Wine Wednesday

Wines to Pair with Seattle Olympians

What to drink while you’re cheering for the locals in London.

By Julie H. Case August 1, 2012


 Washington state has swimmers and pole vaulters, rowers and javelin throwers, and some 30-plus other athletes competing in this summer’s Olympic games. Last week Sauced brought you a few bars that will be airing the London games; today we turn to RN74 sommelier Christopher Tanghe, whom we asked to pair a Washington wine with a few of our notable local athletes. Here’s what to drink while you’re watching the games (maybe on the DVR, since most of these competitions air before prime wine-drinking hours).

Watch: Hope Solo play soccer. (Friday, Aug. 3, 6:30am)
Drink: aMaurice Cellars Sparrow Viognier.

Washington’s latest athlete-personality, Hope Solo, isn’t pulling punches on the field or off this summer. When the Richland native isn’t blocking goals for the women’s soccer team, she’s tweeting up a storm, penning an autobiography, and talking about ... err... Olympic sex. To go with this intense personality—and sport—Tanghe recommends aMaurice’s Sparrow viognier. Sourced from estate fruit, the wine has an intense nose and bright fruit aromas. Powerful, graceful and aromatic, like soccer it is also high intensity, yet remarkably elegant. Much, Tanghe says, like when a play goes just right right, when all the passes are successful and the U.S. team is set up for a goal. Or, when Solo blocks a perfect shot.

To boot, the wine comes from another enterprising woman: winemaker Anna Schafer.

Price: $33 

Watch: The Queen in the boxing ring. (Sunday, Aug. 5, 5:30-8:30am)
Drink: Reynvaan Family Vineyards Stonessence Syrah.

Quanitta Underwood—aka Queen Underwood—is a boxer. And a woman. And a trailblazer: This is the first year women’s boxing has made an appearance at the Olympics, and the Seattleite is there, in the midst of it all, with one powerful story of a horrific childhood overcome. If that’s not enough to make you cheer for her, the fact that she’s from Seattle should be.

A wine that goes with women’s boxing needs to be big and bold … something that punches you in the face, so to speak, says Tanghe, such as the Reynvaan Stonessence syrah. Raised on native yeasts, this syrah is heady, bursting with powerful dark fruits, black pepper, and smoked meat while remaining elegant and full of lovely violet aromatics and ephemeral characteristics. Big and bold, this wine has the nimbleness of a boxer.

Price: $70 

Watch: Brad Walker pole vault. (Wednesday, Aug. 8, 12:15pm)
Drink: Gramercy Cellars Inigo Montoya tempranillo.

Spokane’s Brad Walker seems to be always pushing the limits. For starters, he’s 31, which seems old for the Olympics until you realize one of his teammates is 39. But, hey, apparently when he’s not throwing himself over a bar, he’s into extreme sports and fast cars. Those more inclined to get their thrills on the sidelines might consider sipping some Gramercy while watching Walker clear great heights. Gramercy’s Inigo Montoya is a tempranillo, a varietal far better known for its dominance in Spain (think Rioja) than the Pacific Northwest. While the varietal may be an untraditional, limit-pushing varietal for Washington, the itself Montoya is aged in the traditional style—on lots of American oak. While it may seem at first to have the aromatics of northern Spain, this tempranillo is richer, darker and more extracted.

Price: $42 

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