I have to say, at one point in my life I may have been a bigger basketball fan than most guys I knew. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve played basketball pretty much my whole life. I was always THE biggest nerd about playing. Playing any time of day, for as long as I wanted and whereever and whenever anyone had a ball, I was there. Whether I was travelling to Europe as youngster, or living in NYC for my short stint, I was always hanging around someone’s bball court. Hooping it up with the best of them. From Central Park to the courts I grew up on in Wisconsin, basketball was ‘my time’. My time to play, let it all out and show those boys what I had. I wasn’t afraid of anyone taller, faster or stronger than I was because I knew I had a wicked outside shot.
But today, after one back surgery later, knees that sound like crunched glass when I bend, and a career that keeps me working from morning to night – my days of hooping are limited to shooting a bucket when someone’s kids are around with a basketball in hand. And my love for everything ‘basketball’ is a little less, let’s say, ‘obsessive’ than it was 10+ years ago. I still love to watch the athleticism, ability and talent of the youngsters entering the league and support my fellow female ballers from college to the pro leagues, but there’s a little something that’s changed about ‘how’ and ‘why’ we watch basketball today. It’s not as much about the fundamental talents of these athletes anymore, it seems to be more so about the ‘show boatin’ personalities that come with the paycheck now more than ever.
I remember, in fact, the day that LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony both signed their contracts out of high school. It was such a big deal…Wow! kids out of high school straight into the NBA. It was a big deal, along with the day on Michigan Ave in Chicago when they BOTH showed up at the Nike store signing their own shoes for the public. I remember it being a huge deal, because I was there. But it was then that I remember thinking, ‘Wow, which one of the boys will be the most successful?’ and ‘Where will these two guys go from here?”. Funny thinking back, because now we know. When an entire night of television is devoted to ONE guy’s decision as to where he’ll play ball, I now think – what is wrong with our priorities! Not to mention, here we go again. Could this have been any more BRETT FAVRE to anyone else besides me? And P.S. – Does the decision have to come with 47 Mineral Water Commercials, or an actual ‘count-down’ box on my screen to tell me when LeBron was to announce his decision?! But guess what, we were sucked in. Just as everyone else in the sports world was, we too sat (shamelessly) in front of our television awaiting the facts. And today we’re right back to where we thought we’d be, knowing that King James will suit up in a Miami Heat uni this fall.
While basketball certainly wasn’t my first priority last nite, it seemed to take up a good chunk of my evening (thanks honey!). So to add a bit more excitement to the night, I thought about today’s blog and its inevitable title: What Wine Would Be Fit for a King? King James that is…
Rustling through the cellar, searching for just the right wine to hold court against the LeBron hype, I stumbled across a self labeled 2007 Korta Katarina Plavac Mali. Nika, the winemaker for Korta Katarina, slipped me the bottle upon my visit to Croatia in March. And since, have been holding on to it for the perfect time to drink it. How could this have not been any more perfect? With a 2006 Korta Katarina Plavac Mali already open, I thought…what a perfect chance for a side by side comparison tasting.
Here’s what I found and I’m not really sure I should say more than this (but I will): LOOK OUT SPECTATOR!
A wine that could totally and single-handedly put Croatian wine on the map. While most of you know that I am already a huge fan of Korta Katarina Winery and their current 06 Plavac Mali – this, my friends is true testament as to what our Eastern European friends are up to.
My notes: The wine is deep with back notes of depthy dirt, minerality, smoked cedar, licorice, dried prunes and dried herbs. The fruit is not as overt as the 2006, even as the alcohol levels exceed its previous vintage. The alcohol is masked by this intense dried herbal element, mashed in with supple pruned fruit, delicious dirt and earth smells along with amazing lifted notes of vanilla. And the palate, just like you were drinking the stars…sorry Dom, Croatian Stars that is. Lush on the palate, yet dry and perfectly balanced with silky interwoven tannins, supple fruit as was on the nose and mouth-watering goodness. Oh my. Could be one of my favorite wines this summer.
And as I sat savoring, oohhing and ahhhing over my new love – alas King James’s announcement came…
And I thought, finally a wine… perfectly fit for a King, even a King James (that is). Yum. Can’t wait for you all to try it (next vintage)!