A Wine Pairing Guide for True Crime Lovers

wine and true crime pairings

9 Wine and True Crime Pairings

Gather round, murderinos. If you are obsessed with true crime stories and want the perfect glass of wine to pair with your favorite podcast, documentary, or drama, this guide for 9 wine and true crime pairings is for you!

In the last decade, the true crime genre has exploded. Thankfully, the whole notion of reading, watching, and listening to stories of grisly murders, unsolved mysteries, doomsday cults, and survival stories has become more mainstream in recent years.

So, those of us who’ve been quietly going down Reddit rabbit holes looking for new clues or reading Ann Rule under the covers late at night can finally step out of the shadows and make friends with other true crime fanatics. And what better way to bond than over a glass of wine?

Whether you’ve been watching Forensic Files for decades or just recently got hooked on the My Favorite Murder podcast, this guide will help you pick a wine to go with your favorite true crime obsession.

Image Courtesy of Serial

1. Serial 

NPR’s Serial kicked off the true crime podcast craze. Since each season of this podcast takes you on a journey through a new saga, you’ll want a wine that also has some variation. Sauvignon Blanc is a white wine that can taste pretty different depending on where it’s made, and you’ll find it all over the world. Some varieties have more citrus and stone fruit notes, while others taste almost tropical. The signature “green streak” in Sauvignon Blanc can taste more like green bell pepper or freshly cut grass. 

Bright Cellars Azuli Sauvignon Blanc
Bright Cellars’ Azuli Sauvignon Blanc

We like pairing this true crime podcast with a glass of Azuli Sauvignon Blanc. The green apple and peach notes make this a unique wine and true crime pairing.

Image courtesy of the NY Times

2. The Jinx

HBO’s popular documentary series, The Jinx, tells the story of Robert Durst who – among other things – is currently on trial for the murder of Susan Berman. This docu-series calls for a wine with as much mystery as Durst himself. Enter Syrah, a bold red wine with notes of plum and chocolate. Just as Durst rented an apartment under a false name, Syrah also sometimes goes by another name: Shiraz. There’s also some disagreement about where this red wine grape comes from. While it has a long, documented history in France, legend has it that Syrah came from Syracuse, a city in Sicily, and was brought to France by a Roman emperor circa 250 AD.

Silverscape Syrah Bright Cellars
Bright Cellars’ own Silverscape Syrah

This wine and true crime pairing goes with a glass of Silverscape Syrah. This bold red wine has flavor notes of leather, raspberry, and baking spices.

Image Courtesy of Hulu

3. The Act 

The Act is a dramatization of Gypsy Rose & Dee Dee Blancharde, whose story was made famous in the documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest. Patricia Arquette gives a breathtaking performance as the overly protective mother with a dark secret. This Hulu series pairs well with Grenache, an equally deceptive wine with flavors of candied fruit and cinnamon. When you look at Grenache in the glass, you may think that it’s a light-bodied red because of its light hue and semi-translucent appearance. When you taste it, however, you’ll see that it’s more substantial than it appears: Its moderately high ABV gives it the taste and weight of a medium-bodied wine.

Image Courtesy of Stitcher

4. Uncover: Escaping NXIVM 

Season 1 of the CBC podcast Uncover takes you inside the NXIVM cult and tells the story of how one woman managed to escape. When binge-listening to this podcast, you’re going to want a glass of Merlot. Merlot is often overshadowed by Cabernet Sauvignon – similar to how the dark underbelly of NXIVM was masked by its “personal development” façade. Additionally, Merlot has bold notes of raspberry, milk chocolate, and vanilla, followed by a smooth finish – meaning that it’s gone without a trace.

wine and true crime pairings
Bright Cellars Jetbird Merlot

We like to pair this true crime podcast with a glass of Jetbird Merlot. This red wine has flavor notes of baking spices, raspberry, and cherry.

wine and true crime pairings
Image courtesy of Amazon

5. The Assassination of Gianni Versace

The Netflix dramatization of Gianni Versace’s last days calls for a wine that can capture both the warm, lush setting of Miami Beach, Florida – where the murder took place – as well as the cold-blooded nature of the killing. Malbec – a red wine that’s grown in both cool-climate France and warm-climate Argentina – is a perfect pairing. You could also go with Sangiovese – a medium-bodied red with notes of red cherry, roasted tomatoes, and espresso – in honor of Versace’s native Italy.

