The defining characteristic of the most preferable wine for imbibing while viewing epic, come-from-behind NFL playoff battles between hated sports rivals (aside from the wine having been paid for by someone else, that is), would be that the wine is very good without being too good.
[ I should note before we go any farther down field, so to speak, that if you’re a Baltimore Ravens fan I am most likely about to lose you as a friend. Forever. BUT… if you’re a fan of Argentine reds, we may become fast friends after this. If you’re fan of both the Ravens and Argentine reds, prepare to be conflicted. ]
The main point about the best NFL playoff wines was driven home to me via Facebook in a chat with Yair Haidu (founder of the excellent www.haidu.net):
“…shouldn’t be a complicated wine. the mind has to be fully devoted to the game…”
While a good beer of course fills the NFL playoff imbibing bill quite admirably, sometimes even the most die-hard beer fans, much like the play-calling of hall-of-fame defensive coordinators, just need to change things up once in a while. And it goes without saying that no self-respecting wine geek would stoop to drinking plonk during an NFL playoff game, just as no self-respecting Steelers fan would be caught dead wearing Ravens purple.
When it comes to NFL-viewing, distractions (too good or too bad), are killers: missing the big play as it unfolds live, because you have your nose too long in the glass, is likely to give you a gut-wrenching “got to be the sickest man in America” feeling (sort of like a high-priced, free-agent wide receiver dropping the type of key, clutch, do-or-die-time pass for which his team hired him in the first place).
So anyway… for the big games, what wine should it be?…
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When it comes to tasting wine in a critical context (critical as in “for the purpose of reviewing potential and quality” and not critical as in “life-threateningly-important” – though way, way, way too many people treat it that way), I’m often reminded of the phrase made (in)famous decades ago in wine TV commercials by an aging (and rapidly expanding) Orson Welles.
No, I don’t mean “Mmmmyyyyaaaaaargh…The French!…”
I mean “wine before its time.”
The deeper I go into this Going Pro rabbit hole, the more often I find myself tasting a fine wine (several) years before “its time” – what I would consider its optimal drinking age. It’s something that came to mind while I was reading (and subsequently commenting on) a recent blog post by Wine Enthusiast’s Steve Heimoff, when he mused that it’s a treat for wine reviewers when they actually get an appreciable amount of time to enjoy a wine at leisure (a point with which I agree, and one I can appreciate given that I’ve found myself in similar circumstances recently – though as a general rule I eschew tasting large volumes of wine quickly and, as mentioned before on these virtual pages, I’m not interested in going that route for 1WineDude.com).
So, what is a wine’s optimal drinking age, then?…
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In the latest podcast installment here on 1WineDude.com, I interview Alan York, an international consultant on Biodynamic viticulture and farming, who I met last year when visiting Benziger (one of Alan’s clients).
Alan is probably best known as the consultant who is overseeing the Biodynamics conversion of mega rock star Sting’s vineyard area in Tuscany.
Despite being fully immersed into the world of Biodynamics, Alan has a pretty laid-back, live-and-let-live approach to BioD farming in general. Except when it comes to talking about all-out attacks on BioD, particularly winemaker Stu Smith’s blog Biodynamics Is A Hoax.
Alan talks to me about his work with Sting, his views on the differences between Organically- and Biodynamically-farmed wines, how to explain Biodynamics to the layperson, and explains why he’s flummoxed that Biodynamics would come under attack in the first place (though he certainly acknowledges its inherent strangeness).
It should be another fun opportunity to discuss an always hot-button, powder-keg topic on the virtual pages of 1WD.
Next week… I interview Stu Smith himself to get the opposing viewpoint. Stay tuned…
1WineDude Radio: International Consultant Alan York Talks Biodynamics