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For a man who enjoys adopted films, Dostoyevsky and able food, Spurs drillmaster Gregg Popovich’s affection for wine is one of the few things about him that makes sense. That this attenuate alloy of above spy angry basketball adept owns a wine characterization as equally difficult to analyze additionally follows.

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What doesn’t accord is why a man whose antipathy for media has been so able-bodied accurate would name this wine for a muckraking journalist’s brilliance, alike if Jacob Riis wrote the words about the aforementioned time Dr. James Naismith invented the d Popovich accordingly mastered.

Actually, the adduce that adorns the aback characterization of anniversary Bedrock & Hammer Pinot Noir best additionally covers the walls of San Antonio’s locker allowance in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish, apery Popovich’s aesthetics in a address no biographer has able since.

“When annihilation seems to help, I go and attending at a stonecutter beating abroad at his bedrock conceivably a hundred times afterwards as abundant as a able assuming in it. Yet at the hundred and aboriginal draft it will breach in two, and I apperceive it was not that draft that did it — but all that had gone before.”

No two sentences bigger explain the Spurs coach’s art of cultivating abundance on Texas courts and Oregon vineyards, and cipher pairs the two like Popovich. Red Auerbach smoked an Hoyo de Monterrey achievement cigar. Popovich sips his acceptable Bedrock & Hammer Pinot Noir.

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In abundant the aforementioned way San Antonio’s arresting schemes are advised to apathetic the LeBron James and Kevin Durants of the NBA world, growing Pinot Noir grapes requires assiduous convenance and a aerial absorption to detail best declared in the 2004 blur “Sideways.”

It’s a adamantine grape to grow, as you know. It’s thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It’s not a survivor like Cabernet, which can aloof abound anywhere and advance alike aback it’s neglected. Pinot needs connected affliction and attention, and in actuality it can alone abound in these absolutely specific little tucked abroad corners of the world. And alone the best accommodating and adorning of growers can do it. Alone somebody who absolutely takes the time to accept Pinot’s abeyant can again allure it into its fullest expression. Then, oh, its flavors, they’re aloof the best addictive and ablaze and blood-tingling and attenuate and age-old on the planet.

It’s absurd to avoid the parallels amid Popovich’s Spurs and his Pinot Noir. In the unlikeliest of NBA cities, his abiding success as the longest tenured drillmaster in American activity coincided with the growing acceptance of a grape begin blooming forth Oregon’s coast.

As we abstruse from Jack McCallum’s admirable Sports Illustrated affection aftermost year, Popovich’s affection for both apprenticeship and wine began at California’s Moffett Federal Airfield, area he served as both an administrator in the Air Force and captain of the U.S. Armed Forces Basketball Team during Napa Valley’s 1970s wine boom. And aloof as acceptable affluence landed Tim Duncan in San Antonio for Popovich’s aboriginal abounding division on the Spurs bench, an appropriate tasting bore agnate fruit at the alone Willamette Valley winery with a basketball hoop.

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While Popovich was acceptable his aboriginal NBA appellation in 1999, Bill and Deb Hatcher still endemic Domaine Drouhin, a winery in Oregon’s Dundee Hills with roots in Burgundy, France. As TrueHoop’s Henry Abbott aboriginal relayed, Deb Hatcher had accomplished basic girls’ basketball and installed a bandage in her husband’s office. Burgundy and basketball actuality two of Popovich’s abundant passions (Burgundy’s Domaine de la Romanee-Conti has awash assorted vintages at bargain for added than $10,000 and is Pop’s white bang of wines), he took a detour through the Portland suburb during a alley trip.

As the adventure goes, Bill Hatcher, a carnal winemaker who larboard Bank Street behind, had no abstraction who the Spurs drillmaster was, and — Popovich actuality Popovich — the two became fast friends. Years later, aback the Hatchers launched A to Z Wineworks, Pop reportedly became the arch alfresco investor. In 2003, as the Spurs won their additional title, A to Z landed its aboriginal best on Aliment & Wine magazine’s Best American Pinot Noirs beneath $20. The vino has aback absurd Wine Spectator’s Top 100 account twice. In added words, it’s good, abnormally at $12 a bottle.

As allotment of Popovich’s adjustment with the Hatchers, who additionally run Rex Hill Vineyards, the winemakers additionally bottled a clandestine characterization Pinot Noir alone for the coach’s use. Thus, Bedrock & Hammer was born. You won’t acquisition it on your bounded wine shop’s shelves or rated on any of the endless wine websites, because unless you acquisition yourself in Popovich’s close amphitheater or had $760 to draft on an autographed 2011 canteen entered into bargain aftermost year, you’ve acceptable never tasted it.

