Great Wines To Bring Along To A Polo Match

Roberto Viernes
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Wednesday - September 29, 2010
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A round, rich blend

It is an exhilarating sensation when you feel the power and hear the sound of horses rushing in front of you a mere 10 feet away.

The sound of their hooves pounding the earth and their heavy breathing - air rushing to fill their huge lungs with oxygen to power their massive muscles that launch them toward the ball - is amazing.

You literally feel the sound in your own body.

This was the very first time I attended the polo games at the polo fields in Waimanalo. I was inspired to see that many of the spectators were drinking mostly wine.

Not that I was expecting anything less, but I was impressed.

I even saw a couple drinking out of Riedel “O” Series glasses.

Polo originated in Persia as early as 500 B.C. as a training game and exercise for cavalry. It became a game for nobility, and was transported by Muslim conquests throughout the Middle East, India and then to Asia. The English picked it up in India in the early part of the 19th century, but it wasn’t until the late 19th century, when James Gordon Bennett Jr., publisher of the New York Herald, opened the first polo club in New York that polo came to the U.S.

With polo’s noble roots and mostly upscale participants and consumers, it is easy to see the natural affinity for wine at these matches.

One of the finest Champagnes in its class

Here are some wines that I think would make a great accompaniment to the games: The first is the 2008 14 Hands “Hot to Trot” Red ($10). This blend of Syrah, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Mourvedre has a juicy, red-berry character with notes of cinnamon spice and a round and rich texture. It is generous with fruit on the palate and would be great with some barbecued ribs.

Those looking for an exotic white would be glad to find a bottle of 2008 Wild Horse Viognier ($16). It smells like peaches, apricots, jas-mine and flowers. Not as heavy as some Chardonnays, but definitely not light either. It has a ripe apricot flavor with orange and apple complexities. Chilled and served with some salmon or clam dip, this bottle will disappear before the second half of the match.

And what would a polo match be without a bottle of Champagne?

Champagne Roederer was the supplier to Russian nobility, why shouldn’t it be for you? Roederer Brut Premier ($49) is truly one of the finest in its class: elegant, complex, luxurious and always satisfying.

I told my wife, who loves horses, that we should return with friends and wines of our own choosing the next time. It’s a ton of fun.

As far as dress code, some ladies were finely dressed replete with big hats and heels. But it can be as casual as you want it to be.

The matches are inexpensive (only $3 admission for adults, free for children), family-friendly and you can bring your own wine and food.

Adding great wine to the rush of horses will only increase the exhilaration and fun.

Roberto Viernes is a master sommelier. E-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
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