Hopefully the game is better than the commercials this year. Either way, for everyone watching San Francisco and Kansas City on Sunday, a collection of crowd-pleasing wines will be needed.
Here are my tasting notes from a few wines I’ve opened in the past two weeks.
Farmed by the incredibly talented Markus Bokisch, who beats the drum loudest as an advocate for Lodi, is Time Place Wine Co. Picpoul 2018 ($25). Winemaker Jamie Whetstone gives California’s lesser known varietals a star turn with this project. Because it was whole cluster pressed, there’s a full mouthfeel with flavors of green apple and lemon.
A stunningly lithe Provence rosé has the fresh acidity to cut through any spicy foods or is a perfect party starter. Ignore the myth that rosé is only meant for spring or summer seasons. The Peyrassol Rose 2018 ($26) has citrus and strawberry on the nose. There are sweet melon and Meyer lemon flavors in this wine that rounds out as it warms up.
A crowd-pleaser for its ripe and approachable style, Chateau Malescasse 2016 ($22) is ready to be enjoyed right now. There are flavors and aromas of blackberry compote and a hint of loamy turned earth as well. Licorice, anise and a toasty oak notes are propped up by gravel tannins that give enough grip on a long-lasting, round finish.
A subtle New Zealand pinot kicks off what will turn into a feature story on the country’s work with the varietal. Subtle and loaded with clearly defined flavors is the Greywacke Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 ($34). There are cardamom, black cherry and toasty vanilla on the nose. It’s juicy with strawberry, ripe plum and an enduring finish.
There’s a hint of eucalyptus that blows off after being open for a while, but it’s enticing while it lasts. Winemaker Kevin Judd has highlighted the tension between acidity and fruit flavors.
Voted the top wine at a local tasting, another New Zealand gem is Spy Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015 ($32). There’s cracked pepper, cinnamon stick, bay leaf and leather on the nose. Raspberry, plum and spice notes carry on during a long finish.
A medium-bodied red blend from California, Birichino “Scylla” 2017 ($26) comes from some of the oldest vines in the state. A simple blend of 62% Carignan, 33% grenache and 5% mourvedre offers strawberry and blackberry notes and has plenty of acidity at 13% alcohol. It’s very easy to drink this red.
There’s something for everyone with the wines. Hopefully the game has the same variety of interesting plays.
• James Nokes writes a bi-weekly wine column for the Daily Chronicle. He’s been tasting, touring and collecting in the wine world for several years. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.