Bright Cellars' Acquaforte Sangiovese
Bright Cellars’ Acquaforte Sangiovese

For this wine and true crime pairing go with a glass of Acquaforte Sangiovese. This Italian wine has flavor notes of cherry, terra cotta clay, and dried herbs.

Image courtesy of Criminal

6. Criminal 

This podcast is perfect for those who like a mix of true crime stories, lighter “crimes” and ghost stories. If you love listening to the calming, dulcet tones of Phoebe Judge, pour yourself a glass of Pinot Noir. This light-bodied red wine with notes of raspberry and clove and makes a great companion to any crime story.

Hazelaire Pinot Noir
Bright Cellars’ Hazelaire Pinot Noir

The perfect Pinot Noir for this true crime podcast would be the Hazelaire Pinot Noir. The flavor notes of earth, black, cherry, and vanilla go perfect with this light-heard nightmare.

Image courtesy of Inside Edition

7. I’ll be Gone in the Dark 

HBO’s docu-series I’ll be Gone in the Dark explores Michelle McNamara’s hunt for the Golden State Killer (which she documents in her book) and her own tragic death. This series is best paired with a lighter wine to help balance out the dark subject matter. A light and crisp Albariño does just the trick. This wine will brighten the mood with flavor notes of lemon zest, saline, and zingy acidity. 

wine and true crime pairings - Ted Bundy
Image courtesy of Netflix

8. Confessions with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes 

What is it about Ted Bundy that we find so intriguing? Plenty of stories have been told about this wolf in sheep’s clothing, and this Netflix docu-series finally lets you hear from the man (sorry, monster) himself, since Confessions with a Killer features archival footage and interviews with Bundy. This series calls for an equally dark and mysterious wine, which is why it pairs well with Zinfandel. This bold red wine has jammy fruit notes and a hint of smoke and spice. 

Cabin 5 Zinfandel - wine and true crime pairings
Bright Cellars’ Cabin 5 Zinfandel

Sit down and attempt to relax while watching this docu-series with a glass of Cabin 5 Zinfandel. The flavor notes of black pepper, raspberry, and pomegranate are a great pairing for this true crime series.

My favorite murder podcast - wine and true crime pairings
Image courtesy of Stitcher

9. My Favorite Murder 

Finally, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark’s hugely popular podcast My Favorite Murder combines the fun dynamic of two best friends just gabbing with a range of gripping true crime stories. Naturally, this podcast pairs well with a well-loved wine. Pour yourself a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon – a full-bodied red wine with notes of dark fruit and baking spices – when listening to these ladies, and remember: Stay Sexy, and Don’t Get Murdered.

Worst Evils Cab - wine and true crime pairings
Bright Cellars’ own Worst Evils Cabernet Sauvignon

Pair this podcast with a glass of Bright Cellars’ Worst Evils Cabernet Sauvignon. The flavor notes of baking spices, green pepper, and ripe berries pairs nicely with these girls playful banter.

In Vino Finito

Did we miss your all time favorite doc or true crime series? Email us and we can help you pick the perfect wine and true crime pairing. The right wine can heighten your enjoyment of a story, and may even help you avoid some nightmares!

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Bright Cellars

Our staff is full of passionate wine lovers. With our amazing sommeliers at the helm, we’ve been schooled on all things wine. We came together to write this article, in hopes of spreading a little wine-ducation with you.

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