Saluting the Rays New Wine Gameday Selections

 
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It has been a While since the Tampa Bay Rays , Centerplate held their introductory Wine Tasting party. It was held on Wednesday, May 26,2010 before the Red Sox versus Rays game from 6pm-7pm in a quaint little nook in the back of the Batter’s Eye Restaurant. It was kind of odd to me to promote a wine tasting party during the Boston series, but the event was well received and included a variety of six wine selections that can be purchased while at Rays games this season.

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.

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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, $32.00/bottle). This white wine selection had a really medium bodied taste and a great set of aromatics. The Zachry’s rep added this interpretation of the selection, “The Sciarpa Pinto Grigio adds a sweet core of fruit elements with an embracing stream of minerality “. Wow, tell me that did not sound like something you had to try at least once. And the sales rep were more than eager to teach and show some of us novices the proper and elegant way to expose the wine’s flavors.
The third selection was a selection from the Box O’ Bird vineyard in Napa Valley. Got to tell you, the name had me at first glance as this Sauvignon Blanc ($ 10.00/glass, $39.00/bottle) definitely brought up a huge fruit bouquet in the wine with hints of grapefruit, passion fruit and some mango essence. The wine representative told me that it scored a 91 in 10/2009 from the Sonoma Wine Journal and I could see why with it light and airy body.

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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.

I then decided to try for my fifth selection another California winery selection, the Barbara d’Asti ‘Lavignone’ also know as Pico Miccario. ($10.00/glass, $40.00/bottle). This wine by far the most pungent in its bouquet that had slight aromas of raspberries, rosemary, dried basil and hyacinth. But there was one flavoring I could not pick out clearly and the wine representative told me it was macerated strawberry underlying melodies. Got to tell you, got a royal introductory wine terminology and flavor notes initiation tonight.

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.

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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!

 
 

6 Comments

I am not a big wine person myself, but I have to admit visiting vineyards can be somewhat relaxing and an enjoyment often missed by most, and in CA I have to say probably the best train ride ever is the wine train in Napa…

-peter
Phillies Outside

The Rays really do have fantastic events for the fans. I’d be at that wine tasting in a heartbeat, even though the wines are available right here in CA. All sound great. Glad you enjoyed the grapes!

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Peter,
Not a big conveyor of the grape myself, but it was one of those things you want to do at least once in your life.
I think the last time I had anything made with a grape in this way was a sip of the 2008 Playoff Champagne one of the Rays players gave me that day.
That was a sweet taste of the grape that day.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Cliff,
Reading this does not sound like you are a novice, more like a wine connoisseur. I want to head to the San Antonio Winery which is the only one in L.A. Is very close to Dodger Stadium. Never been there but is a place that I’ve been wanting to go. Like Jane, I would have gone to that Ray’s event in a heartbeat!
Emma
http://crzblue.mlblogs.com

Jane,
The variety of those selections and the fact most were not imported brands stuck out in my mind.
Maybe it is this “green” concept that is being drilled into my mind of localproduced items or within your countries borders that is making an impact on what I desire now….
I could see you browsing and chatting with a nice Napa Valley Merlot in your hand….It might be what I expect from someone as worldly as our “Lady Jane”.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade,mlblogs.com

Emma,
I am such a wine novice that I have only pulled the cork out o0f maybe 5 bottles in my life, and they were Sutter Home White Zinfindel.
Sometimes I get lucky and learn something in each new experience I take in life, and I somehow sound like I know whgat I am talking about instead of throwing cards in the air and hoping they fall right.
But it was a fun time, and I would do it again, but maybe not a Napa Valley train journey.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

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