The Oakland A's can't hit. But they can ferment.
Tonight I finally tried this year's version of A's brand Merlot, once again made from Napa Valley fruit by Markham Vineyards.
Markham president Bryan Del Bondio is a big baseball fan. The winery doesn't make a big profit from producing a few hundred cases of A's Brand Merlot, but Del Bondio does get to go to a few ballgames. Of course, this will be more fun when the A's get some offense. But a nice plastic glass of A's Merlot (a relative bargain at $7.50) does make the current rebuilding season more palatable.
This is just what you want in a ballpark red: It's rich and smooth, with nice black fruit flavor and no rough edges. I smelled a bit of lumber (oak) but didn't taste any. It went nicely with my French dip sandwich. One could argue that a wine with a little more acidity -- a Sangiovese, for example -- would be good with sausages, garlic fries and the like. But this wine has the advantage of being quite pleasant on its own -- the soft tannins are why people liked "a glass of Merlot" in the first place -- and most ballpark drinking takes place without food.
One year, I hope to toast an A's title with this stuff. Until then, at least the A's have one good thing the Yankees and Red Sox do not. Where's your NY brand Long Island Riesling, Mr. Steinbrenner?