Notes from our 'Outlander' wine tasting

Ethan Alter
Senior Writer
Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser in Outlander. (Photo: Starz)

The bad news: Outlander fans are going to have to wait until Oct. 22 to see the long-awaited reunion between Jamie and Claire Fraser, after the lovers have spent 20 years (and five episodes) apart. The better news: That gives you plenty of time to order your crate of Outlander-themed wine so you can toast the happy couple when their 74-minute reunion episode premieres in two weeks. The online wine company Lot 18 has premiered six new bottles in its Outlander: The Series collection, which went on sale Oct. 9 for a limited time. The Yahoo Entertainment staff had a chance to imbibe each of these new additions, and we share our thoughts below. It should be noted that none of us are serious oenophiles, so feel free to chase our opinions with a dash of salt.

Sassenach Languedoc-la-clape Rosé
Jamie’s sweet nickname for his British bride is the moniker of the obligatory rosé of the bunch, a nod to the ongoing roségence that has propelled this variety to the top of the wine sales charts. As it turns out, the wine itself is also pretty sweet… a little too sweet for our samplers, who weren’t taken with its mixture of strawberry, grapefruit, and white peach flavors. “I feel that Claire would not drink rosé,” noted Kristen Baldwin, and it’s true that our beloved Sassenach would almost certainly pick whiskey over any category of wine. To be fair, we may not have sampled this particular wine under ideal circumstances, consuming it warm, rather than chilled. “I think it would be better chilled,” said Gwynne Watkins. “Claire needs to spend some time on the moors.”

The six new bottles in the “Outlander: The Series” wine collection from Lot 18. (Photo: Leah Neuberth)

La Dame Blanche Pays d’Oc Viognier
With apologies to Claire’s witchy alter ego, La Dame Blanche aka the White Lady, we also neglected to serve this white wine at a chilly temperature. (Don’t cast a hex on us, Claire!) At the same time, that probably wouldn’t have changed the fact that this wine, like the rosé, leans too heavy on the sweet. “A little too fruity for me,” dismissed Kelly Woo. Adam Lance Garcia found the flavor more bitter than sweet, a sentiment shared by Jeffrey Pattit, who took a sip and cried out, “It burns!” But the peach and apricot notes pleased Raechal Shewfelt. “Fruity and fresh,” she said.

Mo Nighean Donn California Pinot Noir
Graduating from white to red, but still sticking with Claire references, this Pinot Noir takes its name from Jamie’s other term of endearment for Claire: “Mo Nighean Donn,” Gaelic for “My brown-haired lass.” Sadly, the wine didn’t inspire similar affection in some tasters. Ethan Alter called out the Pinot’s “weird aftertaste,” to which Baldwin added, “It’s all aftertaste.” On the other hand, Shewfelt liked this red’s mixture of sweet and tart: “I could see it becoming my default wine.”

Red Jamie Côtes Du Rhône Rouge
A robust red to match the robust red-haired highlander, the Red Jamie blends Syrah, Carignan, and Grenache and marks a step up from the brown-haired lass’s Pinot Noir. It still lacks a certain flavor, though. “Not the worst wine I’ve ever had,” commented Adam Lance Garcia, summing up the majority opinion.

Mac Dubh Pays d’Oc Syrah
Being locked up in a hellhole like Ardsmuir Prison would drive any man to drink. This earthy wine reflects the darkness in Jamie’s soul as he serves out his jail sentence and tries to make life better for fellow prisoners like his beloved Murtagh as Mac Dubh. Our tasters liked the Syrah’s smoothness, and lack of sticky aftertaste, although Shewfelt felt it should only be paired with specific meals. “I would only have this one if I were eating something rich,” she said.

Malcolm Languedoc-La-Clape Rouge
When Claire returns to the 18th century, she finds her husband in his humble Edinburgh print shop, monikered after the Alexander Malcolm portion of his full name, James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser. Accordingly, this will be the wine you’ll want to be drinking when the reunion episode begins. It doesn’t hurt that it was a clear favorite among the group. “It’s the best of the reds,” judged Alter. Will Lerner was similarly enthused, paying A. Malcolm a compliment that Outlander fans will salute: “The sweetness transported me to a good place, not unlike when Claire touched the stones at Craigh na Dun. Also it gave me a buzz, so I’m feeling good right now.”

Outlander airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Starz.

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