Showing posts with label sports. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sports. Show all posts

Monday, February 14, 2022

Super Bowl-Winning Wine: Los Carneros

A publicist rushed a wine to my doorstep last week, one that was bound to help my hometown team win the Super Bowl.  Their name was written all over the label, even if it was in Spanish.

Los Carneros means the Rams, so you can see why there was urgency in getting it to me.  Somebody must have known that the Los Angeles Rams would need a little help in Super Bowl LVI.  The help came just in time, as the game went right down to the wire, with Los Carneros coming out on top.  

The wine came from an outfit called The Vice, and they say it is a single-vineyard bottling made from Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, sustainably grown in the Carneros sub-appellation.  Aging took place over 22 months in French and American oak barrels - one of each, it's a limited release.  Alcohol tips the scale at 14.3% abv and the wine retails for $69.  Oh, and it's a good luck charm for the Rams.

The dark wine has a beautiful nose full of dark fruit and oak spice, even a little nuttiness in there.  The palate is deep and rich, and a little bit herbal.  Plums, blackberries, blueberries  Tannins are firm, but the wine sips great if you aren't cooking steak tonight.  If you are, more the better.  

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Monday, January 31, 2022

Not Government Wine

My friendly neighborhood publicist informs me that the San Francisco 49ers are the oldest professional sports team in the Bay Area.  They were founded in 1946 by San Francisco native Tony Morabito and have provided countless unforgettable plays along with five Lombardi Trophies for their fans.  This year, the scrapbook is missing one game, but there is something in which they can drown their sorrows.

The Federalist brand - a Terlato wine - is the "preferred wine sponsor of the San Francisco 49ers," according to my publicist friend.  The PR department promises that The Federalist, a Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon, pairs well with "any tailgate specialty."  We can only assume that the promise is good even if the tailgates aren't on norcal trucks.

The 2017 Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon was reportedly created to honor the man who many consider to be the first American, Ben Franklin.  Franklin was a passionate man who helped draft the Declaration of Independence, campaigned for colonial unity during the American Revolution and they say he liked his wine.  His likeness appears on the label.  Their other wines feature George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, the Statue of Liberty and the bald eagle.  The winery bills itself as "America's craft wine."

The Federalist is a bold blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, with splashes of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Sirah and Sangiovese.  Aging took place over 15 months, in 35% new French oak.  Alcohol hits a moderate 13.5% abv and the retail price is a reasonable $18.

This wine is medium dark in color and has dark notes on the nose - plums, blueberries, cassis.  The oak aspect of the aromas is not overpowering, but it is definitely there.  The palate tastes somewhat sweet, with fruit and oak spice showing right up front.  A savory angle comes in later - forest floor and minerals, mostly.  The tannins are workable, but not overbearing.  This wine won't make Napa vintners run scared, but it is a pleasant bottling and a pretty good everyday wine. 

Monday, June 4, 2018

Basketball Meets Wine In Israel

Former NBA star Amar'e Stoudemire has a thing for Israel.  He also has a thing for wine.  Stoudemire finished his career playing basketball for Hapoel Jerusalem.  He owns a chunk of the team and won a championship with them in 2017.  He had been in talks for three years about making wine in Israel before moving there and grabbing his chance. 

The Stoudemire Grand Reserve Capernaum is produced by the Tulip Winery, from grapes grown in its vineyards in Kfar Tikva, in Israel's north.  It carries the Galilee appellation.  The wine's label points out that Noah was the first recorded viticulturist.  After the flood, the good book says, "he planted a vineyard."

Half Cabernet Sauvignon and half Petit Verdot, Capernaum is aged for 24 months in French oak barrels, hits 14% abv and is priced as lofty as a slam dunk, at $100 per bottle.  It's kosher, and is distributed by the Royal Wine Company

This Israeli wine could fool me into thinking it was from Napa Valley.  The nose shows black fruit, a bit of tar, sweet oak and a touch of graphite.  The palate is bold and very Napa-esque on its own.  The darkness flows through the flavor profile as with the aromas.  It's a rich and heady wine that probably needs a bit of time to show its full potential.  The young tannins are toothy and beg for red meat off the grill. 

