With the NFL draft a slowly fading memory (I’m still trying to figure out why my Jets drafted down with Chad Jackson and LenDale White still on the board) I thought I’d try my hand at a “wine draft.”
I gave myself ten picks to base a cellar on right now (figuring on a case of each wine, and an unlimited budget--thanks, Marvin!). Some stuff is drinkable now, others need time. It’s all hypothetical, of course, but let’s see how I did.
1. At running back, 1990 Château Latour Pauillac--a no-brainer. This is the blue-chip first growth in my book, and the ’90, which is ever so slowly starting to awaken from its slumber, will be the linchpin of my team’s ground attack for years to come. Speed and power--the total package. You’re a fool if you don’t take it (ahem, Texans).
2. At quarterback, the 2003 Domaine du Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Réservée. No apprenticeship on the sidelines needed for this one--it’s “NFL-ready” right now and should be a star for the next 20 years (although an inevitable slump somewhere in the middle of its career will create some doubters). It’s loaded with personality and has the arm strength to throw the deep ball consistently.
3. Better get some defense, so at inside linebacker, I pick the 2003 M. Chapoutier Ermitage L'Ermite. This brick wall will stop anything that tries to rush up the middle, goes after the opposing QB with fervor, and can cover sideline to sideline as fast as a receiver does--just a blur of perfection out there.
4. At defensive end is the ultimate pass rusher--the Etude Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2002. Tall and wide, with speed and power, this is built for the long haul. Plays just as hard in the 4th quarter as the 1st.
5. Time to get someone who can catch the ball. So at wide receiver, I pick the sleek, racy 2003 Achával-Ferrer Malbec Mendoza Finca Altamira. Like Jerry Rice, this thoroughbred will be streaking past defensive backs for a decade, and making it look easy.
6. Need an enforcer for my defense--so at safety, how about the 1998 Château La Mission-Haut-Brion Pessac-Léognan? Tarry, intense, and it delivers a real wallop to opposing receivers who are thinking of going over the middle on third and long. It’s like those guys who wear the dark visor over their helmets so you can’t see their face. Scary good.
7. Now for a cover corner. The Domaine des Baumard Quarts de Chaume 1995 fits the bill. It sticks to your palate like white on rice, with its rich, glazed fruit flavors. At the end of a meal, with the game on the line, this is the one show-stopper that saves the day, and never gets called for pass interference.
8. Center is the toughest job out there. Handle the snap and the blocking assignments. Fall back for pass protection, be a road-paving run blocker, or pull out for a trap play. The center does all that, but no one ever knows the center’s name. So let’s go with the Thierry Germain Saumur-Champigny Domaine des Roches Neuves La Marginale 2002, which, like a center, is the best wine you’ve never heard of. A Cabernet Franc from the Loire that will have you rethinking what Cabernet Franc can do.
9. Tight end. That’s the go-to guy who finishes the game with 2 catches for 2 yards and 2 touchdowns and makes your fantasy team a winner. You love this guy and wonder why he doesn’t get more credit. It’s the Araujo Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley Eisele Vineyard 2004, sticking up for all unsung grapes with its vibrant melon, peach and straw flavors. When you finish the case, you’ll wonder why you didn’t buy two.
10. Last, we need a kicker, and I know what you’re saying--What, no Burgundy yet? Well, you know that Pinot can be exhilarating or disappointing--just like a kicker. The kicker may make 100 extra points in a row, but blow that game-winning 43-yarder wide left, and ouch, the fans will never let you live it down. It’s dangerous to waste a pick on a kicker, so I waited until #10, but I select the best one out there in the Méo-Camuzet Richebourg 2002. I just pray for no bottle variation.
Looks like a dynasty in the making. But of course, they don't play games (or build cellars) on paper ...
How about you? What would be your wine draft picks?
Scott O Neil — UT — May 3, 2006 11:23am ET
Scott O Neil — UT — May 5, 2006 4:27pm ET
Theodore Mukamal — NY, NY — February 17, 2009 5:03am ET
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