Saturday, 29 January 2011

Australian Open tennis, a bizarre round of golf, plus another lovely Alsace wine

As an ardent watcher of many different sports, the Australian Open tennis always comes as a welcome relief from the winter lull in the sporting calendar (football apart, of course). And as a fan of the delectable Kim Clijsters (and what red-blooded male wouldn't be?) I spent a happy couple of hours this morning, watching her women's final victory over Li Na. I must say, it was so refreshing to watch a match of such high-quality tennis, between two athletes who play the game at a fast pace, with a high level of skill and intensity - and with nary an audible grunt or scream in the whole match. Of course, it was great to see Clijsters win, especially as her time in the game is limited by the fact that she may retire pretty soon, because she wants to spend more time seeing her kids grow up. But it was also nice to see the emergence onto the really big stage of another potential star of the future in Li Na. I like to think I'm a pretty good judge of sporting talent (I remember watching the 2003 Wimbledon Men's final - Roger Federer's first major win - and confidently pronouncing to TLD that he would become the greatest tennis player ever). And Li Na appears to be the real deal - not yet in the same league as the greats of the women's game, but I think she will go on to win a good few herself. Meanwhile, kudos to Kim! ;-)

Then it was off to the golf club, for the weekly winter team competition. 18 holes later, I had carded ‎a triple bogey, 3 double bogeys, 8 bogeys, 4 birdies, an eagle (a hole-in-one on the par-3 4th) and just 1 solitary par - which all added up to what must be the most bizarre round of golf I've ever played in my life! Some pretty woeful play was interspersed with a handful of decent drives, a few glorious short and mid-iron approach shots and a pretty hot putter. At 2 shots worse than my current 9 handicap, it was a pretty memorable "bad" round! All I want now is a victory tomorrow for Andy Murray, and a win for the Mighty Reds (a.k.a Nottingham Forest) over West Ham United in the FA Cup, and it will have been a nice weekend. :-)

Oh, and here's a note on another very fine Alsace wine, which I opened last night.........

Rolly Gassmann Gewurztraminer 2007 Alsace
I must admit that I'm difficult to please when it comes to Gewurztraminer. I love the smell of it, with those classic (and rather unmistakeable) aromas of turkish delight/rosewater and lychee, but so many of them fail to deliver the balance between fruit and acidity that I crave in a white wine, whilst those floral and tropical fruit flavours can often be almost painful to taste. But this one ticks all of the boxes. Like the Pinot Gris 2008 from the same grower, which I wrote about last night, this one has quite a deep colour (this time more of a yellow-gold) which hints at richness. Thankfully though, that richness is nicely restrained, both on the nose and the palate. All of the aromas I expect are present and correct, with the floral and exotic fruit perfume augmented by subtle notes of coriander, oregano and an intriguing (and not unpleasant) hint of emulsion paint. And whilst the palate delivers the expected hit of intense lychee and rosewater flavours, along with an unexpected element of freshly-grated root ginger, it also possesses (glory be!) a delicious and very refreshing backbone of lemon-tinged acidity. Result - a Gewurztraminer with real balance and elegance. So much so, in fact, that I can certainly see me enjoying a bottle or two more of this, for the sake of sheer pleasure, rather than just writing about it for the blog/website. Granted, it doesn't quite offer the same level of hedonism that the Pinot Gris did. That one was pretty damn special - but this is a lovely wine in it's own right. Another cracking buy at £16.75.

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