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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Super Bowl Wine

Did this about 7 years ago. The landscape has probably changed some since then.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Jeff Gordon Cellars Joie de Vivre Napa Valley 2008

The Twitter Tasting for Jeff Gordon Cellars' Joie de Vivre red wine was as keenly anticipated as some of the NASCAR races in which Gordon has driven.  Leading up to the October 24, 2012 event, participants chimed in with race-themed tweets.

"Waiting at the starting line," "Hope it's great from start to finish," "Buckle up for a great race to the finish" were just a few of the NASCAR-inspired comments beforehand.  "Engines are warmed up... 3, 2, 1, decant!"  One taster tweeted that he didn't have a pit crew to help him refill the glass.

When the green flag finally fell, it was off to the races with a red blend adorned with one of auto racing's most famous names.  Gordon is a four-time series champ, and he takes his wine just as seriously as his driving.  Cross country appeal applies here.  Gordon's wine may be made in Sebastopol, but its business address is in Charlotte.

The Jeff Gordon Joie de Vivre is a mix of separately vinified Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.  The Cab hails from Corbett Vineyard, Spring Mountain, the Merlot comes from Solari Vineyard in Calistoga, while the Syrah is take from Yountville's Page Nord Vineyard.  The mountain Cab and valley-floor Merlot are aged in French and American oak, while the Syrah sees only French.  30% is new oak and 70% is oak that is two or three years old.  The wine ages in barrels for 20 months.

JDV takes the fast track in alcohol, with 14.5% abv number.  Just over 250 cases were made, the usual amount for a Jeff Gordon wine.

The winemaker for the 2008 vintage was August "Joe" Briggs.  His nephew, Jesse, took over the helm in 2011 with his uncle consulting.  The 2012 Indy International Wine Competition made room for NASCAR by awarding Joie de Vivre a gold medal.  The wine retails for $61 per bottle.

Very dark with an extremely aromatic nose, this wine makes its presence known from across the room.  Aromas of blackberries and blueberries have a slight herbal angle underneath and a spicy, brambly scent peeking out.  On the palate, dark fruit and spices dominate.  Despite all the months in oak, there is a very nice freshness to it, and the tannins are adequate without being too forceful.  It's a velvety smooth sip, with a final lap that goes on well past the checkered flag.

Joie de Vivre has a rustic feel, but its elegance ultimately wins out.  Tasters in the Twitter stream (#JeffGordonJDV) all seemed to love the wine, and experienced a variety of flavors as the wine opened up a bit.  One taster found a “sweet tobacco” note appealing, while another got Christmas spice.  Black cherry and leather also appeared.  There were plenty of comments about the “great finish” - another racing metaphor, which is entirely accurate.

Jeff Gordon himself made an appearance under his Twitter handle, @JeffGordonWeb.  Gordon commented the JDV “is my favorite wine that we produce because it’s smooth & balanced. Goes with many foods.”  One taster wanted to know how involved Gordon is in the winemaking process.  “A lot of time talking w/ Joe & Jesse. Regularly communicate. Go 2 CA when we can. Great team.

Will Gordon have a vineyard of his own someday?  “That’s a dream for 1 day but it has it's pros & cons. I’m in 4 long haul, so we'll see.”  On the subject of celebrity branding of wine, Gordon says, “Think u get what u put into it. Dont agree w/ putting a name on a bottle & filling w/ juice.

Another question dealt with whether he gifts his wine at Christmas.  “We absolutely gift @JeffGordonWine to our closest friends. @TeamHendrick employees are big fans of it as well.”  There was no indication as to whether the questioner made it onto Gordon’s Christmas list.

After tasting Jeff Gordon’s JDV, the participants in the Twitter event were in agreement that Gordon made a wise choice when he hired August Briggs as winemaker.  How did that come about?  “Lots of research & word of mouth when looking 4 quality boutique winemaker. His name came up a lot.

The Twitter stream moved at an incredibly fast pace during the tasting - no surprise, I suppose, given Gordon’s main job.  JDV was so well received by the tasters that Gordon should do a donut in the infield grass.

The limited production of Joie de Vivre means it’s not easy to find, at least in brick and mortar fashion.  You can always order from the winery’s website.  It is recommended that you give this wine some time to breathe, so that the aromas and flavors have an opportunity to come forward.  Some of us in the event had the wine open for hours, but it seemed to be the consensus that 20-30 minutes in a decanter would be sufficient.

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