Drinking And Fighting – Robert Stephen (CSW), Windsor Square

Filed in Wine Reviews on November 19, 2014

(TORONTO, ON) – On November 22, Manny Pacquiao, from the Philippines, and Chris Algieri, of the USA, will square off in Macau, China, at the Venetian Hotel. Manny really must beat Algieri to retain his credibility and finish off his career in the highest orbit by then moving on to fight Floyd Mayweather.

Now, if you are watching the fight in Macau, or on pay for view, you are going to have munchies and need something to drink. And what that might be?

In Macau it’s most likely champagne and caviar, but for the common folk it will have to be something local. Add on pay-per-view costs and you may be drinking tap water.

My Philippines pal looks at me like I am from outer space when I ask her if she knows Manny. Manny is a national hero, and when he fights the nation stops in its tracks. Filipinos in Toronto gather in each other’s homes and party down with pay-per-view. Look at a Manny fight as a Philippine Super Bowl.

As we Canadians are enthused by our women’s and men’s teams playing hockey, equally enthused are citizens of the Philippines about Manny boxing.

I’d avoid Red Bull or any drink with caffeine. Watching a boxing match with coffee? Get real.

As this is a special fight, I think you might want to loosen up with a bit of alcohol and treat this as a night out. Nothing wrong with water as you just might get sweaty watching these skilled fighters play cat and mouse with each other. If you want to drink some soda, stick with some San Pellegrino orange as it won’t leave a sickly sweet taste in your mouth.

Spirits might work well, but something mixed and happy like vodka and cranberry juice, or a mojito, would do nicely. Straight spirits are too serious and solemn for watching a big fight.

A Scotch or Port might be better suited for a serious post fight discussion.

Beer, Filipino of course, isn’t a bad choice, particularly if you are cheering for Manny. But as a wine writer I’ll give you some local options from Lake Erie North Shore.

Colchester Ridge Estate Wine is referred to most as CREW, and that’s what you’ll see in large letters on each label. You’ll also see a couple of sails. Hopefully you are getting the nautical theme idea.

If you are looking for a knockout wine, and I don’t mean that in a positive sense, Ontario Riesling disappoints me most of the time with its sourness, which I am sure the Filipinos experienced with Pacquiao’s knockout by Marquez on December 8, 2012.

Taking a brave face here, and facing the odds against Ontario Riesling, I try the CREW Riesling.

LENS tends to produce richer and less acidic Rieslings than Niagara. The CREW Riesling is a very pale gold in colour. It has a light vibrant aroma of McIntosh apples, eggplant, quince, and Flemish pear.

Ah yes, on the palate a Germanic richness of fruit as opposed to Niagara acidity and grapefruit. Pear and apple with a tiny hint of lime and pineapple, and a well hidden acidity and seductive minerality.

Fells and smells like the real champion a Riesling can be, not like drinking a glass of grapefruit juice. It beats the Ontario odds and perhaps is the perfect wine to watch, what I seem to be perceiving in the press, as a Manny the underdog against Algieri.

If this CREW Riesling raises my hope for Riesling in Lake Erie North Shore, Pacquiao is my hope for his welterweight championship bout on November 22. I really want Manny to finish his career with class and a win against Algieri will accomplish that.

There is no need to prove anything after a victory fight. However, a Mayweather match and victory would be retirement at the highest level. Let’s get over November 22 first, though.

A bit more residual sugar on this Riesling would be akin to a Pacquiao knockout of Mayweather. (Colchester Ridge Estate Winery Inc, 2013 Riesling, Lake Erie North Shore VQA, Colchester Ridge Estate Winery, 750 mL, 11.6%, $15, Square Media Group Rating 92/100, Shores of Erie 2014 Silver Medal Winner).

CREW produced a superb Cabernet Sauvignon in 2008, which I rated a 91. It beat the odds of any Ontario Cabernet Sauvignon being called superb. So how does their 2010 measure up against the 2008?

It is black cherry in colour. Terribly pleasing, if less than riotous blueberry, black cherry, and chocolate on the nose. Relaxed and less potent than the 2008.

On the palate there is no shortage of blueberry, but there is some blackberry and liquorice. It’s a mid-weight and very clean on the palate with some mid palate juiciness. It’s tighter and less flashy than the 2008.

A subtle, medium length finish. At the end of the day there should be no Ontario embarrassment by the grape varietal Cabernet Sauvignon on the label. This is LENS Cabernet Sauvignon would be great with holiday fare such as tortiere or turkey.

