SHARP & Mark Anthony Wines
Although he’s better known for his hard work and determination on the basketball court, Toronto Raptors power forward Precious Achiuwa is also pretty serious about mastering wine. He takes notes, keeps track of every wine he tastes, uses road games as opportunities to learn more about different wine regions, and pays close attention to which bottles pair best with different foods — which is what piqued his interest in wine in the first place.
Was there a single “aha” bottle of wine experience that got you interested? If not, what was it that piqued your interest?
There wasn’t a single bottle, but more learning the story behind wine and how it complements different dishes. When I look for new wines to try, I like to consider the story behind the wine, food pairings, and experiences.
As an NBA player, you travel a lot. Does that travel give you an opportunity to explore interesting wine regions and trends in different cities?
Yes, it does. When I travel to California and Oregon, I have easy access to wines in those regions. My favourite wine region I’ve visited so far has been Napa Valley, because it’s known for producing my favourite varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon. A region I’d like to explore more of is Sardinia in Italy, because it’s known for prestigious red wines.
Do you take notes and keep track of every wine you’ve ever tasted?
Yes, I do. I’m an investor in an app called InVintory and I keep track of wines. Cabernet Sauvignon has been my most-tried varietal.
What’s in your cellar? Are you collecting any really special bottles?
Beringer Napa Valley Chardonnay and Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon are two of my favourite wines currently in my cellar, as I know they will age nicely. Other great wines in my cellar are the Stags’ Leap Cabernet Sauvignon and Mission Hill Oculus.
California Chardonnay is famous for a reason. What do you appreciate most about a classic expression such as the one from Beringer?
The 2021 Chardonnay is vibrant, luscious, and crisp, which makes it a classic example of Napa Valley Chardonnay. It offers mouth-watering flavours, like citrus, and is incredibly smooth.
What’s your favourite thing about an iconic Napa Valley Cab such as Stags’ Leap?
Stags’ Leap is known for producing high-quality wines — some of the best in the Napa Valley region. I find their 2019 Cab Sauv to be an easy go-to wine. It offers flavours of berry alongside floral and warm spice notes that make it a versatile wine that pairs well with many dishes, like steak.
A big part of the legacy at Mission Hill is Oculus. What is it that makes this wine so special?
Oculus is one of the best wines I’ve tried from the Okanagan Valley. Everything is meticulously hand-picked, sorted, and crafted to create a wine with balance and complexity. It’s a blend of Merlot, Cab Franc, and Cab Sauv. Each varietal pulls through unique flavours, with the Merlot providing hints of red and blue fruit, the Cab Franc enriching the flavour with herbaceous undertones, and the Cab Sauv supporting the length of the palate.