Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Oakland A's Merlot: It's a hit

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?


Jack Everitt said...

"Where's your NY brand Long Island Riesling, Mr. Steinbrenner?"

Er, the Finger Lakes is the region that does Riesling (which, in my mind, is about as far away as Oregon wine country is to SF)...perhaps you mean a LI Cab Franc?

And that would still be unlikely, as the Mets are really Long Island's team, as it's a much shorter drive for Long Island Mets fans to CitiField than Yankee stadium.

W. Blake Gray said...

Hey Jack, I know Finger Lakes is more famous for Riesling, but I still remember a delicious Peconic Bay Riesling from the North Fork of Long Island that was my favorite non-West Coast wine a few years ago at the Wine Appreciation Guild's annual tasting. I wasn't impressed with the Cab Francs; I think New York reds are still slightly overrated because the media is all there.

Cecelia Hospers said...

Hello Blake - I noticed you do wine reviews on your blog - how are your wines sourced? -Cecelia

W. Blake Gray said...

Hi Cecilia. Various ways. I get some wines sent to me, and I review them when I like them. I sat on a blind panel tasting today at Sunset Magazine and will post some reviews from that later. I also go to trade shows and review wines from those. Sometimes I visit wineries, but I don't always feel comfortable posting reviews from those visits because everything always tastes better with the winemaker at the winery.

W. Blake Gray said...

And I shouldn't leave out good old, old-fashioned buy it and try it. I do that too.