Brandy Norwood, Naturi Naughton, and Nadine Velazquez, the show will follow the former rap group Nasty Bitch as they prepare to go on tour again for the first time in almost two decades. They’ll have to deal with much more than just getting back in good enough shape to work the stage. Expect a lot of drama as these feisty, glamorous women attempt to take back their position as the best hip-hop girl-group that ever existed.

bottle of Indigené Cellars Paso Robles Rozane Pinot Noir Rosé

Indigené Cellars Paso Robles Rozane Pinot Noir Rosé ($28)

An easy-drinking California Pinot Noir for an easy-going, family-friendly show. This wine has a velvety texture that’s complemented with flavors of cherry, cola, and blackberry. Supple tannins linger in the background and provide a balanced, lengthy finish.