While the 2008 was ready for immediate consumption, this tighter wine needs a couple of years to settle down and I’d say can age up until 2020, at which point it will be less tight with even more pure blueberry on the nose and palate.

Both a good sipper and a foodie wine. It goes without saying, great with a rib steak. (Colchester Ridge Estate Winery Inc, 2010, Cabernet Sauvignon, Lake Erie North Shore VQA, Colchester Ridge Estate Winery, 750 mL, 14.3%, $22, Square Media Group Rating 90/100). Decant a half hour prior to serving and you’ll pick up some plum, charcoal, and vanilla.

For boxing, this wine has a good left jab. Firm, assertive yet not slamming heavy that’ll knock you down and make you stagger. We’ll leave that to the Napa Cabernet Sauvignons.

Manny punches hard and if you get hit look out, but my sense is (witnessed in the 2012 Marquez fight) he is no Ali, Tyson, or Foreman where a mighty blow is about the only one you’ll feel as you crumple in the ring.

The CREW POSH 2013 is a white blend. On the nose big puffs of peach, mango, and apple. The Gewürztraminer is a showboat grape for the uninitiated. It reminds me of Ali at his best, pre Thrilla from Manila antics.

Heaping on the Gewürztraminer is some Vidal; a strange and peculiar grape at times. I am expecting the fans to rush to the ring as these two grapes could incite an out of control wine. However, like a good referee, the Chardonnay, and particularly the Riesling, settle things down. In fact, they really have the Vidal and Gewürztraminer in check. It’s obviously a fair fight here.

The acidity introduced by the Riesling and Chardonnay push the Gewürztraminer and Vidal off the ropes, however some of that Vidal remains on the palate and seems a bit out of place. This would be more of a training camp wine for newbies being introduced to white wine.

Very pleasant and inoffensive.

You can watch the fight and quaff this smoothie down. It won’t distract you as you cheer on for Manny. If you are chomping on popcorn an excellent match. (Colchester Ridge Estate Winery Inc, 2013 POSH Cuvée, VQA Ontario, Colchester Ridge Estate Winery, 750 mL, 12.3%, $14, Square Media Group Rating 86/100, Shores of Erie 2014 Silver Medal). For pre-fight Filipino Chicken Adobo might be a great match for this wine.

The CREW 2013 Flagship Chardonnay is light gold in colour just bursting with quince, Matsu apple, pear, and liquorice. And, ah yes, the smell of Lake Erie humidity, just down the road from CREW.

On the palate, stoic and elegant yet firm, and not giving much of flabby oak. Some hints of butterscotch, pear, and apple cider. Is the acidity just a tad high and fruit roped back behind the ring? It reminds me of the 2012 fight between Marquez and Manny.

With a big nose, this Chardonnay comes out punching like Manny sending Marquez reeling but, suddenly out of nowhere, a harmless looking punch knocks Manny out. The palate does not knock this wine out, but leaves it a bit week kneed.

Drink if you wish, but before the fight, with some chicken tarragon and cream sauce.

My impression, although worthy of a championship fight, this Chardonnay will not go a full 12 rounds. My reading of the pre-fight press hints at a distracted Pacquiao. This wine seems a bit distracted. However, as a judge on the palate, it wins some very big points. (Colchester Ridge Estate Winery Inc, 2013 Flagship Chardonnay VQA Lake Erie North Shore, Colchester Ridge Estate Winery, 750 mL, 14%, $17, Square Media Group Rating 88/100, Shores of Erie 2014 Silver Medal).

Filipino beer anyone?

With such a high class fight, can a Filipino beer cut it as you watch the fight? Let’s try the San Miguel Pale Pilsen Beer from the Philippines.

It’s a beer to have on a very hot day in Manila. Light golden colour with lots of tiny bubbles almost like Champagne. It’s a touch sweet with notes of honey and cooked rice. Short finish and not much character. In fact, it’s a bit thin but not sour like so much Canadian mass produced swill.

On the mid-palate some corn with a sweet creamy finish. Alcohol is 5%.

A six pack will cost you $11.85. Weak and wimpy and has no place in a welterweight championship.

Referred to as its flagship beer on its website, it also reveals it’s highly sexist tone by saying, “The classic brew created for men who thirst for the distinctive taste of the world’s best.” Sing me a tune sister.

See more at: Windsor Square

Tags: ,