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George R. R. Martin makes great descriptions of meals, but he also uses a lot of wine for different purposes (to accompany meals, as appetizers, to relax, to deliver medicine, to sterilize, etc). They are often described as sweet, sometimes spicy, sometimes served warm, etc.

Are there specific references, actual nods to real-life wines? Are Summer Isles wines supposed to be, say, a nod to real-world Port wine?

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    This one is oddly specific. – Solemnity Jun 21 '13 at 4:14
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    No I don't think so. Wines have great variability in sweetness and potency and GRRM is just reflecting that. I don't believe there are specific references to wines in our world. – TheMathemagician Jun 21 '13 at 10:33
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    Probably,the nobles at least, are mostly drinking Hippocras, spiced sweet wine, that was very common in medieval times, and sometimes was drank warm. Consider that both beer and wine were drank at best at room temperature, and was common to drink beer with lemon (that's cited in the books too) and wine with sugar and spice. Hippocras is cited more than once in the books. – Duralumin Jun 21 '13 at 12:44
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    @System Down. It's cited in Tales of Dunk and Egg too. There is a page on Hippocras on the Wiki, anyway. awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Hippocras – Duralumin Jun 21 '13 at 14:39
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    Hot spiced wine is still drunk today. Especially in France and Germany in the winter. Alsace is famous for it. – terdon Jul 6 '13 at 1:01
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There are lots of factors involved in the development of the taste of a wine: from the evident quality, type and treatment of the grapes to the type of the cask where it's processed.

I'll bet that when GRRM describes a wine on his novels he has a specific taste on his mind. He's quite a gourmet and I'm sure he has a lot of knowledge about wine.

As far as I know there is no evidence for direct relationship between real world and Westeros wines, however, you can "slightly approximate" several famous wines on westeros to real world ones basing your guess mainly on climate conditions. Of course this will be just an exercise of fantasy and imagination, but hey... that's what all of this is about, isn't it?

For my girlfriend's birthday I bought her the cookbook based on the novels, some days later she prepared a meal based on the recipes from the book. We selected a wine from southern Spain and played it was a dornish wine, actually I don't know how dornish wine tastes, but I can tell you it was a wonderful meal.

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Well... maybe... but it might be the other way around.

I am speaking of wines being made using the Game of Thrones label.

A fan of Game of Thrones, Bob was challenged to craft wines to match the strength the characters and the terrain of their kingdoms. Bob's meticulousness and patience has yielded wine that embody the spirit of the HBO® series.

There are three wines currently offered for sale; a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Chardonnay, and a Red Wine Blend. These are definitely "real world" types of wine, but it is not mentioned whether the Cabernet is supposed to be a Dornish Red or the Chardonnay is supposed to be an Arbor Gold.

At the very least those in charge at HBO were willing to allow a license of the names to be used to make wine "in the spirit of the series".

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GOT isn't set on Earth, but on a fantasy world inhabited by humans. As such GRRM use familiar human elements to accessorize the human activities and constructs which are encountered in the story lines. Foods, drinks, clothing, animals, and relationships are familiar to readers and viewers to give a means of identifying with the characters, their actions and to fill the plots and move them along. Looking for a one to one equivalency is not dificult if it remains generic. Wool is wool, Valeryian steel is steel, mead is mead. But the wine consumed at a feast some where in Westoros is not a branding to be found at your local liquor store. Suspension of disbelief give one access to GRRM's creation. But it only goes so far in identifying with the elements there-in.

  • Also there is a difference between something that is real or actual and a thing that is realistic. Degrees of fiction or fantasy are in play in all works in this genre. – Ihor Sypko Sep 5 '13 at 15:05
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    "But the wine consumed at a feast some where in Westoros is not a branding to be found at your local liquor store". Until someone realizes they can make money giving their wine a Westeros brand. – DJClayworth Sep 5 '13 at 16:53
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    Valeryian steel is magic steel, possibly akin to titanium rather than steel but still its a valid point – severa Nov 15 '13 at 6:42
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    Valeryian Steel is actually a fantasy metal, "Which means it has magical characteristics, and magic plays a role in its forging." As the article points out, the blades are often described as rippling or patterned, making them more like Damascus Steel, which holds even more true to the real world equivalent, because the original manufacturing processes for that steel have been lost. (Less similarly, wyldfire is equivalent to phosphorous, but it has many parallels to Greek Fire.) – Dacio Dec 17 '13 at 21:09
  • I think it's a metal in a fantasy. Only read the first four novels and don't recall anything magical about Valerian steel other than the magic price it commands on the weapons market and it's desireability among the upper classes. – Ihor Sypko Dec 26 '13 at 19:03
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Yes

Most wine seems to be described mainly by it's taste and smell and I'm no expert so I wouldn't be able to say if these are based on wines from our world or not. However, there is a reference to mulled wine that we have in our world. It is referenced quite a lot either as mulled wine or hot, spiced wine and seems to be a favourite among the men of the Night's Watch for obvious reasons.