Story Continues

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Popovich already hosted a tasting at the 2008 San Antonio New Apple Wine & Aliment Festival, and Express-News dining editor John Griffin snuck a sip. “It would be adamantine to brainstorm New Apple Pinot admirers not affection Bedrock & Hammer’s 2006 best based on the sample caked at the tasting,” wrote Griffin. “The wine was heavily concentrated with affluence of abundant fruit, abnormally accomplished cherries, and a bit of bacon. It may not accept been Burgundian, the appearance Popovich has been quoted as preferring, but it was an accomplished wine that lingered continued on the palate.”

And that’s reportedly advised the affliction vintage.

Popovich delivered a canteen to George Karl anniversary cruise through Denver. He aggregate a few with Spurs abettor P.J. Carlesimo during championship runs in 2005 and 2007. He alien one to Caltech drillmaster Oliver Eslinger aback the Beavers airtight a 310-game appointment accident band in 2011. “It’s one of the best wines that I’ve anytime had,” Mavericks drillmaster Rick Carlisle already said, “and I’m not a wine drinker.” But few alfresco the apprenticeship fraternity accept sipped Bedrock & Hammer.

Until beforehand this month, aback Popovich hosted the aboriginal vertical tasting of every Bedrock & Hammer best from 2004-12 alongside A to Z Wineworks co-founder Sam Tannahill at Rex Hill’s Classic Wines Bargain in Newberg, Ore. Tickets amount $750. James Beard award-winning chefs Eric Ferguson and Carmen Peirano supplied the food. Proceeds went to bristles charities, and Popovich reportedly akin donations. These are the apartment area Bedrock & Hammer resides.

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The Oregonian’s John Canzano searched for Popovich alone to ascertain four abandoned bottles, a absurd adventure about the drillmaster sending bottles of Bedrock & Hammer home with anniversary donor for the aboriginal time in the vineyard’s history and addition description of the wine from Deb Hatcher.

“It’s a able Pinot Noir. It’s different, year to year. Abounding body, richness, some aroma on the finish,” she said. “It has a admirable Pinot Noir nose. It has complexity. It’s consistently a blend; we specialize in that.”

Then she stopped.

“It aloof can’t be done. I consistently accept you accept to aftertaste the wine to allocution it.”

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The parallels amid Popovich’s Spurs and Pinot Noir never cease — according genitalia intricate and exquisite. As his Larry O’Brien bays case expands, so too has his wine “cellar,”a 240-square-foot architecture apartment almost 3,000 bottles in his backyard fashioned out of bean “the aforementioned gold-yellow as Chateau d’Yquem,” addition of the coach’s favorites that runs almost $125 a pop.

Popovich already complained about noon tipoffs bistro into his wine consumption on the eve of games, and Tony Parker has explained how wine has complete Pop in contempo years. The few claimed belief Popovich shares with the media generally absorb a bottle of wine afterward a defeat.

Three canicule afterwards a Bold 7 overtime accident to a 2006 Mavericks club accomplished by Avery Johnson — the aboriginal amateur he active aloft acceptable accepted administrator of the Spurs — Popovich told Wine Spectator, “A best in Bordeaux like 2000 or 1990 comes out, so you go get X cardinal of cases and you think, ‘How am I activity to alcohol all this afore I croak?’ Again you end up accepting nightmares that your kids are activity (to accede the wine), mix it with 7-Up and accomplish sangria.”

Likewise, in the canicule afterwards a Bold 6 accident to the Heat in the 2013 NBA Finals, aback his aggregation absent a five-point advance in the final 28 seconds, reporters asked Popovich about how he’d like to be remembered. “What’s my legacy?” he told reporters. “Food and wine. This is aloof a job.”

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A job that has now resulted in bristles championships and a win-loss almanac that ranks him amid the greatest coaches in NBA history afterward a analytical dismantling of a Cabernet best by addition developed in a specific little tucked abroad bend of the world.

Pointing to the Jacob Riis adduce on San Antonio’s locker allowance wall, Matt Bonner told The New York Times aftermost month, “Whenever I’m done with this game, that’s activity to be blind up in my abode for my kids to apprehend the blow of my life. The assignment in that assurance is why we can alpha out the way we did tonight and appear aback and win by 20 credibility — accumulate anguish the rock.”

The aesthetics serves Popovich able-bodied on the cloister and in the vineyard, although we’re larboard academic the Bedrock & Hammer Pinot Noir is as circuitous and base as the Spurs coach.

“If you don’t like it, I don’t accord a ,” he told tasters in 2008, “because we don’t advertise it.”

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