We tasted the official 'Walking Dead' wine, and the results were surprising

Kimberly Potts
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
The trio of “Walking Dead” wines. (Photo: Lot 18)

Yes, The Walking Dead has entered the world of pop culture-themed wine, and the Yahoo Entertainment staff has sampled all three entries: the Petite Sirah named for Rick Grimes, the Daryl Dixon Cabernet Sauvignon, and the red blend known as Negan.

But before we share our thoughts on the TV hooch, we have a little bone to pick with the vintner behind it, and it is this: Where my girls at?

There are three varieties of wine, and while we love the male apocalypse survivors as much as the next TWD fan, this is a show with just as many heroines. Where’s the Maggie wine? The Michonne? The freakin’ Carol?! Carol Peletier has single-handedly taken out whole groups of baddies, while often at the same time saving whole groups of her loved ones. And she’s been with the group since the beginning. Negan’s only been around a season and a half. Yeah, yeah, he amuses us too, but that doesn’t change our question: Where’s our Carol wine? Where’s our trio of Carol/Maggie/Michonne wines?

One other small issue: the wine packaging is … nice: Rick’s signature gun on the Grimes label, angel wings vest on the Daryl Dixon and Lucille (of course) on the Negan. But while admittedly this may be due to something above our licensing ken in these matters, if you’re gonna create a bottle of Daryl Dixon wine, shouldn’t you put Norman Reedus’s face on the label? Ditto Andy Lincoln’s mug on the Grimes wine, and finally, what is a bottle of Negan wine without his s***-eating grin flashing at you as you pour a glass?

Those quibbles aside, you wanna know how the wine tastes, right? Is it worthy of pouring for those in attendance at your next TWD viewing party? To be honest, most of our staff members were not exactly fans.

Photo: Lot 18

The Rick Grimes — 2016 California Petite Sirah
Lot 18’s official description says the Grimes wine is “bold, dark and balanced, exhibiting a notable tension between the bright acidity and firm, tannic structure.” Our most wine-savvy staffers definitely thought the Rick was the best the TWD brand had to offer. Kelly Woo liked its “nice leatheriness and blackberry note,” while Chrissy Nguyen called it “rich and dry. It definitely tastes like blueberries, but ends spicy! I like this one.” Kristen Baldwin thought it tasted “like a generic red wine,” while Adam Lance Garcia said, “Much like Rick, it came with good intentions but left with a bad aftertaste.” Ethan Alter also deemed it the best of the three wines: “A Petite Sirah with a robust flavor … a decent wine for a decent leader.”

Photo: Lot 18

Daryl Dixon — 2016 California Cabernet Sauvignon
“Reliable, showing depth and an attractive core of ripe black fruits, intermingled with savory nuances of coffee bean and dried herbs. Like Daryl’s crossbow, this is a wine you can count on to always hit the mark,” is how the company described it. But while Mr. Dixon may be fans’ favorite character on the show — actually, there’s no “may be” to it; we took a vote — the wine named after him left a bad taste in most of the staff’s mouths.

Matt Whitfield described it as “rotten cough syrup” with a “candy aftertaste,” while Raechal Shewfell called it “too medicine(y) for me … made my face scrunch up.” Leah Neuberth thought the Daryl tasted like “a very cheap Trader Joe’s wine,” while Mandi Bierly said, “The first sip was not pleasant. I expected them to make sure Daryl was the best since he’ll clearly be the bestseller.”

Woo thought it had a “weird, inky aftertaste,” while the smell of the wine — perhaps befitting a character who likes to embrace his well-earned griminess — was a sticking point for some tasters. “The smell knocks you back, but the taste is okay,” Alter said. “It’s near-wine, just like Bud Light is near-beer.” Added Garcia, “Like Daryl, it smells terrible, but turns out to be very sweet.”

Photo: Lot 18

Negan — California Bourbon Barrel Red Blend
He’s a bad boy, with a pretty bad wine to match, according to our staff. “I don’t even know how to describe what I’m tasting,” Bierly said. Neuberth said she was reminded of “rubbing alcohol” when she sipped the Negan, while Baldwin asked, “Has this gone bad? Can wine go bad? I think this went bad. Tastes like cough syrup with a hangover.” Woo agreed, saying it tasted like “it’s gone bad or was aged in a gasoline barrel.”

Nguyen deemed Negan (the wine and the character?) “too acidic,” while Alter judged it “bloody awful in every way. I’m not sure which flavors they blended to make this ‘red blend,’ but if I had to hazard a guess, it would be ‘old socks’ and ‘roadkill.’”

So, are the Walking Dead wines viewing party-worthy? Maybe. Or perhaps they’re better for drowning your sorrows when, say, a majestic creature and the personal pet of a regal community leader gets eaten by walkers.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.

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