What sort of bubbly would you pop if your team made it to the Major League Championship round?
It may appear a rhetorical question, but around America this week it is a question that confronts baseball team owners. And from their choice, we can tell who will win the World Series.
Consider my hapless Cubs. What did they pop after they clinched the NL Central? Korbel. Granted, spraying a locker room is one of the best things you can do with Korbel. But it didn’t bode well. They were swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Indians appear destined for greatness. After beating the Yankees, they popped open the Mumm’s. Granted, it’s best use is probably Christening ships but at least if you ended up with a shot in your mouth, it wouldn’t be too traumatic. (Though there are some beer cans visible in that top picture.) And the Indians eschewed goggles and ponchos. Real wine geek men. Winners, it appears.
Unless trivial details like earned runs and batting averages come into play.
Image 1: Fair use is made of a reduced size, cropped photo from sports.yahoo.com attributed to Bill Kostroun/AP
Image 2: Fair use is made of a reduced size, cropped photo from sports.yahoo.com attributed to Elsa
We went to Saratoga on Saturday and a horse in race 8 grabbed my attention: Winemaster! Yes, horse number five was an MW! Well, his name was Winemaster at least. Doing the classic newbie tactic of betting on horse name, I took Winemaster “across” in for a win-place-show! And with 8-1 odds, think how juicy the payout would be. So how did he do?
He was somewhere in the second half of the pack. Oh, and my “name” strategy didn’t work well in race 7 either with my exacta box on Dr. Pleasure and Dr. Googles Boogles. Next time, quantitative analysis only!
What would you name your race horse to have it called out when crossing the line in first place?
And, btw, if you do venture to Saratoga, head off Broadway for dinner–we had a very good meal at Beekman Street Bistro, which has an interesting, succinct wine list to boot.
62 Beekman Street, 518-581-1816
You could be forgiven for thinking these headlines were about my illustrious cycling career (come on–I went mountain biking over the weekend!). In fact, these are some of the headlines appearing today after the Kazakh Alexandre Vinokurov, aka Vino, won the stage in the Tour de France, his second win in three days. A pre-race favorite, he’s out of the competition for overall leader now because of an early crash and a poor performance yesterday.
Congratulations, Vino, you’re doing all of us Vinos proud. Hopefully, if there’s any suspicion with his being “juiced,” it would just be with wine!
The venue was in fact the venerable and soon-to-be-demolished Yankee Stadium. Bud Light be damned–the wines available were, naturally, from Alsace!
So for you, dear reader, I broke a decade-long fast and had my first ball park dog, loaded with sauerkraut and mustard. It’s a crazy food that comprises of salt, fat, some meat-like product, nitrates, and probably much more. I wasn’t about to eat 66 of them like that American who brought home the glory earlier this month in other “sports” news. (As a point of interest, there was a hot dog afficionado present who informed me that, indeed, the hot dogs consumed in such a contest have to “stay down” and if they come back up, it is a violation known euphemistically known as a “reversal.”)
Hot dog in hand, I surveyed the Alsatian wines. With their good acidity and minerality, they seem like a good pairing overall for the dawg if you’re not doing the classic beer pairing. The most effective was the Albert Mann, cremant d’Alsace, brut nonvintage (about $19; find this wine). It has bubbles, like beer! But more importantly, I found the zesty citrus notes worked really well with the dawg.
Moving up the wine richness scale, I found the heft of the Domaine Ehrhart, “Rosenberg,” geurztraminer, 2004 (about $20; find this wine) to work well too. The faint spice of the wine was somewhat overwhlemed by the “zesty mustard” but the refreshing core of acidity and minerality remained a good complement. The Albert Boxler 2004 pinot gris (about $30; find this wine), a rich, sweet and powerful wine seemed a little too flabby with the food.
The Hebrew National dog was great going down but an hour or so later I found it had an unpleasant, um, “finish” (safe for work: no “reversal”!). The finish of the Boxler wine lingered longer and was much more pleasant.
