Mar 18 2009

Sharpen Your Pencils (and Palates) for MARCH MADNESS at Just Grapes!

By Brett Ashley McKenzie

Print out your Just Grapes bracket, grab your pencils, your stemware and favorite wines from Just Grapes, and prepare for our first-ever full-size Just Grapes March Madness Bracket Challenge!


We’ve taken 64 of our favorites and pitted them against one another in four regional showdowns: North America, South America, Europe, and Africa/Oceania.

Do you think your favorite wine has what it takes to pull off the big upsets and take home the trophy? Bring your completed bracket into the store by our March 26 March Madness Taste Off, and if your bracket is the closest to ours, you’ll take home an amazing prize: a $50 Tasting Card!!!

Will the big value wines beat the Wall Street Journal picks? Will the Merlots shake their Miles-spawned bad rap and pull some big upsets? Can Cava upset Champagne in the Europe Region? Will the widely-respected Maggie’s Staff Picks march all the way through to the Final Four?

Join us for our March Madness Taste Off on Thursday, March 26th from 6 PM-7:30 PM. Bring your friends, and test your tasting skills as you compete head-to-head in a single-elimination tasting tournament. We have ten new wines for you to try, and a raucous crowd to cheer you on as you stare down the competition! All are welcome, from beginner to expert, and the champion of “Just Grapes Nation” will take home an amazing prize! Click here for more Information on Taste Off.

Here’s the regional breakdown. To print and fill out your bracket, click HERE.

North America

Noteworthy Match-up: The popular, in-demand #3 O’Reilly’s takes on the tough-talking #14 Kung Fu Girl in a Washington State battle of the Pacific Northwest Rieslings!

#1-Seed 2005 Graziano Zinfandel (Mendocino, CA) takes on the #16-Seed 2006 Francis Berwyn Zinfandel (Paso Robles, CA)

#2-Seed Mount Eden Chardonnay 2006 (Edna Valley, CA) vs. #15-Seed 2006 Bennett Family Chardonnay “The Reserve” (CA)

#3-Seed 2007 O’Reilly’s Riesling (Yakima, WA) vs. #14-Seed 2007 K Vintners Kung Fu Girl, Riesling (WA)

#4-Seed 2007 Kings Ridge Pinot Noir (OR) vs. #13-Seed 2006 Adelaida Cellars Schoolhouse Pinot Noir (Paso Robles, CA)

#5-Seed 2006 Milbrandt Traditions Cabernet (WA) vs. #12-Seed 2006 Wall Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa, CA)

#6-Seed Everett Ridge Diablita Red Bend (Sonoma, CA) vs. #11-Seed Laurel Glen Red Blend 2006 (Lodi, CA)

#7-Seed 2006 VINUM PETS Petite Sirah (Clarksburg, CA) vs. #10-Seed 2006 Rosenblum Heritage Petite Sirah (San Francisco Bay area, CA)

#8-Seed 2006 Sagelands Merlot (Columbia Valley, WA) vs. #9-Seed Mackenzie Merlot (Sonoma County, CA)

South America

Noteworthy Match-up: The #1 Errazuris “Wild Ferment” is a natural choice, but does the #16 Urban Uco have enough local support to become the first 16-seed in tournament history to upset a #1?

#1-Seed 2007 Errazuriz “Wild Ferment” Chardonnay (Chile) vs. #16-Seed 2008 Urban Uco Torrontes (Argentina)

#2-Seed 2007 Molto Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina) vs. #15-Seed 2007 Susana Balbo Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina)

#3-Seed 2006 Bodega Los Cerrillos Finca el Peral Cabernet (Chile) vs. #14-Seed 2006 Cucao Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile)

#4-Seed 2006 Finca Sophenia Altosur Malbec (Argentina) vs. #13-Seed 2006 Bodega Colome Malbec (Calchaqui Valley, Argentina)

#5-Seed 2006 Palin Syrah (Limari Valley, Chile) vs. #12-Seed 2007 La Posta Bonarda (Mendoza, Argentina)

#6-Seed 2007 Familia Zuccardi Vida Organica Sparkling (Argentina) vs. #11-Seed 2007 Vina Quintay Clava Sauvignon Blanc (Chile)

#7-Seed 2005 Santa Ema Reserve Merlot (Maipo, Chile) vs. #10-Seed 2006 Ventisquero Merlot Grey (Chile)

#8-Seed 2007 Calina Carmenere (Valle de Maule, Chile) vs. 2007 Ben Marco Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina)


Noteworthy Match-up:

Perhaps the most likely upset in the tournament comes in the Battle of the Bubbly, where #13 Gran Sarao Brut Cava is poised to knock off the big-talking #4 Duval Leroy Cuvee Champagne.

#1-Seed 2004 Caronne Ste Gemme Haut-Medoc Bordeaux (France) vs. #16-Seed 2005 Chateau Teyssier St. Emilion Bordeaux (France).

#2-Seed 2006 Venica Pinot Grigio Collio Italy vs. #15-Seed 2007 Gustave Lorentz Pinot Gris (Alsace, France)

#3-Seed 2007 Dr. Heyden Riesling Oppenheimer Kabinett (Germany)) vs. #14-Seed 2006 Bex Riesling (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany)

#4-Seed NV Duval Leroy Cuvee “Paris” Champagne (France) vs. #13-Seed Gran Sarao Brut, Cava, NV (Penedes, Spain)

#5-Seed 2004 Roveresco Montepulciano d’ Abruzzo (Italy) vs. #12-Seed 2004 La Morciola Il Moro (Marche, Italy)

#6-Seed 2005 Jaume Mesquida Tinta Negre (Mallorca) vs. #11-seed 2006 Vina Caneiro Ribeira Sacra Mencia (Spain).

#7-Seed 2003 Domaine Ligneres Aric Corbierres (France) vs. #10-Seed 2007 Colombelle Red Blend (Gascony, France).

#8-Seed 2005 Monte Volpe Sangiovese (Italy) vs. #9-Seed 2006 Fattoria Saulina Sangiovese (Chianti, Italy).


Noteworthy Match-up: Let’s be honest, the Bong Bong/Woop Woop match-up would have even Dick Vitale going mad, bay-bee!

#1-Seed E & E 2002 Sparkling Shiraz (Australia) vs. #16-Seed Black Chook Sparkling Shiraz NV (Australia)

#2-Seed 2008 Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand) vs. #15-Seed 2007 Four Sisters Sauvignon Blanc (Australia).

#3-Seed 2006 Bong Bong Red Shiraz (New South Wales) vs. #14-Seed 2007 Woop Woop Shiraz (South Australia)

#4-Seed 2007 Bon Cap Organic Pinotage Robertson (South Africa) vs. 2006 Excelsior Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (South Africa)

#5-Seed 2003 Pretty Sally Cabernet (Victoria, Australia) vs. 2007 R Wines Evil Cabernet Sauvignon (South Australia)

#6-Seed 2006 Neudorf “Tom’s Block” Pinot Noir (New Zealand) vs. #11-Seed 2006 Bell Bird Bay Merlot Hawke’s Bay (New Zealand)

#7-Seed 2007 Gunn Estate Unoaked Chardonnay (New Zealand) vs. #10-Seed 2007 Trevor Jones “The Virgin” Chardonnay (Australia)

#8-Seed 2007 Bitch Grenache (South Australia) vs. #9-Seed 2007 Marquis Philips Sarah’s Blend (Australia).

Happy Tasting!

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