Bottling up the backline

Max Crus
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Tyrrell's was established in 1858 and has been making great wines ever since

Tyrrell's was established in 1858 and has been making great wines ever since

Into the change-rooms for a victorious bubbly apre game. To the wine bar later on with team-mates for a glass of chardy with the canapes. A lightish pinot over lunch the next day following the recovery session.

Meanwhile, fans enjoy a bright sav blanc at the pub en route to the ground, sip semillon in plastic cups to get in the mood during the first quarter, followed by a few reds after halftime. At the end of the game, back to the pub again for celebratory sparkling shiraz.

Football and wine are just so beautifully matched, intertwined, inextricably linked, synergised, Bogie and Becalled, Corby and carouseled, aren’t they?

You could be forgiven for thinking so, given the level of sponsorship from wine companies.

It brings a smile to my face to see the Swans’ Bustling Barry Hall mark on the forward flank of the SCG in front of the Jacob’s Creek sign.

Or the Crow’s Andrew McLeod run the full length of the Hardy Wine Company hoarding at Footy Park.

Melbourne’s David Neitz spill some claret in front the Leconfield Estate poster at the MCG causing the occasional spillage of the real thing in the corporate box by the Hamilton Wine Group gathering above.

Yep, just about every club has a wine sponsor these days.

You can understand the Lions not having one, wine and footy are fledgling industries in Queensland. Collingwood and Port Adelaide are excused - lack of opposing thumbs.

You can’t blame the Cats, given Geelong’s reputation for the least appropriate footy wine known to mankind, pinot noir, Carlton avoid anything alcoholic after John Elliott and as for the Western Bulldogs and Kangaroos? Who cares.

Meanwhile let’s sample a few from the clubs who do boast corporate co-operation in a 250ml glass.

Swans. Orlando Jacob’s Creek Reserve Shiraz 1999, $15. This remained hidden for a number of years, clever little thing, but we found it in the end and punished it accordingly. 8/10.

Crows. Hardys Tintara McLaren Vale Grenache, 2002, $25. Quite possibly the heaviest bottle in the country. Nice retro shape, and the wine’s a bit lighter and suitably modern too. 8.6/10.

Demons. Leconfield Coonawarra 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon, $25ish probably. The distinctive ‘orangey’ label looked suave and sophisticated and altogether out of place at our table. 8.7/10.

West Coast Eagles. Houghton Cabernet Shiraz Merlot 2003, $10. Red wine below $10 is almost by definition good value regardless of the taste, assuming your car wouldn’t run on it. 7.5/10.

Essendon. Tyrrell’s Reserve Stephens Shiraz 2000, $28. A most satisfactory stablemate to the super semillon and is more your half time wine as opposed to full time. 8.8/10.

Richmond. De Bortoli Hunter Valley 2003 Verdelho, $19. Such a simple wine, perfect for football and moi. 8.2/10.

Fremantle drink from the cup of WA’s Chalice Bridge, while Hawthorn have Deakin Estate in their fridge, however since there is none of either in mine we’ll leave them until the finals where they’ll both have plenty of time for wine tasting.

Lastly, St Kilda doesn’t have a winery sponsorship, however they do boast a wine clearance house, the Wine Liquidation Centre, so any old thing will do.

© Max Crus

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