sporty grape

eli manning’s juice of champions

freeman russian river pinot noir eli manning snlYou know how they used to say eat your Wheaties and you’d be strong like all the athletes on the cereal box? Well they should do it for wine, and namely Freeman Winery should put Eli Manning on their labels.

The backstory on this photo goes down like this: Eli was at Redd, a restaurant in Napa Valley, and a fan of the wine spotted him drinking Freeman’s Russian River Valley Pinot Noir at his table. I’d also like to point out that he drank not just one but two bottles! So this guy – “Pete” as the label inscription says – got Eli to sign the bottle for him. I love how this Pete person was a fan of the wine and not the Giants! But obviously, I’m sure he’s now in LOVE with the Giants too.

Anyway, onto the true test: how is Eli’s taste in wine? As faithful grapefriends know, Eli is pretty into the grape although up until now we only heard about him drinking Sassicaia and stuff. That pricey juice is fine for Super Bowl champions, but Freeman’s a little more in everyone’s budget (about $50 for the Pinot’s). I hadn’t had any Freeman before, so the winery sent me the exact Pinot Eli popped (although mine was 2010 and I can’t tell what year Eli’s was). Normally you’d age this a lot more but I had to sample it for this post – the things I do for grapefriend!

It’s mostly made from vineyards in the Green Valley part of Sonoma, which is really close to the Pacific Ocean and makes it one of the coolest appellations in Sonoma. In addition, 2010 was a pretty cool year. Both of those things generally mean that the grapes won’t ripen as much and therefore the taste/wine is a little lower on the fruity scale.

Still, it has a really great mellow cherry taste, and the next day I tried it again and it had totally opened up. It’s way more like a Burgundy Pinot, which basically means it’s more earthy and restrained and not one of these flashy fruit bombs that some Californians pump out. That is SO Eli. He kicks it old school on the field and on his palate.

(By the way, do you think it’s a faux pas to be drinking a Sonoma Pinot in Napa? I’m not sure, but Eli’s like the Honey Badger – he don’t give a sh*t.)

Good luck on SNL tomorrow, Eli! It’s grapefriend’s bday otherwise I’d totally be heading backstage with some Freeman to cheers you!


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