We love the Six Nations Rugby tournament and we enjoy nothing more than sipping a glass of wine as we watch Europe’s leading players slug it out on the pitch. For a little fun, we’ve been thinking about which of our wines would represent some of the star players.
The Scottish captain this year is Stuart Hogg, a player known for his commitment to performing well and of whom much is expected in the tournament. A wine that encompasses all of the Hawick man’s attributes would need to come from an area with strong traditions and a consistently high output. That wine would also require some depth, a dash of flair and the ability to fizz into action.
One of the stars of the England set up is Maro Itoje, a highly intelligent, multi-talented individual. His wine would be deceptively cultured and soft, have hidden depths and several unexpected facets. Made in high quality, refined style, it would be acknowledged as outstanding by other winemakers from the same country and would attract envious glances from those elsewhere.
Jacob Stockdale is a young man with impressive values. His work on a cross-community peace project is a sign of hidden depth. Genuine and fresh without any affectations that detract from the wholesome, traditional background from which it has emerged, the Jacob Stockdale wine would be reliable in its quality, intense and made using a modern version of traditional methods.
Stockdale's wine: Merla, Celler de les Aus, Alella, Spain 2017
Wales captain Alan Wyn Jones has established a reputation for consistency and reliability. He is the second most capped player in world rugby. Wyn Jones emerged from an unfashionable club in an area that includes several better known teams. He is not the most glamorous player but he commands respect for his consistency, an uncompromising approach and a maturity that few of his rivals can come close to matching.
Matthieu Jalibert is a rising star in a team that is evolving. His wine would be young, with great potential and made with flair. It would also be light bodied, lively and less well known than some of established, more mature alternatives. But its unsung qualities would be lurking just below the surface and ready to make an impact that will take some people by surprise.
Sergio Parisse’s wine would be mature and full bodied. He is a wily old fox who has been at the top of international rugby for many seasons and is renowned for his commitment and consistency. Those characteristics match up with a wine (Volpi means foxes in Italian) that is made using sustainable methods, offers excellent value for money and is the result of commitment and hard work by the vineyard’s owners.
Parrisse's wine: Montepulciano, Era Volpi, Molise, Italy 2018