Cabernet/Pinot/NFL Showdown: Hello September!

Saddle Peak Sorbet served on ice block

Saddle Peak Sorbet served on ice block

Which MINDSET will dominate? Big bold Napa Cabernet, New and Old World Pinot Noir or the NFL season debut? If I hear one more network announcer ask an athlete about his mindset I will slash my wrists with a rusty cork puller from Safeway. While we LOVE college football it seems the nation loves the National Football Greed. If Dotoré did not buy into a season long pool we would have zero reason to track any of it.

It is remarkable how many comparisons tBoW sees between the worlds of pro football and big league wine. What if pro teams made wines? Of course they would never make the wine. They would outsource it. Like Ditka. We love red Burgundy. Exotic, unpredictable, unconventional; especially in the New World world of Big Cabs and fruit forward Pinot Noirs from Santa Barbara. By contrast [ed. what’s wrong with “having said that?”], the great Burgs break the mold in every way.

the NFL used to play in black and blue

the NFL used to play in black and blue

Take the 2013 Philadelphia Eagles! Please. Now that Chip Kelly has brought his New World 10 second huddle PAC 12 Oregon Ducks offensive machine to staid Old World Philly everyone is aghast at how much fun pro football can be! Like what Anne Gros with staid Echezaux fruit runs the competition off the field. See below for Burg style we are not used to tasting.

Even Old School dud teams like the Detroit Lions have taken note on how to spruce up the New Old World of Napa… like Barnett Vineyards. The Barnett Old Napa World program is better than ever. As are the Lions now that they have Reggie Bush to complement Calvin Johnson. Spread the field with Calvin and give Reggie room to move. Barnett showed what they can do with an 11 y.o. bottle reviewed below.

As Chris “Boomer” Berman – the only guy who can make Brent Musberger interesting – might say… Let’s get to the tastes!!

barnett02WEB2002 Barnett Vineyards Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon $50: Soft and downright dainty after a decade in the bottle. These guys have not changed their formula in 30 years. Their secret is the fruit from their high altitude mountain vineyard, their winemaker and their personal preference for profoundly local style.  This wine is balanced with tannins fully melded. A beauty in its prime. This is the Detroit Lions wine with one very important wrinkle. Division winner will play for NFC title. Barnett a champ nearly every vintage. 14.5%

Keenan05WEB2005 Keenan Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain $80: Served from magnum. Tight, leathery, lean. Needed 40 minutes to open just a bit. When it did we got masculine Spring Mountain all the way. Well made in a conservatively respectful style. Many folks love Keenan for its consistent Spring Mountain character. True to form and a real contender year in and out; like the Patriots. 14.5%

2008 Chappellet Cabernet Sauvignon Mountain Cuvee $30: Fruit forward going  for the easy win. For tBoW this wine is chapelletmountainWEBsimple, not showing imagination. Sticking to the tried and true. Hope for the best. The Dallas Cowboys. Team and winery need a new coach almost bad as USC. 15%

7heartseola07WEB2007 Seven of Hearts Eola Amity Hills Reserve Pinot Noir NA: Only 50 cases made so it is rare. But is it unique? The winemaker is a comer. He has brine. His wine shows smokiness. He knows what he wants to make – great wine. This was a tough Willamette vintage for some… but not for tBoW and Dotore.  This wine is lean having recently passed its prime. Acid is high but the fruit has faded. Probably should have opened this in 2011 or 2012… when we last did!. Like the Green Bay Packers who are stuck somewhere between greatness and the 49ers. Pack will finish close to the top but might have to make the playoffs as a wild card. 14%

grosechezau09WEB2009 Anne Gros Echezeaux Loachausses $160: Speaking of the 49ers here is one of the greatest premium winemakers in Burgundy today. This wine is stupendously stupidly good. The color is light ruby as many superb Burgs seem to be. Looking sleek and refined [ed. that makes no sense; shaddup he’s on a roll]; powerful with plenty of muscle. We cannot describe this wine beyond transcendent, other worldly, alien. Someday there could be a National Geographic Channel show on Anne Gros that will mention this wine. As Dotoré poured his final sip he lamented it had been opened so young. Let me be the first to congratulate the 2014 Super Bowl Champ. 13%

Shout-out to dedicated tBoW reader Billy Hall who retires end of September. We hope Bill will join the tBoW Tasting Team before the end of the year. And fondest respect to our greatly loved goff pal Greg Romeo who is transforming to light.

Here are four minutes of Butkus mayhem… in color.

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