Wines of the Zodiac is a fun guide to pairing wines with your astrological or “sun” sign. The guide is based on two premises: 1) That each sign can be described as having certain characteristics, such as you’d find written in any astrology book. For example, Leos are generous and like to show off. Thus, they want wines that boast these qualities, like vintage Champagne; 2) That each sign is traditionally associated with several cities, countries or regions. Therefore, members of a sign should presumably enjoy wines produced in a corresponding area. See what you think, and try something new!
Wines of the Zodiac
by Chris Fehlinger
AriesAries generally enjoy young wines and those with intense, forward fruit flavors. California sauvignon blanc and chardonnay make great white choices. For reds, try big, tannic wines, like petite sirah or zinfandel; wines of the Rhone; and top Australian shiraz. As Aries rules France and Germany, wines from these countries — especially dessert offerings like Sauternes, Banyuls and Eiswein — are big hits.
Those born under the quintessential earth sign look for the same qualities in their wines: strong, solid, predictable. So turn to California cabs and chards, Bordeaux and Barolo. Or try earthy wines from the Languedoc and Rhone regions. Big fans of sweets, Taurus love all dessert wines, especially those from Germany. They should also enjoy shiraz, a grape thought to have originated in Iran, since Taurus is associated with that country.
Wines associated with this split-nature sign generally should express duality. White Bordeaux, pinotage and cab/shiraz blends from Australia come to mind. Geminis like the unexpected and love to try new kinds of wines from varying regions, so experiment with up-and-coming countries like Chile and Argentina. The Gemini sign influences the San Francisco Bay Area and parts of Australia, which may explain their populations’ preferences for New World wines.
The Crabs seek wine for comfort, ritual and tradition. For comfort they choose California merlots, lighter chardonnays and muscats. Ritual wines include Champagne/sparkling wines and Port. Cancers tend to choose the same wines repeatedly, but if prodded they’ll embrace a great new discovery. Cancer rules Venice (Italy) and influences New Zealand, so wines of Alto Adige (near Venice) and sauvignon blancs from New Zealand might appeal to those born under the Cancer sign.
Wines of this sign, well, you can spot them across the room — Opus, Dom Perignon, Chateau Latour (whose label has the largest print of all first growths). Leos may opt for an occasional Barolo and Amarone, because of their association with Italy, or Chateau Beaucastel or Rayas, which exhibit ties to Southern France. Whites? Only the biggest — Corton Charlemagne. Like the lion himself, this one’s king!
Like Virgos themselves, Virgo wines — Oregon pinot noirs, pinot gris and the wines of Alsace — seem simple but are actually hard to define. Born under an earth sign, they like wines similar to, but lighter than, those of Taurus — Tavel, Gigondas. Although a sign of frugality, Virgos love for the best vintage Champagnes wines may surprise you. But then again Virgo influences the Champagne region.
While the sign of beauty and grace wants harmony in life (and wine), Libras are very indecisive, so don’t let them pick what’s to be poured. Fuller, richer Burgundies, like Charmes-Chambertin and Santenay, and top California blends, like Red Meritage, are good choices for Libras. Chardonnays with a balance of oak and fruit — Montrachets of all ilk or small production wines from Napa — are perfect. Libras are associated with Argentina, so try wines from the best producers in Mendoza.
The sign that rules the wine trade drinks the best — Cristal, First Growths, Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, Penfolds “Hermitage,” Caymus “Special Selection” Cabernet, Dalla Valle “Maya,” Kistler… you know the list. Masters of harboring secrets and of playing detectives, Scorpios always seem to find unobtainable wines from impossible vintages — don’t ask how. They’ll shock you with a ’61 Pommard or a ’70 La Mission Haut Brion. Or, as Scorpio rules Morocco, they’ll really stun you with a delicious $6 bottle of North African red.
Members of the travel sign love to try wine from anywhere. Sagittarians make a great audience, but don’t let them buy for the party. (Oh look everyone! Russian wine!) As this sign is associated with Spain and Australia, they love the robust, forward and complex flavors of Spanish Rioja and Ribera del Duero, as well as the characteristics of big shiraz and rich semillons from down under.
As members of the sign of status and thrift, Capricorns require the finest and the best value. Quite a contradiction. For a special dinner Capricorns will splurge with Margaux, Montrachet or even a Barolo, perhaps. Rarely will this sign of tradition choose a California wine. At home, values they enjoy are from Chile, Chianti and Australia. Capricorns are really little kids inside and light up with any great surprise — try a Rhone varietal from Santa Barbara to lift their spirits. Sadly, Capricorn isn’t associated with any renowned wine region.
The most global sign loves wine from everywhere, and Aquarians also love to try the unusual and the unconventional. Cabernet/zinfandel blends? Sure thing! Chardonnay and viognier together? Absolutely! Charbono? Of course! Hybrid grapes like pinotage are certainly on the list. Bubbly wine of all types, from Champagne to Moscato d’Asti, delight this air sign.
Scorpio may rule the wine trade, but Pisces rules what’s in the bottle! Give ’em something strong, like zinfandel, cabernet or a big, lush chardonnay. Dreamers and mystics, Pisces love magic and romance. For magic try Condrieu and Amarone. For romance, sparkling wine. Occasionally people of the sign of the fish need something a little stronger, like Vintage Port, produced in a region traditionally governed by Pisces. Or, just break out the bourbon!