If you win one of golf’s majors, you might want to celebrate by opening a great bottle of red wine. On the other hand, if you win nine of them, as South African Gary Player has done, you might want to celebrate by launching your own series of commemorative wines.
This winter saw the release of the first of these bottlings, the 2003 Gary Player Major Championship Series Muirfield ’59 ($80, playerwine.com), in honor of Player’s win at the British Open in Muirfield, Scotland, in 1959, the first major of his storied career.
Player and his son, Marc—the wine lover in the family, as Player rarely drinks—enlisted South Africa’s Quoin Rock Winery to produce the Player wines. There will be nine releases bottled by the winery, each celebrating one of Player’s majors (with a further nine provisionally planned for his victories on the Champions Tour).
The 2003 Muirfield ’59 is a savory, full-bodied Bordeaux-style red—a blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, pinotage and shiraz—with an aroma that recalls the smoky intensity of Lapsang souchong tea. Sourced from vineyards in both the Cape Agulhas and Stellenbosch wine regions, it drinks superbly now, but thanks in part to the terrific 2003 vintage in South Africa, it’s powerful and complex enough to improve over at least a decade in the cellar.