The Best of... The Vintage Club

The number-one ranked player in the world also finished on top with our panel of wine tasters

By: James A. Frank

Nearly a dozen Tour pros have attached their names, and reputations, to fine wines. To help guide you through the marketing hype and snobby wine terms, we asked an anonymous foursome of amateur oenophiles to taste a selection of well regarded bottlings from top golfers. Don’t find your favorite varietal? All the pros produce other wines as well. (All prices approximate.)

Luke Donald Claret 2006
Donald claims to be very involved in the creation of this red—a mixture of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot grapes from Napa Valley—from its blending to the label. It was a winner with the tasters, who found it full-bodied and delicious with a rich taste that lingered. It was also the group’s pick for best value. $40

Annika Syrah 2006
Working with the fifth generation of Wente vintners from northern California, Sorenstam has
produced an elegant, intense, almost overwhelming red—a mix of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes—that calls out for a big steak and a big cigar. Wente Vineyards also runs a fine golf course, site of a Nationwide Tour event that ran from 2006–2008. $75

Mike Weir 2008 Riesling
Weir has deep roots in the Niagara region of Canada, where he founded his winery in 2005. The only white in our tasting, this semi-dry, not too sweet Riesling is light, crisp, and refreshing, a hit with all our tasters. They were also very impressed with the price. $15

Greg Norman Estates Pinot Noir 2009
Introduced to fine wine while playing golf in Europe in the 1970s, Norman now owns vineyards both in his native Australia and California. This Pinot, from Santa Barbara County, is a light, fruity, and pleasant red that goes down easy and is perfect for drinking on a summer evening or with simple meals like pizza. $15

Ernie Els Red Blend Limited Release 2006
This is the earthiest, most complex, and most full-bodied wine in the group, a natural fit with the Big Easy’s taste for Big Reds: His winery, founded in 1999 in the Stellenbosch region of his native South Africa, is also known for Merlots, Cabernets, and Syrahs. Despite the highest price, the group gave him more than one “Well done, Ernie!” $95


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