Peter “Pistol Pete” Press Maravich (June 22, 1947 – January 5, 1988) was an American professional basketball player. Born and raised in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, Maravich starred in college at Louisiana State University (LSU) and played for three NBA teams until injuries forced his retirement in 1980. He is still the all-time leading NCAA Division I scorer with 3,667 points scored and an average of 44.2 points per game. All of his accomplishments were achieved before the three-point line was introduced to NCAA basketball and despite being unable to play varsity as a freshman under then-NCAA rules. Maravich died suddenly at age 40 during a pick-up game as a consequence of a previously undetected congenital heart defect. One of the youngest players ever inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Maravich was cited by the Hall as “perhaps the greatest creative offensive talent in history”. In an April 2010 interview, Hall of Fame player John Havlicek said “the best ball-handler of all time was (Pete) Maravich.” The man could flat out handle a basketball and shooting was effortless when the ball left his hands. . .an amazing athlete.
When we saw tonight’s wine, we DIDN’T think of Pistol Pete. . .no, that really didn’t even register on the radar. But, we liked the name—we liked that it comes from Yakima Valley, Washington, and we love that it’s a BLEND! What we learned about this wine was that the Monahan family in Zillah, Washington had partnered with Matthew and Patrick Rawn of Two Mountain Winery to create a wine made with locally grown organic grapes called La Pistola. This was the first product in the Buena Mano Vineyard series of wines, made with fruit from local growers who are committed to sustainable agriculture. In that part of the world, the summer days are brutally hot and the desert nights are mercifully cool. The wine features Merlot, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc in supporting roles. . .and, what a blend it is! The nose gives the impression of a dessert wine–a certain amount of kerosene on the nose along with dates, prunes, raisins and other rich, dried fruits. The taste and finish are very full and almost sweet–it really could pass for a light Port wine. We enjoyed this flavorful wine with pasta, veggies and a little beef on the side. It matched well on all levels. We thought the wine was tasty, but probably not something we’d buy on a regular basis. A little too sweet for our palates, we know several people who’ll want to try this immediately–because of its’ sweetness! What we DO like is the value of the wine and where it comes from. . .with a price point under $15 a bottle, once again, Washington State wines are showing good quality and great pricing. . .something that seems to be lost in its’ neighbor further south. Yes, quality is crucial in good wines. . .and price is important too, but a high price is never a guarantee for a quality bottle of wine; nor is a low price a guarantee of ‘crap’ wine either!
Having grown up watching ‘Pistol’ Pete Maravich, we sometimes wonder in today’s fast-paced media frenzied world if Pete would even be a blip on the radar screen. He made his living shooting the ball–not cramming it down the net; he made the scoreboard light up when his teammates fed him the ball–not taking it from end to end in blatant showmanship, and he was a professional. Cocky–you bet, but always a professional. Hmmm, wonder how many of today’s ‘stars’ fill that bill?
Please remember to enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.