If any famous author’s work were to scream, “Drink wine with me!” it would be Edgar Allan Poe’s. In one of Poe’s short stories, wine literally leads to a man’s downfall. Aside from that, his work is creepy, melancholy, and mysterious- the perfect vibe for a glass of wine. No matter your tastes, this list featuring nine of Edgar Allan Poe’s famous works paired with wines is sure to offer something you’ll enjoy.
But before we dive in, just a few disclaimers. First, I am in no way a wine aficionado. I’m the kind of wine drinker who chooses new wines based on how pretty the label is. I am the Michael Scott of wine drinkers (see The Office S3 E16, 11:36). Second (and most importantly), always drink responsibly. You don’t want to end up like Fortunato, do you?
Now, let’s fill our glasses.
1. The Cask of Amontillado– Amontillado Sherry
“A thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge. You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that I gave utterance to a threat. At length I would be avenged…”
Speaking of Fortunato, why not drink some amontillado while reading the ultimate story of revenge and deceit? You can enjoy the very drink that led to Fortunato’s demise and feel like you’re right in the middle of The Cask of Amontillado, minus the whole being walled into a cellar, never to see the light of day again thing. Let’s avoid that part. As a matter of fact, avoid creepy cellars and catacombs at all costs while drinking amontillado, because it’s better to be safe than sorry.
2. The Raven– Pinot Noir
“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, / Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;”
Enjoy a glass of pinot noir while reading Edgar Allan Poe’s most famous piece of poetry. This wine is as dark as the night described by Poe in The Raven when he got scared out of his mind by that weird bird. It’s also an excellent wine for beginners, like The Raven for those unfamiliar with Poe’s work. So if you’re new to wines, Poe’s work, or both, try this pairing!
3. The Murders in the Rue Morgue– Malbec
“Of Madame L’Espanaye no traces were here seen; but, an unusual quantity of soot being observed in the fire-place, a search was made in the chimney, and (horrible to relate!) the corpse of the daughter, head downward, was dragged therefrom…”
Malbec is usually described as having a bit of a smoky aftertaste, which plays perfectly into this next story. In The Murders in the Rue Morgue, a mother and daughter are brutally murdered inside their fourth-floor apartment. While investigators easily find the mother’s body in the backyard, they make the disturbing discovery of the daughter’s body stuffed upside down in the chimney. Gross. By drinking a glass of malbec, you too can experience the grotesque horrors of this short story, all without being inside an actual chimney.
4. Annabel Lee– Chardonnay
“And neither the angels in Heaven above / Nor the demons down under the sea / Can ever dissever my soul from the soul / Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;”
Though still very much in line with Poe’s melancholy style, Annabel Lee is a bit lighter than the previous pieces discussed. Because of that, we’re pairing this poem of love and loss with a chardonnay. The sea plays a vital role in this poem, and a crisp, refreshing chardonnay reflects the cool sea breeze you can’t help but feel when reading Annabel Lee.
5. The Masque of the Red Death– Red Blend
“The figure was tall and gaunt, and shrouded from head to foot in the habiliments of the grave. The mask which concealed the visage was made so nearly to resemble the countenance of a stiffened corpse that the closest scrutiny must have had difficulty in detecting the cheat.”
It’s the only logical that we pair The Masque of the Red Death with a red blend. In The Masque of the Red Death, a bunch of rich people cram together in Prince Prospero’s castle and party it up in an attempt to avoid the sickness plaguing their country: the Red Death. Red blends are made up of different grapes blended together, so I like to imagine all the people stuffed in the castle are a whole bunch of different grapes. In this case though, the castle is my wine glass and the “plague” coming for the guests is just me, ready to drink all the wine with no regrets.
6. The Tell-Tale Heart– Red Zinfandel
“One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture — a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees — very gradually — I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.”
Red zinfandel is perfect for The Tell-Tale Heart for one specific reason- its alcohol content. According to numerous wine enthusiast sites, red zinfandels have a high alcohol content compared to the average glass of wine. This means it’ll take fewer glasses of wine to forget about your neighbor with that creepy blue eye that’s been putting you on edge. Instead of killing him to try and dispel the unease, have a glass of zinfandel.
7. The Fall of the House of Usher– Cabernet Sauvignon
“The disease which had thus entombed the lady in the maturity of youth, had left, as usual in all maladies of a strictly cataleptical character, the mockery of a faint blush upon the bosom and the face, and that suspiciously lingering smile upon the lip which is so terrible in death.”
Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied red wine with dark fruit flavors. These darker flavors perfectly match the dark, brooding atmosphere that plagues the Usher estate and its family. We promise your home won’t collapse into ruin if you have a glass of cabernet while reading The Fall of the House of Usher.
Take it up a notch and enjoy a glass of cabernet while watching The Haunting of Hill House writer Mike Flanagan’s The Fall of the House of Usher on Netflix (premiere date TBA)! Read more about the upcoming adaptation here.
8. Lenore– Sauvignon Blanc
“Leaving thee wild for the dear child that should have been thy bride— / For her, the fair and debonair, that now so lowly lies, / The life upon her yellow hair but not within her eyes— / The life still there, upon her hair— the death upon her eyes.”
Like Annabel Lee, Lenore centers around mourning and loss. Sauvignon blanc has a golden, yellow color to it, just like Lenore’s hair, making it the perfect companion for this poem. It’s a light-bodied wine that’s easy to drink while reading this reasonably short poem. Eagle-eyed fans of Edgar Allan Poe’s work will also notice that this is a significant poem. Why? Lenore is mentioned in The Raven!
9. The Pit and the Pendulum– Rioja
“Demon eyes, of a wild and ghastly vivacity, glared upon me in a thousand directions, where none had been visible before, and gleamed with the lurid lustre of a fire that I could not force my imagination to regard as unreal.”
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! That is unless you’re in The Pit and the Pendulum, where our main character is imprisoned in a Spanish dungeon, facing a slow and painful death. Enjoy this frightful tale of torture by sipping a glass of Spanish wine, like a rioja. You’ll feel like you’re right there in the story, minus the swinging pendulum of death.
And there you have it. So, what will you be reading and drinking tonight?