What wine to pair with your PBS show: Downton Abbey Wine releases new varieties

Would a British countess drink Chardonnay? Maybe if she was really a Yank.

Just in time for the fifth season of “Downton Abbey” (which started Jan. 4), Downton Abbey Wines is releasing two new varieties that will make up their Countess of Grantham Collection, a Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

Both wines, made from California grapes, are a nod to the character of American-born Lady Cora Crawley, played by Elizabeth McGovern on the popular PBS series.

The wines, both from Lodi, are billed as “bold-flavored” and “fruit-forward.” The Cabernet is described as having scents of ripe red cherries and subtle oak, with spicy notes and soft vanilla on the palate. The Chardonnay offers “lovely aromas” of tropical fruits and delicate oak, giving way to citrus flavors on a soft palate.

Last year, the company debuted two bottles of wine from France’s Bordeaux region: Blanc, a “light and crisp white blend,” and Claret, a “medium-bodied red.” French Bordeaux was “the wine of choice amongst the British nobility in Edwardian England,” Downton Abbey Wine’s website explains.


We have to admit, the simpering, Cincinnati-born Lady Cora (nee Levinson) is probably our least-favorite character on “Downton.” It kind of doesn’t surprise us that she would prefer quaffing Chardonnay while her to-the-manor-born offspring sip their claret.

For Downton Abbey Wines’ next outing, we would love to see wines based on Lady Cora’s three daughters, though: a Snobby Shiraz for the cold-and-white-as-ice Mary, a Pouty Port for the matrimonially challenged Edith and a Romantic Riesling for the marrying-down-and-dying-young Sybil.

The new wines will be available at select retailers (including World Market) across the United States this month and retail for $15. To check on the availability of the Countess of Grantham Collection, go to

What we are really waiting for is a Dowager Countess of Grantham Violet Crawley Gin to match the elderly matriarch’s dry wit. Just perfect with an acerbic twist of lime.