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Nick Mangold: Wine Connoisseur

When you look at New York Jets center Nick Mangold what do you think?

How about wine connoisseur? Not your first guess? Same with me. But apparently, the big fella likes his fine wine as Greg Bishop of the NY Times details.

Mangold realized he loved wine — really, really loved it — when he opened a 2005 cabernet from his trip to California and was transported back to Napa Valley with one sip. He decided to learn more after that but resolved to never become what he called a wine snob.

In one corner of his basement, Mangold built a makeshift wine cellar, where he stores more than 200 bottles reserved for special occasions. He supplements that supply with weekly trips to Gary’s Wine & Marketplace, of which Mangold said: “Apparently, I go there way too much. It’s like my Cheers. There’s a real possibility I’m Norm.”

Teammates may tease Mangold the wine connoisseur — “Sometimes, I’m like, ‘Dude, you’re an offensive lineman,’ ” Slauson said — but they ask for advice. Quarterback Mark Sanchez once called Mangold before a date, as did lineman Rob Turner, who married the woman to whom he served Mangold’s recommended bottle (a Napa Valley merlot, 2006).

During an interview last week in the Jets’ cafeteria, Mangold said that if the Jets won the Super Bowl, he would celebrate with Vineyard 29’s cabernet. But for his last meal, he would try Screaming Eagle, which he never purchased because it costs several thousand dollars a bottle.

Eventually, Mangold wants to make his own wine, even in small quantities. Until then, he hosts the occasional tasting for teammates and always orders for the offensive line at dinner.

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