“That regatta [in 1851], known as the 100 Guinea Cup, was a fleet race around the island in sturdy yachts made of hardwoods, iron and copper that often featured staterooms below decks and carried plenty of wine and provisions. It took nearly 11 hours for America to complete a 50-mile journey and win…This time, the America’s Cup, sailed in the Mediterranean waters off Valencia, is a best-of-nine match-racing series around the buoys in carbon-fiber yachts, where lightness is king everywhere except in the keel and where the wine remains on shore unless it is being poured on someone’s head in celebration.” You decide which was the better wine voyage. [IHT]
In a fascinating exploration of the physiology of taste–and a takedown of the system of wine scores–Michael Steinberger submits himself to the ultimate taste test to find out if he is a supertaster. Must read. [Slate]
Moldovan wine to flow freely again
Is that the sound of clinking glasses you hear in Chisinau? What? Where’s Chisinau? Why, Moldova, of course! In a showdown of the Vladimirs, President Putin said that he would lift the ban on President Voronin’s country’s wine. Russia had accounted for more than half of Moldova’s wine exports before the ban. [Moscow Times]
To Russia, with love
Should wine producers target Russia, India or China? David Skalli makes the case for Russia. [sawf.org]
Last week I sat down with reporter Lisa Altobelli to taste three wines whose profits benefit various charities associated with the Boston Red Sox. As a Cub fan (why bother?!) I may have been the only non-partisan taster in New York.
The Chilean wines were the Schilling Schardonnay, Manny being Merlot, and Caberknuckle, selections from Red Sox stars Curt Schilling, Manny Ramirez (described as “a budding enophile”) and Tim Wakefield. Check out the May 28 issue, p. 26 for my detailed comments but I’ll tell you here that is the order that I preferred them. Even though they won’t be available to Red Sox Nation and beyond until next month, 264,000 bottles have already been pre-sold.
And if you’re stopping by the blog for the first time because of the story, then consider subscribing to the site’s feed or monthly email updates on the right. And feel free to poke around and see some wine picks or explore any of the categories on the first sidebar, including wine and sports!
“A very good year: three Red Sox enter the world of wine” [pdf, from SI]
UPDATE: if you’re looking to order the wines, surf on over to Charity Wines to order directly. They say specific stores will be posted soon. Or try wine-searcher for the Shcardonnay, Merlot, or Caberknucle.
With the Super Bowl looming on February 4, some wine geeks may be wondering what to drink during the event — while others may be wondering how they can win some wine.
Betting and sports have a long (March Madness) but limited (Nevada) tradition in the US. But it is only thanks to Las Vegas we have an indication of what the odds are of one team winning over another. The most common indicator is the “spread” or number of point margin of victory of one team over another. In this year’s Super Bowl XLI the Indianapolis Colts are the favorite by seven points over the Chicago Bears.
Thus a fan of the Bears could take seven points, see her team lose 21-17 but still win on the bet. You win while the team loses. This suboptimal outcome means that your bet is not aligned with your enthusiasm for the team.
I put this puzzle to my friend who writes about sports on Gothamist and he advised me of the “moneyline,” which awards different values to bets while not offering any point spread. Thus if your team wins, you win the wager. The moneyline for the Superbowl is Indianapolis -240 and Chicago +200. That means that to place a $240 wager on the Colts in Las Vegas would win back your original wager plus $100. A $100 bet on the Bears would yield the original wager plus $200.
Thus wine geeks who are fans of the Bears could bet a $10 wine with a friend and Indianapolis supporter who would put up a $22 bottle of wine. Say, a Texier Cotes du Rhone 2004 (find this wine) for a Heinrich Mayr-Nusser 02 Lagrein Riserva (find this wine)? Or raise the stakes to double those price points if you are so inclined. But at the end of the day–or football season–the best way to celebrate friendship might just be if you had to drink the bottle together.
Assuming, of course, that you both are over 21 and live in Nevada.
The original version of this post appeared on January 27, 2006.