Game #4 - Wandering Grape and Resident Evil 5

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Mike Supple teams up with professional video game critic Chris Watters to talk wine and video games. Episode 4 throws you into the heart of bioterror-stricken Africa thanks to the Umbrella Corporation in "Resident Evil 5" on Xbox 360. Join us as we wander past piles of burning tires and can't help b
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Wine Paired

2007 Wandering Grape Cabernet Sauvignon - Shiraz - $11 Retail - Purchased at Target.


Mike Supple: I'm Mike Supple and you're watching SuppleWine TV. Got another episode of wine and video games for you, which of course means I've got my special guest, video game critic Chris Watters, here.

Chris Watters: That's me.

Mike: Chris, thanks for joining us.

Chris: Always a pleasure, Michael.

Mike: Alright. So how about busting us in to a little something with some nice action and intensity. What do you have for us today?

Chris: You're talking action, you're talking intensity, you're talking "Resident Evil 5." The latest installation in the long-running Resident Evil series really sort of takes a departure from the creepy, scary history of the game and it's just like all-out action, blasting zombies, or "zombies" - not sure exactly what they are. Dealing with bioterrorism, shall we say.

This one takes us to an unnamed country in Africa, where you go through shanty towns and marshlands and jungles, and explore and try to figure out what exactly is going on with this sinister Umbrella Corporation.

The really cool part about this game is that it's two player. You got the guy you're playing as, Chris Redfield, and then your partner, Sheva Alomar. So it's a co-op game. You can play with your buddy who's connected to Xbox Live somewhere else.

The game is just over the top action. All the cut scenes and the dramatic things are just way overblown, almost to a comical extent, but it's really fun and it fits the action really well. So let's take a look at some of the intense stuff that goes down.

I mean talk about blasting people's heads off [screen shot of guy getting head shot off], punching 'em [screenshot of woman getting punched], stomping them [screen shot of guy getting stomped], stabbing 'em [screenshot of tomatoes on a cart getting stabbed]. And then it's not just like a lurching zombie type thing. You get these full-on nasty, gross things sprouting out of people's necks. Which just makes you want to shoot them even more.

Mike: Since the game takes place in Africa, I figured we needed African wine. You might not think of Africa as a place that produces a whole ton of wine, but particularly down in South Africa they've been producing wine for a long time. You might not know too much about these wines, because due to apartheid and various other reasons they weren't exporting, or other countries were embargoing them so they weren't importing. But the French and the Dutch have been making wine down there for a long time.

What they're really known for is a red wine called Pinotage. This is a cross of two different grapes. It's not a blend of the wine - they actually took the grapes and crossed Pinot Noir and Cinsault and made this grape called Pinotage. It's got a body like a Pinot Noir and generally has burnt rubber chicken aromas and flavors to it. I've had many of them, and it always has some of that going on in there somewhere. For that reason, it's not getting as popular as it could be. They do make some of the best Chenin Blanc [a white wine] you can get outside of France, down in South Africa.

Since we're playing a video game set in Africa I figured we'd try a South African wine. I'm not a big fan of Pinotage, so we decided to try something else. We're going with the 2007 Wandering Grape Cabernet Sauvignon - Shiraz. Like Australia, down in South Africa they call Syrah, Shiraz. We're going to give it a shot and see what it's got going on in there. [Screen shot of burning tires in the video game.]

Well, like the game showed with the burning rubber tires, I am definitely picking up some of that in this wine. It's not over the top. There's fruit underneath it - some blackberry and black cherry - but it does smell like burning rubber...for what that's worth.

I've had a bunch of South African wines. This has that flavor to it, which is definitely a tell-tale sign of South African wines. It's not as strong in this one as it is in some wines, but it might not be particularly pleasant to you. If that's not your thing you're not going to like this, but if that's something you think adds to the complexity and nuances, it can work, because there is some nice dark fruit there that comes in and around the burnt rubber. So hey, whatever!

It does go well with the game. Running around in Africa. Running through the shanty areas, running past piles of burning tires and things, it might really make you feel like you're in the game you're playing. It's got some dark fruit intensity. You're blowing people's heads off, you're dancing around in the smoke. This might just be the wine to go right in that vein.

[Screen shot of Chris destroying oak barrels.]

Chris: I think if you age wine in tires it doesn't...

Mike: Well if you hadn't busted up all the barrels they could have had some to age the wine in.

Chris: Well if they hadn't stored the helpful ammunition and gold stashes in there I wouldn't have had to. No, you know what, I would have had to anyway. That's how I roll.

Mike: Let's just drink and play.

Remember: Video games are for all ages; wine is not. Obey the law; enjoy responsibly.

Taking down a creature in Resident Evil 5 for the Xbox.

Taking down a creature in Resident Evil 5 for the Xbox.

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