Pop Culture

Wine Pairings for Fall’s Most Anticipated TV Shows

The wines you need to try with the shows you want to watch

Janice Williams By August 31, 2021
Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti in Showtime's Billions. Photo illustration by Allison Kahler. Billions Photo Courtesy of Jeff Neumann SHOWTIME.
Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti in Showtime's Billions. Photo illustration by Allison Kahler. Billions Photo courtesy of Jeff Neumann SHOWTIME.

There’s a lot to look forward to in the month of September, like the transition into fall, the changing colors of the leaves, and all things pumpkin spice. And then there’s the return of prime time television and the many shows to keep us entertained as the weather cools down, when thoughts of cozying up on the couch with a bottle of wine become more appealing. Here are a few standouts worth setting a reminder for, with recommendations for matching bottles.

7 shows to pair with 7 bottles:

Billions, Season 5 – Part 2

Sept. 5, 2021, 9 p.m. EST, SHOWTIME

It’s been over a year since fans were last sucked into the ongoing cat-and-mouse chase between U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades, played by Paul Giamatti, and the rich and seemingly uncatchable mouse Bobby Axelrod, played by Damian Lewis, the CEO of Axe Capital. The show will pick up right where it left off with Chuck moving in to nail Bobby for once and for all. The powerful attorney may be forming some new alliances, particularly with another one of Bobby’s enemies, Michael Prince, played by Cory Stoll. As for the series’ beloved billionaire Bobby, he has some plans of his own — except he’s running out of people he can trust. And with his ego spiraling out of control and his insecurities mounting, it’s going to take everything he’s got to outwit the competition.

bottle of Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2019

Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2019 ($55)

You’ll need something with power and weight to wash down the drama of “Billions.” This red blend from the Rhône has an elegant texture with a punch of red berry and black pepper flavors, as well as an intense and long finish, to help you keep up with it all.

Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, Season 2

Sept. 12, 2021, 9 p.m. EST, Bravo

Is Mary Cosby the leader of a religious cult? Is Jen Shah headed to prison for wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering? Did Meredith Marks have something to do with Jen’s indictment? These questions and so many more will be answered when the three women, along with Lisa Barlow, Heather Gay, and Whitney Rose, make their big splashy return in the second season of “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.” Expect plenty of bickering between the catty cast, especially when firecracker Jennie Nguyen makes her debut. Don’t be shocked if things get weird — as when Jennie’s husband suggests getting a sister-wife. Yikes.

bottle of Alain Robert Troglodyte Vouvray Brut

Alain Robert Troglodyte Vouvray Brut ($20)

An affinity for bubbly is a requirement for watching “Real Housewives” — no matter the franchise. This 100% sparkling Chenin Blanc is as dazzling as the diamonds in Meredith’s jewelry shop, and yet it has the softness of a pair of lips newly injected with Heather’s Beauty Lab + Laser Botox. Beautiful floral aromas balance out with apple and pear on the palate and wrap up with a finish as classy and sophisticated as Lisa’s wardrobe. 

Scenes From a Marriage, Series premiere

Sept. 12, 2021, HBO Max

It wouldn’t be fall TV season without at least one show following a couple on the verge of divorce. And in the new HBO Max series, “Scenes From a Marriage,” starring Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac, viewers will get just that. The new miniseries is an adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s 1973 show of the same name, except in HBO Max’s version, the story is set in modern-day America instead of Sweden. Of course, the couple starts out happily in love, but soon enough, things change. Can the love they once shared bring them back together? You’ll have to tune in to find out.

bottle of Noble Vines 337 Lodi California Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Noble Vines 337 Lodi California Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 ($11)

Almost everyone has contemplated ending a relationship at some point or another. When those types of life-changing decisions are on the line, or if you’re watching someone else make them, you need something sturdy, with legs strong enough to support whatever choice is made. This Cabernet Sauvignon gets the job done with a heaping of dark cherry, blueberry, and anise doused in earthy complexity. 

