Saluting the Rays New Wine Gameday Selections
The event was formulated by Centerplate and their main wine distributor, Zachys to promote the new addition of wine bar carts and improved wine beverage selections throughout Tropicana Fields concourses by offering glasses of great wines, and also including the option of purchasing a entire bottle at the Batter’s Eye Restaurant during their daily seating before and during the Rays games.
The line began to gather the minute the Rays let the crowds in at 5:10 pm and we immediately saw a nice snake line forming at the bottom of the escalator in anticipation of the Wine Tasting event. I sat there talking to a few people who had already tried a few of the new wines being offered tonight, and got a pretty glowing recommendation to try the Sciarpa Prosecco Sparkling wine to begin my wine journey as it would clean my palate and get my tastes buds ready for a new adventure.
Now I am not a huge wine adventurer, and so I went into the Batter’s Eye that night with a hint of hesitation, but also a need to learn something new And inviting. This might be As close as I ever get to Napa Valley or any wine growing region outside of my local ABC Liquor or wine store clerk recommending any special bottle or vintage. But I was up for the challenge, and ready to be pleasantly surprised and amazed. RRC I did start with the Sciarpa Prosecco ( $9.50/glass, $38.00/bottle) as my fellow line mates had suggested and was surprised by the wild by light-bodied notions in the wine of orange rinds, honeyed grapefruit that proved very effervescent and had a gentle kick to it. It definitely went fantastic with the plate of assorted cheeses, banana peppers and assorted meats and crackers set out for the sampling masses. The sales representative from Zachrys was very helpful in my selections throughout the events and also made recommendations as to the best cheese and meat that might accompany the wines.
The second selection I tried that night was a Sciarpa Pinto Grigio ($ 8.00/glass, $32.00/bottle). This white wine selection had a really medium bodied taste and a great set of aromatics. The Zachry’s rep added this interpretation of the selection, “The Sciarpa Pinto Grigio adds a sweet core of fruit elements with an embracing stream of minerality “. Wow, tell me that did not sound like something you had to try at least once. And the sales rep were more than eager to teach and show some of us novices the proper and elegant way to expose the wine’s flavors.
The fourth selection had to wait a moment as Tropicana Field’s Executive Chef Joshua St Pierre and Executive Sous Chef James Boyd had entered the wine tasting area with waiters serving some of Tropicana Field’s new 2010 food items for our sampling during the event. The waiters mingled and enticed us with samplings of the Andouille Cajun spiced Po’ Boy, Spicy Shrimp Po’ Boy and the incredible Mahi Mahi fish tacos sold in the right field Street and First Base food courts at the stadium.My fourth selection, another California wine from Sonoma Valley was from the Finnegan’s Lake winery and was a wild and bold Carbernet Sauvignon ($9.00/glass, $36.00/bottle) that went perfect with the Andouille sample as it was picked tonight for tasting for its great compliment to burgers, sausages and even hot dogs. Of course outside the stadium it would pair great with BBQ and steak, but today was all about the ballpark fare.
That fifth selection also went fantastic with the artisan cheese and meat platter set out for our sampling. But I saved the best for last, because this one was a pungent lip-smacking red wine that almost knocked my socks off. The only problem is that this Stella Grey Napa Valley Red ($42.00/bottle) will only be available for sit down dining options throughout Tropicana Field venues. But the huge notes of plum, blackberries, graphite and sandalwood definitely makes you take notice of this full-bodied red wine.
So as I began to end my trek into the fine wine selections that can now be purchased in wine bars and at adult beverage locations within Tropicana Field, I can definitely tell you my nose was itchy. For I am one of those people who usually doesn’t partake of any stimulants or adult beverages before a game, but tonight I did it for my fellow members of the Rays Republic. I have to say in closing that the people at Centerplate are trying to reach that other segment of the Rays public who like to have a nice glass of wine with their baseball, and these six selections more than do the trick.
These are not your garden variety Sutter Homes or even the fine tuned wines from the famed Coppola winery. These selections were fine tuned and picked especially for the fans of the surging Rays. And with that, let me raise a glass high and send a message to Zachry’s and Centerplate that you hosted a first class event, and one I hope to again see in the future. I have never been a big wine drinker, but there are a few of those selections I might be looking for some September to toast and salute another run into late October. ….Salute!