Wine Talk: What's Golf Got to Do with It?
Author: Krissy Cantelupe
April on Hilton Head Island is a time for golf. You probably know that the Verizon Heritage Golf Tournament takes place every year at the Harbour Town Golf Links. Many famous golfers from all over the world compete for prize money while spectators enjoy a week of fun and excitement. What you may not know is that some golfers, in addition to spending time on the course, spend time making their own wine and even own vineyard property. What could be more fun than hosting a Heritage party and serving wines bearing the names of these famous golfers?
Greg Norman’s passion for wine led him to launch Greg Norman Estates, which now encompasses vineyards in both Norman’s native Australia and in California. The project began in Australia in the areas of Victoria and the Limestone Coast. California projects include Santa Barbara, Paso Robles and Lake County, to name a few. The 2003 Limestone Coast Cabernet Merlot blend received 91 points from Wine Spectator. Smooth, with currant and plum flavors on the finish as well as overtones of toast and cedar, this wine is a great value, retailing at $20—perfect for everyday drinking.
In 2003, legendary golfer, Arnold Palmer, and Mike Moone, the founder of Luna Vineyards of California, collaborated to create Arnold Palmer wines. These longtime friends released the first Arnold Palmer Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay in 2005, targeted towards high-end restaurants, wine shops and some of the most famous golf facilities in the world.
Some of the best quality wines from South Africa carry the name of Ernie Els. The concept of Ernie Els Wines was born out of a friendship between Els and Jean Engelbrecht in 1999, with the winery opening in 2004 on Engelbrecht’s family wine estate in Stellenbosch. The 2003 Ernie Els is a Bordeaux blend of 61 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 25 percent Merlot, 5 percent Malbec, five percent Cabernet Franc, and four percent Petit Verdot. Rated 92 points by Wine Spectator, this wine has fresh berry aromas with mocha, black currant and fig on the palate and a big, full-bodied finish. Because of limited production, the retail price is a bit steep for everyday, but perfect for dinner parties and to impress your friends.
For the collector, David Frost has a fantastic website at www.frostwines.com, where you can see vintages dedicated to some of the best golfers in the world, including Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. Labels are adorned with artwork featuring the golfer. A portion of the proceeds benefit the charity of the golfer’s choice. A third generation vintner, Frost grew up working and playing on his father’s vineyard, hitting golf balls, and picking grapes during harvest to make money to play golf. He currently owns vineyard property in South Africa in the Paarl region which he purchased in 1994. The Wines of David Frost can be found in fine restaurants, resorts, and golf clubs throughout the world.
Since April is the month for golf, consider celebrating with wines that honor some of the greatest golfers in the world.