NFL Super Star Charles Woodson’s “Intercept” Pinot Noir Paired with Smoked Ham #WinePW #BHM

NFL Super Star’s Intercept Pinot Noir Paired with Smoked Ham

In football, it’s all about the team, and how well they partner together. For the Super Bowl, it’s 53 players on a team, offensive and defensive, working together to make plays that win games.

Wine also is about team work: growing grapes, harvesting them at the right time, making them into wine. For Intercept, wine aficionado, television personality, retired football superstar, and one of the all-time leaders in NFL interceptions, NFL Super Star Charles Woodson partners with O’Neill Vintners & Distillers.

Intercept Pinot Noir from a partnership with Charles Woodson and O’Neill

Founded in 2004 by entrepreneur and industry veteran, Jeff O’Neill, this family-owned and operated winery also produces Line 39, Robert Hall, Harken, Exitus, Day Owl and  Austerity. The recipient of the Wine Institute’s Seventh Annual Sustainable Winegrowing California Green Medal Leader Award, O’Neill Vintners & Distillers demonstrates excellence in leadership and a commitment to sustainability and they believe sustainability is the ultimate expression of their commitment to people, planet and profit. 

In 2020, O’Neill installed BioFiltro’s largest worm powered winery wastewater system to filter more than one million gallons of wastewater per day. They are studying regenerative viticulture at O’Neill-owned Robert Hall Winery in Paso Robles to enhance biodiversity and minimize environmental impact while informing regenerative farming practices and carbon sequestration that others can replicate. As O’Neill also purchases grapes, they support more than 200 California grape growers responsible for 15,000 planted acres to become sustainably certified with the goal to source 100% sustainably farmed fruit by the end of 2022; O’Neill is 85% there. 

O’Neill’s commitment to diversity supports the future development of a diverse workforce with two four-year college room and board Charles Woodson & O’Neill Family Scholarships and internship opportunities to advance BIPOC representation.

With BIPOC wines on the agenda for Wine Pairing Weekend this month, we wondered:

What better wine to elevate your Super Bowl Party or Black History Month gathering than one from NFL Super Star and Super Bowl Alumni Charles Woodson? 

A Super Bowl champion, nine-time Pro Bowl defensive back, NFL Defensive MVP, and Heisman Trophy winner, Charles Woodson played in the NFL for 18 years with his final season in 2015. He is considered by many to be one of the greatest defensive players to have ever played.

From Gridiron to Grapes. “My love of wine happened organically while being in Napa Valley during training camp while playing for the Oakland Raiders in the 90’s.” says Charles Woodson in a press release.  “The way people connected with wine intrigued me and I wanted to be a part of it.” Woodson says. “I created Intercept for my fans.  The fans demanded it.   They wanted more from me and I wanted to deliver.  My fans wanted to connect with me after football and wine is the great connector.” 

“For both the wine business and in football, if you want longevity, you must work hard.   If you want to make a great wine that can stand the test of time, then you must put the time and the work into it,”  says Woodson.   “This was even true to finding the location. After touring the Paso Robles and Monterey area, I knew I had found the right home for Intercept.  The perfect pairing, so to speak,” adds Woodson.

Intercept Pinot and pate pairs well

Charles Woodson’s Intercept’s line of wines hail from Paso Robles and Monterey County and include:

  • CABERNET SAUVIGNON Composition: 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 8% Petite Sirah, 3% Zinfandel , 2% Petit Verdot, 1% Syrah
  • RED BLEND Composition: 40% Petite Sirah, 30% Zinfandel, 15% Petit Verdot, 10% Tempranillo, 5% Syrah
  • CHARDONNAY Composition: 100% Chardonnay, From the Adelaida and Templeton Gap Districts
  • PINOT NOIR Composition: 100% Pinot Noir, from Santa Lucia Highlands (90%) and Paso Robles (10%)

Pairing with Pinot and Pigskin

  • Cheese plate with brie, pate, pear, cashews, olives
  • Baked Polenta with mushrooms
  • Puff Pastry with spinach, bacon, Taleggio cheese
  • Beet salad with spiced nuts, lavender and fennel goat cheese
  • Smoked ham 

Pinot pairs well with pork

2017 Charles Woodson “Intercept” Pinot Noir
SRP around $20
ABV 15.0% 
sample for my review

Color: Light density, raspberry, garnet, golden rim.

Aroma: Sweet vanilla oak, cherry pipe tobacco, amber, cranberry.

Palate: oaky pinot; heavy hitting; commercial wine; heavy, substantial, sit int eh cigar room with your bodies –it has it’s place — it’s a cab of a pinot — it’s a pinot for people who want a heavier wine and who enjoy cabernet.

Pairing: Pate brought out rose petals in the wine. While the wine works with the brie, it really loves the pate: the spices in the pate enhance the wine so nicely. Rich food cuts through the heavy oak treatment so well. Think osso bucco or lamb shanks. Sue was surprised that she was ready to put more wine in her glass because with the oak it was not her favorite wine but once paired with the right food it worked for her. Pork and pinot is a winner, and in this case the smoked ham stood up well to the oaky pinot. The earthy flavors in the beet salad also worked well. 


Host David Crowley offered these resources in his preview post which you can read here.

Looking for more ideas for BIPOC wines with pairings? The Wine Pairing weekend crew of wine writers got you covered! You’re invited to join our twitter chat 8am Pacific Saturday– just search for the #WinePW hashtag and check out these articles:

  • Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm shares “Here’s to Longevity. Cheers!!”
  • Culinary Adventures with Camilla is sharing “Cherry-Kissed Pairing: Maison Noir’s Horseshoes and Handgrenades + Steaks in a Cherry Pan Sauce” 
  • Linda from My Full Wine Glass shares “Back to Brown Estate – for Zin this time”
  • Deanna from Wineivore pairs Long Life Noodles + Longevity Chardonnay with a Unique Twist /
  • Susannah from Avvinare features “a “a trio of delightful wines from Theopolis Vineyards
  • Here on Wine Predator we contribute 3 articles:
    Organic Field Number Fifteen Fulfills a Lifelong Dream in El Dorado
    NFL Super Star Charles Woodson’s “Intercept” Pinot Noir Paired with Smoked Ham” 
    “We Say “Kiwa’nan” to Kita with 3 Blends by Tara Gomez Paired with Soul Food”
  • Nicole from SommsTable is “Cooking to the Wine: Longevity Pinot Grigio with Crab Cakes
  • David from Cooking Chat will pair “Berbere Lentil Chili with Rosé from the McBride Sisters”


Pinot and pate

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