I'd like to start this post by acknowledging that my familiarity with Pokémon is somewhat limited. My peak of Pokémon fandom was in 1998. This was when the Blue and Red Versions were released on the Nintendo Gameboy and the TV series was going strong. It’s the original Gen 1 - 151 Pokémon that holds a special place in my heart and serves as the foundation for most of my wine and Pokémon pairings.
Why wine and Pokémon, you might wonder? As I delved into pairing wine with Pokémon and creating shitty Pokémon wine memes, I discovered striking similarities between these seemingly unrelated worlds.
In the wine realm, there are grape varieties with unique flavors and attributes, much like the varied energy types and characteristics of Pokémon. Wines evolve in the glass and are influenced by winemaker choices. This parallels the development and evolution of Pokémon through training and experience. Both hobbies have global followings, united by a passion for rare treasures, trading, and collecting.
Learning about wine can encompass a range of experiences, from in-depth study, competitive blind tastings, and meticulous note-taking - to the simple joys of connecting with others and savoring nostalgic flavors. This mirrors the diverse ways in which people engage with the Pokémon universe. To me, both wine and Pokémon celebrate captivating stories, creativity, and artistry. Despite the differences between these two worlds, they converge in offering rich, multifaceted adventures, making them both fascinating pursuits.
Now that I've made my case for this stupid concept, let's explore a few pairings
Pairing by Energy Type
Charmander and the charming Gulfi Cerasuolo di Vittoria
A Fire-type Pokémon with a wine from volcanic soils. Entry-level price point wine with Charmander - the first evolution of the powerful Charizard. I also recall Charmanders enjoying the Volcano level of the game Pokémon Snap. So in my head this just made sense.
Holographic Mega Blastoise EX and Ultramarine Blanc de Blancs
A Water-type Pokémon paired with sparkling wine from premier sites along the California coast. Blastoise is the final evolution of Squirtle. The holographic art, attack power, and prestige of this Pokémon I believe match the cult status of the Ultramarine wine.
Ivysaur and Bründlmayer Terrassen Kamptal Grüner Veltliner
A Grass-type Pokémon paired with a certified organic wine made from deep green, Grüner Veltliner grapes. A variety that is known to have bright and herbaceous flavors. I can just picture Ivysaur chilling by the Danube River. This mid-evolution, popular starter Pokémon - pairs well with this approachable mid-tier price wine.
Pairing based on classic food and wine combos
Shellder and Christophe et Fils Petit Chablis
I received this Petit Chablis as a gift and thought it would be funny to pair with this bivalve, mollusk Pokémon. Oysters are delicious with the lemony, saltiness of a Chablis. It is a classic go-to combo and I decided to give this pairing a slightly sadistic Pokémon eating twist.
Hanzell Sebella Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, California and Farfetch’d
Farfetch’d is a duck-like Pokémon. He appears to be always holding a leek or spring onion. I couldn’t help but imagine some duck confit with cherry balsamic reduction - and a juicy Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. I am sorry Farfetch’d, you look like a walking dinner, and I feel like your designers are in on this joke.
Pairing based on card aesthetic, wine flavors, and appearance
Holographic Full Art Reshiram and HWAJU by Hana Makgeolli
Reshiram is a Legendary Pokémon introduced in Generation V. I mentioned earlier that the 151 is what I base most of my pairings on, but this naturally fermented, unfiltered organic rice wine infused with hydrangea and chrysanthemum flowers by Hana Makgeolli tasted refreshing and unique. Her wines celebrate heritage and are a labor of love. This beautiful holographic Pokémon card in my mind match the captivating taste and appearance of this rice wine.
Holo Muk and Ferreira Dona Antónia Tawny Reserve Port
Viscosity is a measure of a fluid's resistance to flow. In wine sweet wines are typically more viscous than dry wines. High-alcohol wines are more viscous than low-alcohol wines. When I think of Muk, I think of a highly viscous Pokémon. He is deep purple and slow-moving. This card has a beautiful holographic effect and features some of the coolest Muk art I have seen. This Tawny port is thick, has a slow maturation in wood, and would go lovely with some stinky cheese or caramel desserts. It gave me a cool Muk feeling. So I went with it.
Roselia and Nicolas Gonin Viognier from Isère, France
Roselia is a small, light green, grass-type Pokémon that holds a rose in each of its hands, a red one on its right, and a blue one on its left. It looks graceful, peaceful, and chill. This delicious Viognier is one of the most elegant I have ever tasted. It had lovely apricot, and floral aromas that I think match the ambiance of the card art.
Hope you enjoyed this post!
More wine and Pokémon content on IG @wineandpokemon but I do not post as consistently there.