The World Goblet Round 3: Portugal vs. South Africa

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While scanning the World Cup groups in order to plan our daytime drinking over the next month, Gut Check noticed that most of the great wine-producing nations are represented in the tournament field, including all of those with a reputation for crafting good, value-priced wines. Because Gut Check never saw a value we didn't like, we resolved to stage our own tournament to determine the 2010 World Goblet Champion.

Well, it's 18th and final match of the group stages. Even now our semifinalists aren't decided, as a win from Portugal will put that nation in a three-way tie with France and New Zealand for the fourth and and final spot. For this match the Portuguese send out another Dão, this time with a bit more bottle age and, unfortunately, a slight penalty for exceeding our $12 price limit by two bucks. The South Africans hope to send Portugal's wine home to join its soccer team and score their first points of this tournament with a blend of shiraz and cabernet sauvignon.

To view all 2010 World Goblet matches to date, click here...

Next: Do we ever find ourselves with no pithy epigraph to stick in here? Oh, shut up.

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Dave Nelson
2004 Callabriga Dão ($14)
Oh boy, almost black. What starts off smelling like ripe plums quickly turns to prunes and blueberry jam. There's a hearty whack of well-toasted oak in there, as well, sticking out like one of those cheap car air fresheners that look like trees. Jeez, this wine's only six years old; where's all the lumber coming from? Woody and fruity in your mouth, too, to the exclusion of whatever else lies beneath. This bottle might garner wine-mag points, but it'll get Portugal nowhere in the quest for the coveted World Goblet.

2009 The Royal Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon ($12)
Nice to see a red wine that's red. The aromas are kinda thin to begin with, but if you hold 'em up to the light you can smell cranberry, herbs and a dash of chile peppers. All that changes after about half an hour out in the fresh air, as raspberries charge to the fore. Very tasty once it gets rolling, with a nice balance between fruit and acidity.

Result: South Africa

From the outrageously beefy bottle to the virtual lumberyard's worth of oak, the Portuguese entrant only earns points for trying so darn hard. All the accoutrements in the world can't disguise a shallow wine. As for the South African, by all means seek this one out. Just make sure to give it some air in the glass before you set to sippin'.

Group A Standings:

Country

W

L

T

Pts

Spain

2

0

1

7

Portugal

1

1

1

4

Argentina

1

2

0

3

South Africa

1

2

0

3


This result sets up our semifinals as follows:
Spain vs. New Zealand
Australia vs. France



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