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Football watching wines

As I write this and think about Super Bowl weekend, I need wines to cheer me up, warm me up and all go well with a very small party – and football food.

Quite a challenge.

I console myself with the fact that “our” team – formed by staff at the Indian Packing Company in Green Bay, Wisconsin 100 years ago – made it to the semi-finals again. And what do I know about cold?

I think of my in-laws, who settled in this frigid land of lakes many years ago. They would think that the 48F in our yard last weekend was positively balmy.

Shortly I will have to concentrate on the appropriate wines for watching England and Italy battle for the honour of racing New Zealand for the America’s Cup, but for now I feel that the warmth of California trapped in a bottle would certainly be appropriate on this important sports weekend in the USA.

Bogle, in the town of Clarksburg, will be our first stop as I consider a bottle of 2017 Bogle Cabernet Sauvignon. Let me say for a start that this family winery is certified as a California sustainable winery. Their wine is deeply extracted with cherry and bright cassis that is swiftly followed by red currant jam and black pepper. American oak adds toasty coconut and spices. A hint of sweet pipe tobacco and soft tannins finish it off.

Wine Enthusiast awards it 88/100 and comments: “Generous fruit, meat and oak aromas lead to full, rich and ripe flavours in this full-bodied, spicy and bold wine. A smoky quality integrates nicely with tones of black cherry and blackberry jam.” $22.90 (Stock #8039).

2017 Beaulieu Vineyards (BV) Coastal Cabernet Sauvignon has been one of our “workhorse wines” that has been very popular with “by the glass” programmes for hotels and restaurants. Keeping in mind all that has happened, it should come as no surprise that we still have considerable stocks.

The price has been reduced to $14.90 and this makes it a fine buy for that casual glass at home. It is dark, round and quite unctuous with ripe blackberries and dark Bing cherries accented by hints of coco, coffee and spice. (Stock #7081).

The Benzinger family in Sonoma was one of the early pioneers of certified sustainable farming 35 years ago because they believed that the best way to grow delicious, exceptional grapes was through the cycles of nature. The sheep, cows, birds and butterflies on their land create a vibrant, natural ecosystem.

The 2016 Benziger Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon begins with a pleasing aroma full of ripe fruit, lots of spice and touches of vanilla and chocolate. The wine tastes smooth and is loaded with tart and juicy dark fruit that is a touch on the sweet side. Oak influence, mostly in the form of more vanilla and chocolate, along with liquorice and a touch of green pepper (pyrazine) lead into the long, dry finish.

In California a wine only needs to contain 75 per cent of a variety to be labelled as that variety so I’d be willing to bet that this cabernet has a good percentage of other varieties blended in as well. Either way, it’s a solid wine. $29.70 (Stock #6647).

As we watch two of the best quarterbacks and their teams battle for the Vince Lombardi Trophy (named after the renowned Green Bay Packers coach), we well might be sipping 2017 Louis Martini Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon, with our Johnsonville brats, that are made in a town I have passed through often on my journey north in Wisconsin. This cabernet is a fresh, fruit-driven wine with a welcoming round mouthfeel of ripe notes of blackberry, blueberry, and red plum. There are hints of cocoa and oak on the finish.

James Suckling gives it a fine 92/100 and claims: “[It is dense red with berries, chocolate and some spice and toffee.” He also finds, “full body, juicy finish, delicious now”. Decanter magazine rates it 90/100 and says: “Fresh cabernet berry fruits, with lots of pine-forest lift and notes of chocolate, vanilla and clove spice. Vivid and poised.” These are high scores for a wine that is available for $29.45 (Stock #8681).

Maybe your team is playing. As some of the finest wines in the world originate in Napa Valley and David Ramey is one of the most talented and respected winemakers in California, you may be happier with a bottle of 2016 Ramey Claret. This is a blend of 52 per cent cabernet sauvignon, 26 per cent merlot, 12 per cent malbec, 8 per cent syrah and 2 per cent petit verdot.

You may wonder what syrah is doing in a classic blend of the grapes that originated in Bordeaux. I will let you in on a little secret, and an old Bordeaux practice, of occasionally adding in a little of this Rhone varietal to beef up the mix.

Wine Enthusiast gives this wine a 92/100 and writes: “Together they (these grapes) interweave into a cohesive whole of clove, black pepper and meaty intensity and integrated oak. Soft and round on the palate, it pleases at an unbelievable price.” *Editors’ Choice* (4/2019). I should stress that by unbelievable, they mean very reasonable for a fine Napa wine that is ready to drink now. $53.45 (Stock #6392).

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail mrobinson@bll.bm or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554) and Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355). Visit www.wineonline.bm

The Super Bowl: not just about football and beer

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Published February 05, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated February 03, 2021 at 1:23 pm)

Football watching wines

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