To the person who came up with a way to name a bottle of wine after Tom Glavine: You're a genius.
I was at Turner Field yesterday with a few dozen other wine tasters at the 755 Club, located above the seats in left field and named after the most famous home run in MLB history. We were there to sample three Braves' signature vino: Chipper Chardonnay, McCann Merlot and, of course, Cabernet Glavignon.
The creative minds at Charity Wines and Charity Hop—the Mass.-based companies who brought you Vintage Papi (David Ortiz), Schilling Schardonnay, Manny Being Merlot and Caberknuckle (Tim Wakefield)—are now extending their "Longball Cellars" brand to include the Braves. The wine retails for $13.99 a bottle at Wal-Mart, Kroger and a few other independent stores, and the proceeds go to the charity of each player's choice.
Jones, McCann and Glavine (who, sadly, was a no-show), had nothing to do with picking out the flavors. It was probably for the best.
"I drink other stuff, like beer," McCann said. "Bud Light. My parents never drank wine. About the only time I've ever had it is when we're on the road and the older guys ordered it."
Jones, who leads the majors batting .410, was asked if he was a "chardonnay guy," to which he replied, laughing, tugging at the sunglasses dangling from his collar, "Uh, not so much."
I sampled the wine, and then compared notes with Gil Kulers, a wine columnist and former sommelier who lives in Decatur.
"The wines taste very good for what they are: a generic California Chardonnay, Cabernet and Merlot," he said. "What's most likely going to happen is that people will buy them and then put the bottle next to their bobblehead, which is a shame, because this wine is better than that."
To the Taste Test, then!
What I tasted: It was … okay. But in reality I never drink Chardonnay. Ever. Still, if wine could be a batter, slogging through a season, this one wouldn't be hitting .410.
What Kulers tasted: "Well, it came alive, and had a little spice to it. It was very straightforward, with citrus qualities—a little pear, a little green apple."
Goes well with: Anything spicy.
What I tasted: This was my favorite, but Merlot is probably my favorite type of wine; full-bodied—you know, like a catcher.
What Kulers tasted: "This was a nice, bright red. Had some fruit flavor with a fair amount of acidity. I prefer this wine over the Glavine wine."
Goes well with: Grilled pork chops.
What I tasted: Due to time constraints, I only got a sip. Which was enough to tell "Glavignon" isn't nearly as aged as Glavine is.
What Kulers tasted: "It was a little thin; it tasted like a Cab. But it had a bit more tannins than I would've liked. What I mean is it had more tannins than the fruit could support." (Tannins?)
Goes well with: Steak, medium-rare.