"It was the cold," Gared said with iron certainty. "I saw men freeze last winter, and the one before, when I was half a boy. Everyone talks about snows forty foot deep, and how the ice wind comes howling out of the north, but the real enemy is the cold. It steals up on you quieter than Will, and at first you shiver and your teeth chatter and you stamp your feet and dream of mulled wine and nice hot fires.
A Game of Thrones, Prologue

Wheels of white cheese were set at every table, above and below the salt, and flagons of hot spice wine and chilled autumn ale were passed up and down the tables.
A Clash of Kings, Bran III

There are mentions of other types of wines as well though I can't say if these are based off of real wines or not.

Summerwine

A type of red wine that is extremely sweet and fruity.

His father took off the man's head with a single sure stroke. Blood sprayed out across the snow, as red as summerwine.
A Game of Thrones, Bran I

He settled back in his place on the bench among the younger squires and drank. The sweet, fruity taste of summerwine filled his mouth and brought a smile to his lips.
...
One of the squires interrupted the bawdy story he'd been telling to make room at the table for their lord's brother. Benjen Stark straddled the bench with long legs and took the wine cup out of Jon's hand. "Summerwine," he said after a taste. "Nothing so sweet. How many cups have you had, Jon?" A Game of Thrones, Jon I

Honeyed wine

I believe this is just wine with honey added to it. Though it could be a reference to mead but I doubt this as mead is referred to by name in the books.

So she sat in her wedding silks, nursing a cup of honeyed wine, afraid to eat, talking silently to herself. I am blood of the dragon, she told herself. I am Daenerys Stormborn, Princess of Dragonstone, of the blood and seed of Aegon the Conqueror.
A Game of Thrones, Daenerys II

Sweet amber wine from the Summer Isles

On the eighteenth night of their journey, the wine was a rare sweet amber from the Summer Isles that he had brought all the way north from Casterly Rock, and the book a rumination on the history and properties of dragons.
A Game of Thrones, Tyrion II

Fine wines

Obviously some wine is better than others and Illyrio seems to have fine wines.

They gorged themselves on horseflesh roasted with honey and peppers, drank themselves blind on fermented mare's milk and Illyrio's fine wines, and spat jests at each other across the fires, their voices harsh and alien in Dany's ears.
A Game of Thrones, Daenerys II

Tyrion mentions a fine sweet Dornish wine later on which could possibly be what Illyrio had.

Tyrion sat alone, sipping at what remained of the fine sweet Dornish wine. Servants came and went, clearing the dishes from the table.
A Clash of Kings, Tyrion II

White wine

As Dany lifted her goblet to drink, Rhaegal sniffed at the wine and drew his head back, hissing. "Your dragon has a good nose." Xaro wiped his lips. "The wine is ordinary. It is said that across the Jade Sea they make a golden vintage so fine that one sip makes all other wines taste like vinegar. Let us take my pleasure barge and go in search of it, you and I."
A Clash of Kings, Daenerys III

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    It does not answer the question. You listed all the wine references with types and extra ingredients. The asker wants to know if GRRM is influenced by the port wine for summer isles wine or Dom Perignon for Arbor wine. That is not your fault though, you provided a good answer for a bad question. – C.Koca Dec 14 '17 at 12:43
  • @C.Koca Are there specific references, actual nods to real-life wines? Yes... mulled wine and then I added some extra information. I'm not sure how I haven't answered the question... – TheLethalCarrot Dec 14 '17 at 12:48
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    Mulled wine is not specific like port wine. It is like asking if there is a beer close to heineken and answering it like yes they drink ale. – C.Koca Dec 14 '17 at 12:51
  • @C.Koca Mulled wine is a type of wine, they drink mulled wine. Your example doesn't hold to what I've wrote as heineken is a lager. – TheLethalCarrot Dec 14 '17 at 12:54
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    It does because it is wine. Again, if the question asked was Hound drinking something based on Pilsner, the answer cannot be ale. You answer all different wine references question, which would be a very good question, but not this one. The only way to answer it would be through a GRRM interview. – C.Koca Dec 14 '17 at 13:09

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