Yet another round of sporting events. This one, at least, is something we felines can enjoy. It mostly involves very large humans running up and down a relatively small court, chasing a ball roughly the size of big fat. There’s also a fair amount of jumping involved, which while not as talented at this as we are, we can still appreciate the effort – especially after watching the local humans jump.
Of course, one should enjoy sipping wine while watching any sporting event, and the obvious choice here was a big, burly red, full of oak and tobacco and tannins. We even had a bottle of burgundy ready to go. But then we wondered, wouldn’t a wine that bounces and jumps just like this sport be more appropriate? Besides, one wants to stay alert during a good match, not fade away before the final buzzer.
It was back to the wine offerings, and after an intense discussion, we agreed on something in a white. The ever popular chardonnay? Perhaps something in a sauvignon blanc? Ah, but leave it to grumpy old man to solve our dilemma. Bouncing, flavorful, and big enough to last until the very end – pinot gris was the grape we sought.
We found several bottles and what could be more appropriate than to sample each – after all, we needed to determine which best met our requirements.
Best to start with a more traditional pinot gris, which meant opening a bottle from the Alsace region in France. Albert Boxler is a true representation of classic pinot gris. This is a very dry white, with hints of something tropical and exotic, a touch of pineapple and spice. The flavor lingers on the tongue, so you tend to go slow and savor. Not a bad match for watching tall men throwing balls at a hoop.
Of course, it’s always good to test more local fare as well. In this case, we tested a lovely bottle from King Estate in the Willamette Valley – a 2015 Pinot Gris. California wines tend to be less dry than their French brethren and this is a prime example. Apples and pears are the dominant flavors, with that bit of spice on the tongue. Though not as dry as the Albert Boxler, the taste still takes its time. This is a great match for anyone who prefers their whites to be a little heavier on the fruit than some of the more traditional European varieties. Not overly sweet, but still full of lusciously deep fruity flavors, and layers that keep you sipping.
The final bottle was from the Marlborough region of New Zealand. This is a dry, warm region that is famous for adding its own unique flavors to traditional wine grapes. Its most famous wine is Sauvignon Blanc, but it also produces some top tier pinot gris. Our choice was from Simon Waghorn, under the Astrolabe label. There were the apple and pear flavors one expects from pinot gris, with a bit of citrus as well. But then the New Zealand terroir adds its own twist – a hint of ginger to go with the cinnamon. Like its French ancestors, this is a dry wine with a long finish. Complex, tasty and even a bit bouncy.
And so it goes. Another point scored, another sip savored. It turns out white wine and basketball can go together.