BASEBALL WINE ISN’T FANCY. It can be red, white or pink as long as it’s easy drinking and pairs well with sports-fan fare, like hot dogs, wings and the iconic peanuts and Crackerjacks. In the parking lot, in front of the TV or huddled in windswept bleachers, most wines work just fine. And to make it even more fun to root for the home team, Major League Baseball (MLB) actually sells wines branded with team labels.
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As luck would have it the Yankees and the Mets have a range of wines, including some reds that can stand up to even the butteriest (and most delicious) of fake popcorn butter. I opened a few bottles while flipping around various sports channels to set the mood for my “Subway Series of Winetasting.”
The program started when New York-based marketing firm Wine by Design struck a deal with MLB intellectual property. The two then teamed up with Plata Wine Partners, a large California wine producer that sources grapes from more than 25,000 acres of vineyards in the Central Coast, Napa and Sonoma. Team wines were designed with an eye to Plata’s wine inventory and immediate consumption. This means they can vary by appellation and varietal but the exact vineyard and technical specs aren’t important. It’s all about the cool label and a tasty, lucrative way for wine-drinking baseball fans to show support.
The only team wine actually from New York grapes is the Yankees 2013 Reserve Finger Lakes Dry Riesling by Anthony Road on Seneca Lake ($17 a bottle). It was definitely a great choice for those who like fruity, crisp whites. At 8g/L residual sugar, I wouldn’t call it super-dry, but too dry doesn’t go well with classic Nacho Cheese Doritos anyway.
I also drank the 2013 New York Mets Cabernet Sauvignon Club Series from Paso Robles. There’s a 2013 New York Yankees Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon, too, and by the descriptions on the MLB site, and understanding how a company like Plata operates, I suspect they are very similar.
Paso Robles is a hot, dry Central Coast area in California, and the wine tasted exactly like what it is. Very ripe prune-like flavors predominate, but there’s also some nice black cherry, too. It definitely improved as it came up to room temperature and got a little air. I would recommend decanting it, but then you can’t see the all-important label. We just drank it slowly and it tasted great by the time we toasted our team’s victory with the very last glass.