Posted by: Thomson Vineyards | October 23, 2010

Hang Time In Over Time

Merlot in Over Time or on Borrowed Time?

The commentators agree that there is a lot of fruit out there yet to be harvested as of October 23. There was easily 40 tons of Estate Chardonnay to the south of Thomson Vineyards property line that was being harvested in the rain on October 22 because the winery who owns it was busy pushing hang time well into over time.

We all love the momentum of a good game, the adrenaline of going into over time, the nail-biting clock ticking downwards…in football.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to duplicate that same rush in the vineyard. Unless, like me, you subscribe to Rule #76: No excuses. Play like a champion. And no offense, but I’ve come across many growers who seem to be abiding by that rule and not many wineries.

When you’re done here be sure to read up on hang time in the Wines & Vines Archives where the winemaker wants more hang time and the farmer’s tonnage is hammered away at well into over time.

And with that, while work has been done for weeks in the vineyard and the farmers have been waiting for the winemakers to make a pick call only to find that the winemaker is on vacation enjoying a lengthy hang time one such winemaker [who shall remain nameless and always infamous] supplied me with this commentary about the recently released BCS rankings and what wines he’d pair with the top three ranked BCS teams.

Two points of reference, said winemaker picked self described, “perfect” Chardonnay from Block 5 of Thomson Vineyards October 8 and 13 and he’s an NFL die hard. Following college football is what he does when no one’s looking or he’s waiting for Thomson Vineyards Mountain Merlot to ripen…

As of October 18, following are the top three college football teams in the country, according to the just-released BCS rankings and depending upon who you ask:

  1. Oklahoma, aka The Computer Favorite
  2. Oregon, aka The Coach’s Poll Favorite
  3. Boise State, aka The Fan Favorite

OU: The Sooners have the BCS computer’s number and are like a highly-rated, New World wine that has all the right stuff, i.e. the high pH and high alcohol levels that the rating systems seem to favor. The problem with these teams – and wines – is that they often don’t stand the test of time [have you had a bottle of much lauded ’97 Napa Cab in the past few years?]  So enjoy the ranking while it lasts – Sooner than later – and don’t be shy about uncorking that Cult Cab you picked up at auction.

UofO: The Ducks call Willamette Valley Pinot Noir country their own so it’s no surprise that they are the coach’s – and thinking man’s – favorite.  Oregon’s offensive firepower is masterminded by a no-nonsense coach in Chip Kelly who has gained the admiration and respect of his peers as they are the only ones who can truly understand how difficult it is to successfully feature the complex in an unfriendly environment.  Sound like any beloved varietals we know and love?  The Oregon Ducks and Pinot Noir it is.

BS: The Broncos are the Rocky Balboas of the college football landscape, the underdog team that nobody believes in outside their locker room until they knock out so many champs that the fans – and eventually, maybe even the critics – are forced to take note.  We spoke about Pinot Noir’s sideways assent in the former paragraph, so let’s give some equal time to Merlot’s rocky road over the past few years.  Merlot and Boise State…a match made in web heaven. And a great varietal whether you’re grilling chicken and tailgating next to a smurf-colored blue football field in Idaho at the Northern edge of the Rocky Mountains or blending wine in Bordeaux along the Right Bank of the Garonne River [where Merlot is the most widely planted grape, Miles!].  The people are speaking out and we want our Merlot back on top.

So to the winemakers who are processing day and night, round the clock and with the clock already run down – get a case of beer and do your best to remember what this year felt like next year. And to the farmers, get your favorite bottle of Cult Cab, Pinot Noir, or Merlot – cozy up on the couch and keep your eye on Auburn – that’s what I’m doing, while I wait for the Thomson Vineyards Mountain Merlot to ripen and The Infamous Winemaker to make the pick call around Thanksgiving.

Next week, NFL pairings. Until then, feel free to leave a comment about your favorite Cult Cab [and if you’d like…the ungodly amount you paid for it], which Pinot you’ve got hidden out and from where or express your undying love for Merlot!

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