Pairing Wine With 1980s Action TV Shows Airwolf


My mom will tell you, this one was one of my favorites.

That helicopter was so. bad. ASS. Airwolf was a secret military helicopter that could break the speed of sound (even going as fast as Mach 2!) thanks to its jet thrusters. Its cabin could be pressurized, allowing for a maximum ceiling of 100,000 feet, and it was equipped with enough guns, bombs, missiles, and defensive measures to bring down al-Qaeda on its own (oh, wherefore hast thou forsaken us, Airwolf?!).

It also cost a billion dollars. In 1984. It would be twice as much now.

But the guy who flew it played the cello and was named Stringfellow. Yeah, sure, his last name was an appropriately-badass Hawke, and his boss had an eyepatch permanently attached to his eyeglasses, and there was the girl who loved to hate him and hated to love him and vice-versa, AND he had a fat, wise, and wisecracking sidekick in Dominic, played by the inimitable Ernest Borgnine.

But still. Stringfellow? The cello?

Nostalgia break:

So what wine goes with Airwolf? The secret lies in the dichotomy of our intrepid hero, Stringfellow Hawke. The show, its namesake flying machine, and its protagonist were all simultaneously a bit dark, a bit refined, and a whole lotta badass.

Just like Barolo.

Barolo, the nebbiolo-based red wine from northern Italy’s Piedmont, is a personal favorite. Always extremely dark in the glass, and always able to kick a little ass, the refinement and elegance of the best Barolos cannot be questioned. The Barolo was one of the first wines to truly pique my interest in Italy as a whole, and Airwolf was one of the first shows to really grab my imagination as a kid. I still love action and sci-fi films and TV, and I attribute that love, in many ways, to Airwolf.1

Airwolf might not be Italian, but Stringfellow Hawke had a love of opera and Ernest Borgnine is the son of Italian immigrants. Good enough on that note.

But it’s the dark, elegant, and yet totally kick-ass shared nature of Barolo and Airwolf that makes the pairing for me.

Some Barolos I can recommend:

  1. To be fair, The A-Team, Magnum, P.I., and Dukes of Hazzard are also pretty responsible

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