Euro 2012, the Finals- High Noon in my Cellar

 A delayed post to sum up a GREAT event; The Euro 2012 Final


So as the teams get ready for the BIG FINALE, sorting out their players, see who is fit and who would have to miss the squad. Prepare the list of substitutes, the strategy of game, against a known “enemy” on an unknown day. Isn’t that what makes Sport in general and football in particular a mostly harmless (not always!!), substitute of WAR?!


Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has said he will try to find out the weaknesses in the Spain team, and would then set up his team to exploit those during their Euro Cup final showdown on Sunday in Kiev.

We did not invent these notions, us humans of the 20th and 21st century.

The ancient Olympic Games are shrouded in mystery and legend but first records indicate that they began in 776 BC in Olympia west Peloponnesus Greece. They were celebrated until 394 AD when they were suppressed by Theodosius claiming them to be a ritual of a pagan cult. The Games were usually held every four years, or Olympiad, as the unit of time came to be known. During a celebration of the Games, an Olympic Truce was enforced, wars were willingly stopped in their midst without resolve, allowing free and safe pass to all soldiers / athletes who traveled from their countries to the Games in safety. The prizes for the victors were wreaths of laurel leaves Hellanodikis used to place a sacred olive tree wreath- kotinos, on the winner’s head.


I know I have made a slight U turn from the issue at hand, after all it is my blog, but I’ll get back to the point.

So, as the teams got ready I had to get cracking, choosing the right team from the wines of each country ONLY from my own humble cellar, this is not an easy task since the cellar is unfortunately not amazingly stocked with THE Great wines of any of these wonderful wine countries, but I thinks I can manage fairly on both sides so: same disadvantages or “rules” apply on both sides, FAIR? and so the showdown begins it’s HIGH NOON in my Cellar!


They stand in the tunnel the tension is sky high, I am a bit concerned with the gloom on Casillas face he is usually calm (he is a well trained War Horse), but not today! does he feel the weight of the occasion? Or is he not 100% fit??? On the other side, Buffon is calm and assured on the outside (the poor bugger one of the world’s BEST goalkeepers will collect the ball 4 times from inside the net (But we know all that by now, apologies for the delay)

On the “wine field” the match is more even… I can turn it with words to either side… for… if the final score would have been different (in Italy’s favor) I would still present the same wines as “my teams” but twist it in favor of the outcome so let us be fair, the cellar does contain some great wines from good to great vintage years to represent a winning team on either side… Same as the teams in front of us but how will they perform as a team? Will the sommelier (open the bottles on time to serve them at their best, let them breath to just the right point of oxidation, decide to decant a wine of sorts oversee the correct serving temperature to name but a few of his responsibilities.

The line up




                                                                         01 Casillas

                                  03 Pique,   15 Ramos,   17 Arbeloa,   18 Alba 

             06 Iniesta (Mata – 87′ ),  08 Xavi ,  10 Fabregas (Torres – 75′ )

                            14 Xabi Alonso,   16 Busquets,    21 Silva (Pedrito – 59′ )

Substitutes:  07 Pedrito,  09 Torres,  13 Mata

Sommelier Coach– Vicente del Bosque: A coach to envy, with all the talent he has at hand. The players like his calm approach to the squad. He lead his side to the 2010 World Cup final and Cup. Winning the Euro 2012 title will place him among the all-time great national managers/coaches.


  1. Vega Sicilia Unico 1991 – (Iniesta ) This is Vega sicilia Gran Reserva wine produced only on good vintage years. It is released only on Super Vintages and released a minimum of 10 years or even more after the vintage. Made from the oldest vines in the Ribera del Duero, the wine is mostly Tempranillo ( 80%) and Cabernet Sauvignon ( 20%)

The 1991 Unico Reserva, Laid down for 14 yeard before release on 2005. With a deep dark purple color. Aromas of black ripe forest berries soaked in a good brandy, some Vanilla, dried fruits figs and aromatic Cigar noticeable touch. Very powerful “encounter” on the palate but the tannins are rounded though present, will go on evolving. It’s has great finesse combined with a great balance of youthful fruit and tannins to keep it alive for another 20-30 years.

  1. La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904 Cosecha 1987 – (Casillas) A wine glistening in brilliant, red colour with light brown edges. The wine is still extremely aromatic and elegant In the mouth, with notes of cinnamon cloves and all spice with a touch of vanilla. It is now smooth with rounded tannins flowing on the palate but has a very long satisfying finish  It will continue to develop tertiary aromas and approachability.
  2. L’Ermita Alvaro Palacios 1997  -( Xavi)  ” Powerful aromas of ripe black fruit  in blueberry Jam, good oncentration of fruits and precise balance with tannins. This must be Spain’s most expensive wine! It reveals a pleasant liqueur touch on the nose as well as on the palate. It is elegant with but powerful, with fresh fruit and pleasant minerality characteristic of its geological origins in Priorat. Great stuff (it wasn’t a waste on you guys “The Wine Guzzlers”  that memorable night in Paris…
  3. Marques de Riscal 1994 Gran Reserva

This Gran Reserva contains 20% of Cabernet Sauvignon and of course  70% tempranillo and 10% mazuelo Probably the best Rioja vintage of the nineties.  Aged 29 months in American oak, then three years in bottle, to become a multilayered wine of great surprise

  1. Marques de Caceres 1994 Gaudium

A new super Riojan from Caceres, made only in the best vintage years. Aged in French oak and produced under the watchful eyes of the “flying Oenologist” Michel Rolland. This effort resulted in a wine with aromas of black ripe cherries with a touch of cedar shaving and tobacco with a touch of Mediterranean herbs. It comes out as an elegant wine with fine tannin structure. Very good length and vitality.


