Sunday, May 26, 2019

Indy Race Car Driver Wines for Raceday

Indy Race Car Driver Wines for Raceday Barbeque Dinner

The Indianapolis 500, the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, I consider it one of the special highlights of the Memorial Day weekend festivities and family activities. Son Ryan hosted a family barbecue featuring beef brisket he smoked over night. I brought two special wines, each produced by a former Indy Race driver - Mario Andretti and Randy Lewis, for the occasion, for watching the race.

We also celebrated my birthday after the fact and I was honored with a cake from all the grandkids!

We've long been fans of Lewis Cellars wines for numerous reasons, the eponymous 'L' label, reminiscent of the 'L' of Laverne and Shirley days, and L for wife Linda, and our two Lucy's, Granddaughter and her namesake Great-Grandmother. And, of course, the series of Lewis Cellars wines named for their grandchildren, and Alec's Blend being the namesake for our son Alec and Lewis's first grandson. For the occasion I brought a Lewis Cellars Ethan's Shiraz (Syrah) 2012.

Today, Mario Andretti was honored by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and his grandson ran in the race. We visited Andretti Cellars in Napa last summer and have since collected select Andretti premium wines, the Montona Series brand named for his birthplace city in Italy. I brought an Andretti Montona Reserve Gran Vino Cabernet Sauvignon. We discovered and acquired this wine during our visit to the Andretti Winery Estate during our Napa Valley Wine Experience 2018.

Prior to dinner, Ryan opened a Stonestreet Bear Point Vineyard Chardonnay 2012.

Ryan's spent 10 hours smoking the beef brisket on his smoker grill and it was extraordinary, undoubtedly the most succulent tasting beef I've ever encountered. It was perfectly matched with the big bold forward concentrated Lewis Syrah, and only slightly overmatched for the Andretti Cabernet.

Ryan's smoked beef brisket

Lewis Cellars Ethan's Syrah 2012

This is our favorite profile for a Syrah. (Wife) Linda loves this style of big rich chewy black and blue berry fruits.

Lewis Cellars was one of the highlights of our Napa Valley Wine Experience 2017.

From the winery: " Like a switch hitter, this wine shows Rhone character both North and South. Ripe plum, violet nectar and vanilla, plus pencil lead, loam and crushed flowers. Pure fruit on entry is lithe and athletic picking up power and lean muscle that plays seamlessly to a long clean finish." 

Dark inky purple, full bodied, rich, concentrated thick chewy tongue coasting black and ripe blue berry fruits with layers of accent tones - licorice, brown spice and graphite.

RM 93 points.

Dark garnet purple colored - full bodied - rich moderately concentrated and nicely balanced and polished black and blue fruits are accented by a layer of mocha chocolate and hint of vanilla offset by a somewhat hard tinnish graphite edge that detracts from the firm full finish.

Andretti Cellars Montona Gran Vino Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

We tasted and acquired this wine during our visit to Andretti Cellars Estate in Napa Valley during our Napa Valley Wine Experience in 2018. Gran Vino is the ultra-premium flagship of the brand being their top of the line Estate Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

Named in honor of Mario Andretti’s childhood home of Montona, Italy, the premium Montona Reserve Series wines are crafted exclusively from estate-grown grapes and other stellar vineyards within the famed Napa Valley. Each vintage, Andretti Winemaker Bob Pepi takes the finest hand-selected fruit to create wines for this acclaimed series of labels of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot and a fabulous Super Tuscan. Produced in very limited quantities, these high demand allocated wines are made available only directly from the producer, first to Andretti Winery Wine Club Members and exclusively through the Napa Valley winery and website. We procure our allocation through our membership in the Wine Club.

The 2014 Gran Vino was dark garnet colored, flavorful, boldly structured, black cherry, dark plum, notes of clove, hints of cedar and black pepper, moderate approachable tannins and hearty oak on the finish. 

RM 90 points.