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Wine Pairings for Your Fucked-up Feelings

Everyone knows that oysters pair beautifully with Sauvignon Blanc, and that Champagne is the perfect match for deep-fried anything. But which wines pair best with existential angst? Given the events of the past couple years, it’s a fair question. Instead of vinous matches for spaghetti carbonara, what we really need in 2022 are wine pairings for our fucked-up feelings. Who cares which wine best enhances the umami of your poke bowl when the world is going to hell? Not to worry, I’ve got real-world wine recommendations for all the feels you feel.

The Crushing Weight of the Fucking Patriarchy

If the prospect of losing your hard-won rights has got you down, fret not, little lady! Wine is here to help. Grab yourself an extra-large glass and pour a generous glug of La Sirena 2018 Studio Series, a lush Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend from the Napa Valley. Not only is it named for the mythological enchantresses that lured seafaring men to their doom, the wine is made by the also-legendary Heidi Peterson Barrett. As one of Napa Valley’s pioneering winemakers, Barrett has no doubt had to put up with no end of misogynist crap during her lengthy career—including, in my presence, a well-known master sommelier making crass jokes about her underwear to a room full of wine professionals. Fuck the patriarchy and drink up, bitches!


Your mom may have taught you that it’s not nice to laugh at other people’s misfortunes, but it’s hard to deny the better-you-than-me glee that springs from the knowledge that someone else’s life is lousier than yours—if only temporarily. Let’s say, for example, that a bus carrying the guy who wrote the Kars4Kids jingle, the creator of Circus Peanuts candy, and all of the Real Housewives plunges off a cliff and into a lake of molten lava filled with ravenous piranhas. You can’t honestly tell me that your lips wouldn’t curl into the tiniest hint of a smile. Wrapping oneself in the warm smugness of schadenfreude calls for a wine that is subtle-yet-satisfying—fantastic, but not flashy. Time to break out the Drouhin Oregon 2019 Roserock Pinot Noir. Dark and brooding as your blackened soul, the wine has an appropriate hint of tartness.

Imposter Syndrome

Just who do I think I am, trying to write about wine—or, for that matter, about anything? I’m a hack. A fraud. A pathetic wannabee. Any day now, after perpetuating this deception for more than 15 years as a senior editor at two national wine business magazines and an independent writer for multiple consumer publications, I’ll surely be exposed to all the world as a terrible wordsmith—for Chrissake, I said “wordsmith!”—a wine dumb-dumb, and an even worse human being. I hope you can someday find a way to forgive me. In the meantime, I’ll be donning my scratchiest hairshirt and wallowing in a bottle of Spicewood Vineyards 2019 HP Black Label Tempranillo. Sure, the wine is elegant and packed with juicy blackberry flavor, but it comes from the Texas High Plains. Everyone knows the good wines, the legitimate wines, come from Napa Valley, or Priorat, or Bordeaux. Just what, exactly, is this Texas wine playing at?

Toxic Positivity

Just lost your job? Kid in jail? Pantry infested with those tiny little ants again? It’s all good! Turn that frown upside down, stuff those naughty negative feelings back down into your churning gut where they belong, and focus on all the things you’re #grateful for. I mean, let’s face it: Those itty-bitty ants are adorable! Now, let’s keep that forced positivity going with a cork-tainted, oxidized bottle of the normally exceptional Christian Moreau Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru. As you choke down the contents of your glass—mustier than your grandpa’s basement and the same darkened hue as his last urine sample—be sure to loudly sing the wine’s praises, and don’t forget to post a selfie on social media. So what if you paid $150 for that bottle, and you’ve been saving it for a decade? It is what it is! The Universe has big plans for you, just you wait!


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