6. Muga Reseva 1988 Rioja

7. Vega sicilia, Tinto Valebuena No 5 Ribera del duoro cosecha 1992

8. Bodegas del Marques de Vargas Rioja Reserva Privada 1994

9. 1994 Miguel Torres Cabernet Sauvignon Gran Coronas Reserva Mas La Plana

10. Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Rioja 1986    When all wines in Spain were local wines consumed by local   people Ygay Gran Reserva was the Spanish wine Ambassador around the world.

11. Marques de Morrieta Ygay Reserva 1988 Rioja

12. Marques de Haro Gran Reserva 1989 Larioja Alta  This is a dbl. Magnum (3 L) special edition wine for the millenniu


13. Marques de Riscal Reserva 1993

14. Parés Baltà Mas Irene 2003 (Arbeloa)

15. Lustan Pedro Ximénez Murilla , 100 Anos 1896-1996 A Massive sweet wine

16. Don PX Pedro Ximénez Gran Reserva (1972)Cordoba Sweat Nectar

17. Torre Muga 2004 Bodegas Muga Rioja – Wine Spectator magazine, rated Torre Muga 2004 amongst their 10 best red wines of the world list for 2007.

The Line up




                                                                        01 Buffon

          03 Chiellini (Balzaretti – 21′ ),   07 Abate,  15 Barzagli,  19 Bonucci,

                      08 Marchisio,   16 De Rossi,  18 Montolivo (Motta – 56′ ),  21 Pirlo  

                                    09  Balotelli ,  10 Cassano (Di Natale – 46′ )


    06 Balzaretti,   05 Motta,   11 Di Natale

 Italy coach / sommelier, Cesare Prandelli – After 5 successful years in Fiorentina agreed to try and save the Nation from a disastrous past champagne brought new young players entrusted the Azure (Blue team), in their talented feet they did well on the field and made Italy proud.


The Wines:

  1. 1.    1990 Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva Villa Antinori – (Buffon) An old timer always reliable, sound Toscan wine.
  2. 2.    Sassicaia 2004 – (Pirlo) The best Sassicaia of the last 10 years…A great wine always performs well.
  3. 3.    1998 Isole e Olena Cabernet Sauvignon Collezione de Marchi Toscana IGT
  4. 4.    Cepparello 1990 – always shines amongst the best in good  vintages. The ’90 is sleek and focused, with vivid blackberry, tar and cedar character. Full-bodied, with full, silky tannins and a super finish. Made from Sangiovese.
  5. 5.    Isole e Olena Cepparello 2006
  6.   Isosole e Olena Cepparello 2005:
  7. Isole e Olena, Vin Santo 1997 (bottled 2003) Deep Amber colour, with golden ccopper hue. A dessert wineto die for!!! This the closest you get to the Nectar of the Gods (chosen by Zeus off Dionysus hands), Honeyed thick wine to the eye with rich scents dried figs and raisins and dried orange peel still light on the palate without the sugar overtones other Vin santo’s have, due to good balancing acidic touch some vanilla on the finish make it the perfect desert a blessing to god and men. But I wrote all that in one of the past posts: Utopia etc.


8.    Castellare Chianti Classico 2000

With Intense ruby red in color. The bouquet is very fruity with spiced deep black cherries aroma, very well balanced Chianti with rounded approachable tannins. It reminds blackcurrants and Plum confiture, Yumm

9.    2007 Ripasso Bosan della Valpolicella Superiore ,   Producer: Gerardo Cesari  Veneto  Grapes: Corvina, Rondinella. Alcohol Volume: 14.00% From the Bosan vineyard one of Gerardo Cesari in Valpolicella

This wine is made by refermentation of Valpolicella wines of the same or previous vintage on the fermented grapes used in the Amarone production process: ripasso. The wine gains depth in colour, body, aromas and tannins and extra 1-1.5% alcohol by the process. Winemaking Notes Grapes: 80% Corvina, 20% Rondinella.

10. 1997 Brigaldara Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG, Veneto, Italy

One of Veneto’s most famous and prestigious wines.

11. Badia a Coltibuono Sangioveto Toscana IGT 1997

12. Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino 1997

13. 1998 Tedeschi La Fabriseria, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG, Italy

14. Masi Valpolicella  1993

You should all know by now that Spain won 4:0 and went into the history books of world football by winning the last 3 major tournaments they qualified for 2 consecutive Euro Finals and the Mondial becoming Champions of the world with talent and style!!!

Players to remember from both teams:


The wines were all wines to remember in their own way some were better than others, but this is how it always goes… As you see the Spanish sommelier had more quality wines at hand on the substitutes bench and he made better use of them to bring the team to the winning position they did deserve, on the day

We’ll meet again during the Olympic games for (almost) more of the same with new faces and different sports.

Your wineguide

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