Frisbees and Snacks and Wine OH My!! : Part I

One coolest thing about life in New York City is central park. It is huge. But the best part is Sheep’s Meadow. I love sitting in the middle of it just staring at the people and taking in the skyline around me. It always amazes me how quiet the city seems from here. You’ll hear the beloved siren here and there careening through the urban canyons but other than that it’s just you and the almost silent hum of the surrounding metropolis. All walks of life in all manner of dress from bathing suits to full windbreaker and slacks are sprawled out on the grass reading, making out, doing yoga, dancing, racing, playing catch, flying kites, just walking through, rockin’ out, taking naps, tanning tops, bottoms, fronts and backs. Man, I love New York!
Frisbee and snacks and wine oh my! A couple of Sundays ago we met up with some friends in the meadow with the “Ghostbusters Building” lingering proudly in the background to do just that; some Frisbee, a little wine (a little wine?) and some munchies. So my wife and headed up to Trader Joe’s in the morning to stock the picnic basket and popped over to the T.J.’s wine shop for some cheap bubbly for the mimosas meant for breakfast. I was looking for cheap prosecco but came across some seven-dollar cava. No prob. two bottles of that and we were off. We stuffed everything into the basket caught a cab and headed towards a day of fun, relaxation and comfortable uncertainty.
I say uncertainty because we had invited a whole bunch of friends but didn’t know who was going to show. Life In NYC dictates that when inviting a large number of friends to meet in one specific spot one must not choose a specific time to meet. You just say, “We will be here around this time just give us a call if you are free or in the area.” one must also take into consideration the busy lives of people in the city on their days off. This city constantly moves and people with days off move with it. Even though they have no obligation to the man that day they are usually out and about; especially on a beautiful day. So they show up (if at all) sooner or later. They may show up early and have a glass of wine then go shopping or they will get all the “personal agenda” stuff out of the way and come by a bit later. I love it.
My wife and I arrived in Sheep’s Meadow around the time most restaurants start brunch. Perfect timing. Down went the blanket, off went the flip-flops, open was the basket, pop went the bottle and out came the spread. We got everything out and ready for whoever wanted to show and proceeded to makes mimosas and kill the first bottle. The mimosas were refreshing and perfect for an early Sunday afternoon. I thought I might try the cava by itself just for giggles and…I don’t know how to put this lightly but it was really bad. Fortunately we had the OJ to mute its flavors. It tasted like it had been filtered through cardboard. I am not one to slam a wine just because it is flawed some how but this one was exceptionally weak. But that didn’t matter because people were coming and they were brining wine and all was going to be good.
Sure enough about an hour or so into our mimosa fest Alex and Dave showed up with a blanket and some nibbles. They also brought a bottle of wine that I had heard about and always been curious about but never have tried: 2005 Goats Do Roam, that crazy South African Fairview winery in the Paarl valley coming up with crazy names derived from well-known French wine (one of them is called Bored DO, for example…get it?). This was really exciting. From what I have read this wine is a blend of a plethora or seven varietals (I just like to say the word plethora and in my head I always speak it in the voice of El Guapo in The Three Amigos! as he talks to El Jefe About the piñatas for the fiesta which is probably on of the funniest film dialogues out there). It starts out with primarily shiraz (syrah) and a good amount of the South African original, pinotage, a viticultural cross of Cinsaut and Pinot Noir created in the 1920’s. Then there is a little bit of Cinsaut with some Mourvedre. After that add a little Grenache and some merlot and round it off with small percentages of Gamay (really?) and Cabernet Sauvignon. Wow. Now that’s a blend! What was this going to taste like?
We didn’t pop the cork though. This was one of them thar’ screw cap wines. And I must say, I pop corks every day and all night long and when the restaurant is really busy I am so happy when someone orders a glass or bottle of our one screw cap wine. It’s just so easy and there is no threat of taint or TCA. Keep in mind we were in the park so there was no way of having some nice wine glasses swirl with. But, hey man that’s what going to the park is all about, right? You make do with whatever you bring (or without whatever you have forgotten, because we always forget something) and have fun with it. If your bringing high end wine to Sheep’s Meadow that sounds fun too. A little riskier but nonetheless please contact me and my wife and I would be more than happy to join.
So back to this wine. In the afternoon sun this wine had a nice deep color to it as I poured everyone a little bit to taste. The nose was a little out of control. I think the blend is the reason but I didn’t get any nuances of this or that right away. Which is fine because I believe this wine is for exactly what we were doing; hanging out with friends and talking about life and having fun; with wine and scenery as a backdrop. Speaking of fun, the palate was just that. And because it was so fun I am just going to throw down what I thought. This wine is a medium to full bodied red wine with a nice rich fruit concentration and a nice tannin structure running through and keeping the fruit in check. It has nice acidity that is noticed underneath everything else. It has smoky notes on the nose (it eventually comes out) and palate as well and on the finish where there is a lingering spice. This wine doesn’t really need to be thought about or deconstructed. It is just a fun easy drinking wine to start the party with after the white or the bubbly is gone.
As we were drinking and enjoying the wine and the day I couldn’t help thinking about how uninformed I am about South African wine. I know about the creation of pinotage and other varietals like Chenin Blanc that are doing well there but I don’t know the history of the area to well. I need to change this. I am officially in study hall with South African wine and their viticultural history. But in the meantime I must say that when the Goats Do Roam bottle was good to the last drop we had more people show up and had to send out a contingent to journey into the city for more wine. I was part of that contingent but I feel that I have kept you too long here. I will do a part two next. Because when we got to the wine shop we kind of went nuts. Cheers!


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by SkiRough on May 25, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    Sounds like a perfect NYC afternoon. 🙂


  2. Posted by Victoria on May 30, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    Looks like you guys had a perfect day. Not to shabby to have Central Park for little adventures like that. Curious to read part to and see what all the crazieness is about that you promised…


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