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Football watching food and wine

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Super Sunday: Of course the appropriate wines are needed to accompany “the thrill of the grill”

I remember so well a summer day back in 1977 when a lovely young lady was showing me the land where historians tell us her ancestors settled some 10,000 years ago. We drive into a fairly small city on the shores of a colourfully named bay, and with reverence she points to a sports stadium. At that time I had not heard of Curly Lambeau, who back in 1919 asked his boss at the Indian Packing Company if he would be willing to buy team shirts for his fellow meatpackers and allow them to use the company sports field to play football. The sport caught on in the industrial towns of the Midwest and just look at what it has become.

The Super Bowl was in their grasp this week and the Green Bay Packers website now asks the question, “How long can you feel sad?” Like most of their more than 360,000 small shareholders, we are ready to watch Super Bowl XLIX, so we dust ourselves off, look forward to a great 2015 season and plan to party!

Of course we need the appropriate wines to accompany “the thrill of the grill” — Johnsonville Brats from Sheboygan Falls, a town situated not far south of Green Bay. You can buy them in many supermarkets here.

Some of you are considering beer of course, but I am thinking Ravenswood Old Vines Zinfandel 2013 from Lodi. Their motto of “No Wimpy Wines” suits the food and the mood of the occasion. Joel Peterson (the Godfather of Zin) built a garage operation in 1976 to the number one producer of Zinfandel worldwide.

This Zinfandel is traditionally blended with about 20 per cent Petite Sirah, another full bodied grape. The wine is bursting with delicious red cherry and plum and it achieves weight without aggressive tannins. I will certainly enjoy Ravenswood 2013 Lodi Zinfandel with Brats and its cost is $17.90.

If you prefer a white then why not stick with the birthplace of Bratwurst in Germany and try a Schloss (castle) Vollrads Riesling from 2011? The winemaker suggests Asian spices such as curry, ginger or lemon grass and thinks that the natural sweetness and perfect acidity will stand up to strong flavours.

The Johnsonville Sausage Company has tried a variety of wines with their Brats and two of their top three choices were Riesling. Schloss Vollrads is one of the oldest wine estates in the world with documents going back to 1211. Their delightful 2011 Riesling is as good as they can get, which one might expect after 800 years of experience — $24.45.

At a small gathering with friends to watch an important game recently, we just had to serve BLTs made from the best bacon I have ever tasted, maybe even the best in the world. You can find it at Miles Market here, or to go to its source in the tiny hamlet of Wittenberg. One must drive some 40 miles west of Green Bay, and incidentally go past another little village that bears the name of one family, a name that fortunately for me, one member agreed to change to Robinson many years ago.

Applewood smoked bacon from the Nueske family will be on the Super Bowl Sunday menu for us.

So how do we match swine and wine? As Syrah is often described as having a bacon-fat like taste I’m thinking that I want 2012 Syrah from the Cline Winery in Sonoma. Their winemaker Charlie is just the friendliest fellow and his vineyard practices of no toxic chemicals for pest and weed control and the use of natural compost teas, crushed minerals and ground up oyster shells to enhance the land are so biologically good.

This Cline Syrah with its deep red-purple colour in the glass explodes with supple tannins and fresh blueberries. The cost of the wine is $17.65. Enjoy the game!

This column is a paid for advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Michael Robinson is Director of Wine at Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. He can be contacted at mrobinson@bll.bm or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn have stores in Hamilton (Front Street East. 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George’s (York Street, 297-0409). A selection of their wines, beers and spirits are available online at www.wineonline.bm.