It's July and the pennant races are heating up, players like Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout, and Yasiel Puig are wow-ing us with their amazing feats, and the All-Star Game is upon us. And baseball fans are thinking of wine. OK, that last part doesn't sound correct, as beer, even if it's $10 per commemorative plastic cup beer, is the drink most associated with not just the national pastime but pretty much every sport (is polo a sport? discuss). That said, some folks want you to think not just of Bobby Wine but wine itself when you think of baseball.
Not surprisingly, one of those "people" is Wine by Design: A Lifestyle Marketing Agency. They're the folks behind a release called the 2013 MLB® All-Star Game®
Midsummer Classic 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon. (The over-®-ing is part of the charm.) It's produced by Le Pich Wines in Sonoma, and is at the least quaffable, though at $24.99 a bottle, you might want more than that. Like pitchers these days, it doesn't quite start what it finishes, so it captures the baseball zeitgeist, and suggests you need a closer to finish the drinking evening. Think of it as a smooth Cabernet, not that that's the best adjective for one. You almost have to wonder, given it's a year-old vintage, if it didn't spend enough time with oak, like a hit that doesn't quite connect with the bat long enough. But it's got an All-Star Game logo that takes off the classic Mets logo, and given this year's game is at Citi Field in Queens, that makes sense.
More than sense to this New Jersey boy, now in California but still a Mets fan. Growing up my biggest hero was pitcher Tom Seaver, who, of all things, after finishing his Hall of Fame career, moved to Napa to make wine. (He's a Fresno native, and his father grew raisins, so he has grapey things in his genes.) Of all perfect places, he found a lovely spot in Diamond Mountain to plant vines, and the 2008 GTS Cabernet Sauvignon has gone on to win a 97 point rating from the Wine Spectator; it doesn't hurt that Seaver's winemaker is Thomas Rivers Brown, acclaimed hired gun who won Food & Wine's 2010 Winemaker of the Year Award. They get reviews similar to the compliments Seaver got while on the mound -- power and finesse, complex, "with a layered mix of mocha, espresso, ripe wild berry, age, and cedar" (perhaps that last part didn't apply to the pitcher).
I've got a bottle of the 2009 that I don't dare drink yet, given that the previous vintage is good until 2026 at least (perhaps the next time the Mets win a World Series). But I relish its foil embossed with baseball lacing atop the bottle; its GTS designation, since Tom Seaver's original name is George Thomas Seaver, and I took the confirmation name Thomas to have a name more like his. Baseball, religion, and wine make one magical trine, don't they?