The Morning Show, Season 2

Sept. 17, 2021, Apple TV+ 

Jennifer Aniston? Check. Reese Witherspoon? Check. Coronavirus, discrimination in the work place, dishonesty, and betrayal? Check, check, check, and check. It’s anyone’s guess at how UBA, “The Morning Show’s” parent news network, will survive a new season of fallouts. There’s plenty of them on the horizon, including the big return of ex-“Morning Show” anchor Alex, played by Aniston, which won’t go over well with new “Morning Show” anchor Bradley, played by Witherspoon. There’s also Alex’s tell-all interview to be concerned about, especially after it ends up in the hands of a reporter from a competing network, and a deceptive-looking woman aiming to steal Bradley from UBA. “The Morning Show” co-hosts will have to stick to the facts and get to the truth to sort it all out, you know, like every news organization. 

bottle of Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis 2019

Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis 2019 ($33)

With so many unexpected events occurring within the news cycle, you’ll need something dependable to help you get through it, like Chardonnay. A classic Chablis, this wine is vibrant with minerality, stone fruits, and a splash of citrus.

Sex Education, Season 3 

Sept. 17, 2021, Netflix

Netflix hasn’t revealed many details about the upcoming season of the progressive, hilarious “Sex Education,” which follows a bunch of teenagers as they navigate their social anxieties at the buttoned-up Moordale Secondary School. The official trailer has yet to be released, but in a January interview, Asa Butterfield, who plays the socially awkward protagonist Otis Milburn, revealed the show won’t pick up where Season 2 left off. Instead, the show will kick off at the start of a new school year with a new headmistress, Jemima Kirke, calling the shots at the prestigious English prep school. Here’s to hoping Eric, Ncuti Gatwa, and Adam, Connor Swindells, are still holding hands, and that Maeve will finally learn the truth about that voicemail. 

bottle of Macari Vineyards Sparkling Horses North Fork Cabernet Franc Pét-Nat 2020

Macari Vineyards Sparkling Horses North Fork Cabernet Franc Pét-Nat 2020 ($28)

This Cabernet Franc pétillant naturel, made by New York’s Macari Vineyards, is both juicy and savory. It starts out with luscious red fruit before it levels up with Cabernet Franc’s signature bell pepper savoriness and finishes out with fresh, mouthwatering acidity. It’s just the wine you’ll need to temper all the hormonal growing pains featured on “Sex Education.” 

The Voice, Season 21

Sept. 20, 2021, 8 p.m. EST, NBC

Award-winning artists Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, and John Legend are all set to return to their red swivel chairs for another season of NBC’s long-running singing competition, “The Voice.” They’ll be joined by none other than Ariana Grande, replacing Nick Jonas. The competition will go along as it usually does, with the coaches filling their teams with contestants then narrowing down their top picks by having team members compete against each other in the Knockout and Battle rounds. After that, it’s up to viewers to determine who will move forward by voting for their favorites during the live shows. 

bottle of Brancott Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Brancott Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2020 ($12)

There’s something so comforting about the formula of “The Voice” that it doesn’t make any sense to watch the show with a fussy, complicated wine. Pour a glass of ease and simplicity by way of this bottling, a reliable New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. The wine is bursting with zesty aromas and saturated with tropical fruit flavors and fresh acidity. 

The Wonder Years, Series Premiere

Sept. 22, 2021, 8:30 p.m. EST, ABC

Now here’s a dose of nostalgia: “The Wonder Years” is returning to the small screen. The updated, coming-of-age family sitcom is still set in the 1960s, like the original series, which aired on ABC from 1988 to 1993. But this time around, it’ll follow Dean Williams, Elisha Williams, a Black kid growing up in Montgomery, Alabama during a time of momentous change. Don Cheadle will narrate the show as the grown-up Dean reflecting on his childhood. Fred Savage, who starred as the main character, Kevin Arnold, in the original series, serves as an executive producer, along with Lee Daniels, Marc Velez, and Saladin Patterson, the show’s creator. 

bottle of Lola California Pinot Noir 2018

Lola California Pinot Noir 2018 ($20)

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.