Aug 20 2010

Bear-rel Tasting

Understanding wine is probably a bit like learning an NFL playbook: Even if you have the basics down, there are dozens of variables and changes that always bring something new to the situation—it’s a constant learning curve, and very few can master it.

While wine education isn’t unpleasant like… say… Jay Cutler trying to learn Mike Martz’s new offensive schemes, true knowledge of wine does require lots of practice for your palate. That means opening unfamiliar bottles and varietals, and in short, getting out of your comfort zone.

As the Bears get ready to kick off their first 2010 pre-season home game on Saturday against the Oakland Raiders, now is a great time to practice your Xs and Os—or BordeauXs and MammolOs. Here at Just Grapes, we can get you started with these “plays”, and help improve your “skills” all season long:

Drink this when Jay Cutler tosses a Hail Mary:

2007 Roots Run Deep “Educated Guess” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California [$17.59]
85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot. Rich, ripe and focused with juicy blackberry and cherry fruit, cocoa and hints of mint all tied together with a creamy French vanilla middle and a finish that in a word is… lingering. Educated Guess fills all the requirements that a serious cabernet lover is looking for, while remaining fun, approachable, and food friendly!

Drink this every time Robbie Gould kicks a field goal:

2007 Trevor Jones “Boots” Grenache, Barossa Valley, South Australia [$12.39]

Lithe, polished and nicely focused, with mulberry and cherry fruit against a slightly peppery background. Drink now through 2011. 1,000 cases made.

Drink this watching Olin Kreutz during a midfield running play:

2008 “Block 50” Pinot Grigio, Central Ranges, New South Wales, Australia [$7.99]
Block 50 aspires simply to be fun to drink and to deliver refreshing, crisp, compelling acidity, with palate richness and a bit of spiciness. A bit of Pinot Grigio and a bit of Alsace. Old and new. Lifted lemon curd, a pithy nose, and lots of ripe honeysuckle. Slight nutty and yeasty complexity, a bright lemony finish with crisp, layered, and balanced acid.

Drink this wishing Thomas Jones was back in a Bear uniform:

2009 “Chemistry” White Blend, Oregon [$12.79]

From Chehalem, this “everything but the kitchen sink” blend of white grapes is bold and yet balanced, with a tropical component to the panoply of stone fruit and mineral notes. A fantastic sipping wine and a great alternative to Conundrum.

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