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Big Game, Big Decisions

February 13, 2022 Leave a comment

I’m sure it is obvious what Big Game we are talking about.

The Super Bowl. One and only entertainment event of the year, almost a national holiday (many say that Monday after the Super Bowl should be made into a national holiday, as sometimes those games end past midnight).

I saw some interesting stats about this Super Bowl LVI (that’s 56 if you are not intimately familiar with Roman numerals). It is expected that 117 million viewers with watch the event – if this will be an actual number of viewers, it would set a new record (the previous one was 114M viewers in 2012), and a substantial increase over last year’s Super Bowl, which only attracted 96.4M of fans. Also, according to CNBC, the American Gaming Association projected that a record 31.4 million Americans would bet $7.6 billion on the Bengals-Rams game. Some staggering numbers, aren’t they?

But forget the numbers – I’m only here for the food 🙂

Source: Terlato Wines

So what are the big decisions we are talking about here? Leaving food aside, there is only one big decision to make – and you know which one it is.

Beer or Wine?

In any Super Bowl viewing party preparation discussion, this is an eternal question – what should you drink while watching the big game? What should you serve with the food?

Food is the right starting point for this discussion. I can’t resist throwing in another interesting data point – The National Chicken Council estimates that Americans will consume 1.42 billion wings while the Cincinnati Bengals play the Los Angeles Rams. Yep – 1.42 billion! Super Bowl is a finger food festival – sandwiches, chicken strips, shrimp, chicken wings, and lots of other usually salty and often spicy indulgences. So beer seems to be the obvious answer to our eternal question.

Except when it is not.

Beer is boring. Yes, I drink beer from time to time, but I’m rarely excited about it unless I’m in a pub in the Czech Republic or some other European countries which have a culture of beer drinking – and the beer is served always fresh. Heck, if I would be watching Super Bowl at some Beer Garden in the US, I would definitely stay with beer. But at home, I unquestionably prefer wine. Wine brings excitement, and even if it wouldn’t perfectly complement the food spread on the table, it will make the game a lot more enjoyable to watch.

So how about some hard-core American wine? Does American Craft Wine sound good? An American craft wine for the American craft game – that should work together, right? So the wine I would like to bring to your attention is The Federalist, proudly crafted in California.

The Federalist winery was founded in 2009 in Sonoma, California, with an initial focus on producing Zinfandel – it makes perfect sense for an American craft winery to focus on the grape which America considers uniquely its own. Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Blend, and Chardonnay complete the lineup today, also connecting with another uniquely American product – Bourbon. The second line of Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Blend and Zinfandel wines are aged in the Bourbon barrels, uniquely amplifying the power of traditional Californian varieties.

I had an opportunity to taste a few of the Federalist wines latest releases – here are my notes:

2017 Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon Lodi (13.9% ABV, $17.99, 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Zinfandel, 2% Petite Sirah, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, 15 months in 35% new oak)
Light garnet
Cassis, dark berries, eucalyptus, open, inviting
Unmistakable Lodi on the palate, cassis, nutmeg, warm spices, a touch of dark chocolate, good balance, well-integrated tannins, medium-long finish.
8-, easy, simple, will work well with a range of foods.

2018 Federalist Chardonnay Mendocino County (14.5% ABV, $17.99, aged in 35% new oak)
Light golden
A hint of vanilla, Whitestone fruit, a touch of gunflint
Restrained on the palate, golden delicious apples, crisp, fresh, good acidity, medium finish with prevailing acidity.
8-, needs food.

2019 Federalist Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley (15% ABV, $24, 100% Zinfandel, 16 months in 20% new oak)
Dark garnet
Raspberries, eucalyptus, earthy notes
Dark fruit, cut through acidity, well present tannins, a touch of raspberries, medium-plus finish with lots of acidity
7+/8-, food wine, needs time

The Federalist wines are well connected to the big game, being an official premiere wine sponsor of the San Francisco 49ers ( who I would much prefer to see in the Super Bowl together with the Kansas City Chiefs), so it would be only appropriate if you will open a bottle of the Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon to celebrate the big game.

And if not the big game, the Federalist wines are perfectly appropriate to celebrate the next official American holiday, The President’s Day, taking place exactly in a week.

Game, ads, half-time show, food, wine – I wish you a great evening.

 

Presidents’ Day Wine Recommendations

February 10, 2016 5 comments

Wine recommendations for the Presidents’ Day? Which also falls on Monday? In the other words, wine recommendations for Monday? Really?

I can see that you might be surprised, but why not? Monday is as perfect day for a glass of wine as Sunday. Or Saturday. Or Friday. I hope you are okay with wine on Monday, so let’s move on.

First of all, especially if you don’t live in the United States, let’s me briefly explain the holiday. Presidents’ Day commemorates birthday of the first president of United States, George Washington, and it is always celebrated on the third Monday in February. While the original holiday was linked to the actual birthday of George Washington on February 22nd, some states also celebrated birthday of Abraham Lincoln (February 12th), and some even add Thomas Jefferson (third President) to the mix, thus the holiday is collectively called Presidents’ Day (if you are interested in exploring the subject further, here is the link to Wikipedia article). Presidents’ Day is an official Federal holiday, which means that all the branches of the US government are closed – however, it is typically a regular work day for most of the companies.

Now, let’s talk about wine choices for the holiday which always falls on Monday. Does Monday calls for a special bottle of wine? Well, it is the first day of the week, which often is difficult enough in itself, so may be we need a bottle of wine on the lighter side? I happened to come across the wine which I think would be perfect for any Monday, but it is incredibly fitting this special Monday – and I will tell you why in a second.

Let me introduce to you The Federalist – the winery in California, founded in 2007 with the goal to commemorate our Founding Fathers. The first wine produced by The Federalist was called Visionary Zinfandel, and it is dedicated to Alexander Hamilton, who pioneered The Federalist Party. Currently winery offers 5 different wines, all of them dedicated to the people who defined The United States of America.

Now, for the holiday at hand, I would like to offer you two wines – Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, both from Lodi in California. Zinfandel is dedicated to … very conveniently, I have to say … George Washington, the first President of the USA and the man who’s birthday we are celebrating on the Presidents’ Day. The Cabernet Sauvignon bears the picture of Benjamin Franklin – while I’m sure many of you are familiar with Ben Franklin as the man who’s face emboldens the $100 bill, Ben Franklin is often called The First American for advocating unity of the colonies, and he was one of the key participants in drafting The Declaration of Independence.

The Federalist Wines

Here are my notes on the wines:

2014 The Federalist Zinfandel Lodi, California (14.5% ABV, SRP $17.76, 93% Zinfandel, 7% Syrah, 12 months in 25% new American Oak)
C: dark ruby
N: fresh, open, medium intensity, blackberries, ripe raspberries
P: delicious, clean, round tobacco and raspberries, perfectly clean Zinfandel profile, smooth, clean, perfect balance
V: 8-, outstanding rendition of Zinfandel, good for everyday drinking with this QPR

2014 The Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon Lodi, California (13.9% ABV, SRP $17.76, 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petite Syrah, 1% Sangiovese, 15 months in 35% new Oak)
C: garnet
N: eucalyptus, cassis, restrained
P: bright, fresh, delicious, red currant, cranberries, crisp acidity, medium body.
V: 8-, quite atypical of traditional California cab – much lighter style, but very delicious

So, have I convinced you to raise the glass to honor first American Presidents on Monday? I hope I did, so grab a bottle of The Federalist and let’s celebrate! Cheers!

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