What's an appropriate wine to serve at a Boston Red Sox themed party? What wine would be a good gift for a hard core Red Sox fan?
If you've ever been to a Boston Red Sox baseball game, you already know that the Red Sox Nation, as the team's fans are known, is loyal to the point of obsession. Even at away games, you will see a literal sea of red shirts, worn by the Red Sox' devoted fans. Forbes Magazine named Red Sox fans the "best sports fans in the nation" for 2010.
Which wines would be best to serve to these dedicated Red Sox fans? What wine would you buy as a gift for a citizen of the Red Sox Nation?
Several Red Sox players have joined other Major League Baseball players in working with Longball Cellars to create wines for charity. Profits from sales go toward the charity each Red Sox player has designated. To date, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, David Ortiz, Curt Schilling, Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield and Kevin Youkilis have partnered with Longball Cellars and Charity Wines to raise money for charities. Some of these baseball-themed wines are now difficult to find, but those that are still available sell for around $15 per bottle. Longball's new releases for 2011 are Clay Buchholz' ChardonClay and Jon Lester's CabernAce.
Wineries Near Boston
Boston Red Sox fans are loyal not only to their team and baseball stadium, they are also devoted to their city and state. What better way to honor this devotion than by pouring a Massachusetts wine? There are more than 20 wineries in the Bay State, most of which specialize in cool-climate varietals and blends as well as in fruit-infused wines. Several wineries lie within an hour's drive of Fenway Park.
Neponset Winery is the closest winery to downtown Boston. On his website, owner John Comando describes Neponset Winery as a "virtual" winery because it is actually located not in a vineyard but in Needham Heights, just outside of Boston. Neponset Winery makes red, white and dessert wines from grapes grown in Massachusetts and California. Because the wines are made in very small batches, they tend to sell out, but you may be able to find a bottle of 2008 Neponset Winery Merlot or Old Vine Zinfandel in the Boston area for $14 to $20.
Turtle Creek Winery, in Lincoln, is also fairly close to Boston and Fenway. Owner and Winemaker Kip Kumler is proud to call himself a garagiste, a small-scale winemaker who combines innovation with dedication to quality. Turtle Creek's award-winning wines are sold in Boston-area wine stores, and you can occasionally find them online. If you opt for a red wine for your Red Sox fan, expect to pay about $20 for a bottle of Turtle Creek Pinot Noir and $22 for Turtle Creek Cabernet Franc.
Travessia Urban Winery, located in New Bedford, south of Boston, is owned and operated by Marco Montez, a Portugal native who has learned his craft the traditional way –through hands-on experience. Montez uses grapes grown in Massachusetts to create his whites (Pinot Grigio, unoaked Chardonnay and Vidal Blanc) and one rosé; he also crafts red wines from grapes grown on the west coast of the U. S. If you're lucky enough to live in Massachusetts, you can purchase any of the white varietals straight from the winery for $14 per bottle; nonresidents must order from other online sources. If you happen to be visiting Massachusetts, consider detouring through New Bedford for a tasting.
Wineries of Massachusetts
Of course, you'll find wineries all over the Bay State. Most of them are open to visitors (typically April through late fall) and many sponsor special events throughout the year. For example, Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod hosts WAAMs (Wine, Appetizers, Art and Music) on Wednesday evenings during July and August. Local musicians and artisans showcase their talents, while guests enjoy appetizers created by chefs from nearby restaurants and caterers, skillfully paired with wines from Truro Vineyards. If you visit, take home a bottle or two of Truro Vineyards' award-winning wines, perhaps the Diamond White, which comes in a bottle shaped like a lighthouse ($16), or the Bordeaux-style 2006 Triumph ($20).
If your travels take you to Nantucket, stop by Nantucket Vineyard, which is co-located with Cisco Brewers and Triple Eight Distillery. Needless to say, the complex is quite popular. Nantucket Vineyard's owners used to grow their own grapes, but the local climate is not grape-friendly. Today, Nantucket Vineyard imports its grapes from around the U. S. Nantucket Vineyard makes varietal wines, blended wines and fruit-infused wines – peach and cranberry – as well as a port and two sparkling wines, all for $15 - $18 per bottle. During the tourist season, you can stop by for a tour and tasting ($20) or enjoy live music on Wednesdays and Saturdays at the Brewery Bar.
Westport Rivers Vineyard and Winery, named after the southern Massachusetts town it calls home, boasts the largest vineyard in New England. According to the New York Times, Westport Rivers wines were featured in an episode of "West Wing," and they are certainly attracting attention – and garnering awards – in the Boston area and outside of Massachusetts. Westport Rivers' sparkling wines, such as the 2005 Brut Cuvée RJR, are its best known products, but Westport Rivers also makes still wines, including Riesling, Pinot Blanc, and Rkatsiteli, which sell for $16 to $20 per bottle. In 2011, Westport Rivers will bottle its first-ever Pinot Noir. Tours, which are offered at 1:00 and 3:00 p. m. on Saturdays, are free, and wine tastings cost $7 per person. The winery is closed on Sundays.