Opening Day Wine Line Up Coming Together

Queue up Don Henley’s Boys of Summer. Spin some John Fogerty, Centerfield. In less than two weeks, the official start of summer begins with the yell of, “play ball” and the crack of the bat. I can almost smell the fresh cut grass, pine tar, stale beer and hot dogs.

While baseball season is right around the corner, my attempt to field a team of solid “Under $10 All Stars” has been a challenge. Spring training tryouts have been hampered by poor performance, no shows and injuries. The graphic above shows the status of the team including tryouts from three Merlot.

2007 14 Hands Merlot

  • The Stuff: Washington State, 85% Merlot, 14% Syrah, 1% other red grapes; Aged 12 months in a variety of new and used American and French Oak.
  • The Swirl: Dark plum and slightly cloudy
  • The Sniff: Tight on the nose with hints of plum and sweet candy
  • The Sip: A muddy combination of cherry syrup, sweet candy, and woodiness. Very flat back end with a lack of tannin and little acidity.
  • The Score: At $9.99 I score this a 2 (out of 5). The character is undefined with little structure. There are better under $10 Merlot

Cellar Tracker reviews 91.5 (two reviews) – wow, not sure I agree here

2007 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot

  • The Stuff: Columbia Valley, 85% Merlot, 7% Syrah, 5% Cab Fanc, 3% Cab Sauv; 13.5%ABV, aged 14 months in a combination of new French and American oak.
  • The Swirl: Dark cherry color with moderate translucence and thin outer edge
  • The Sniff: Modest cocoa and oak on the nose with hints of cherry and tobacco
  • The Sip: Dark cherry blackberry on the mid palate with a nice smooth finish of cocoa. A hint of spice jumps through that makes this a decent Merlot for the money. Nothing is intense and everything is subdued.
  • The Score: At $9.95 I score this a 3 (out of 5). This is an average Merlot that will provide many enjoyable nights.

No reviews on Cellar Tracker or Cork’d for 2007 vintage

2008 Charles Smith Velvet Devil Merlot

  • The Stuff: 100% Washington Merlot, 10 months in oak, 13.8% ABV
  • The Swirl: Mildly translucent with ruby red undertones. A pretty wine
  • The Sniff: Smooth dark chocolate with cherry and oak. I would imagine this would be the aroma an Umpa Lumpa would smell in the chocolate river (if cherries were involved too).
  • The Sip: The sip is slightly thin on the front that opens up to a nice moderate fruit – still cherries. Definitely a chocolate covered cherry Merlot.
  • The Score: At only $12 (sometimes under $10) – At this price, a solid 3 (out of 5). A trustworthy wine for the money. Good sipper, but the thin front and single dimension leave the score lower.

Cellar Tracker average of 85 pts with 5 reviews

With these three tryouts (and 2 other Merlot), I place the 2008 Charles Smith Velvet Devil Merlot on the starting roster at Right Field batting 8th.

My 2010 American League Baseball Predictions

AL East The Red Sox will win the East at 93 wins, Yankees will finish with 90 wins

AL Central The Twins will win the Central with 90 wins, Whitesox will finish with 86 wins

AL West The Rangers will win the West with 93 wins, the Mariners will finish with 91 wins and take the Wild Card for the AL

Do you have a player to suggest for the team? Leave a comment. who do you think will win each of the AL divisions? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Owner of Nectar Tasting Room in Spokane, WA. (@nectarwine) Publisher of Spokane Wine Magazine (@spowinemag), author, speaker, consultant and internet marketer with Nectar Media (@nectarmedia)

20 comments on “Opening Day Wine Line Up Coming Together

  1. VA Wine Diva

    Anyone who picks the Sox over the Yankees is okay in my book!

    1. drinknectar

      They’re going to need some of their old men to start hot and their pitching rotation needs to stay healthy – but Yankees won’t see the same success this year as they did last year.


  2. WineMonologues

    Watch out for the Tigers to make a run at the Central. Could be the sleeper of MLB.


    1. drinknectar

      Mike – the Tigers…hmmm…we’ll see

  3. Steve Paulo

    I think the Twins win the Central, the Rangers the West, the Yankees the East and the WC comes down to a very close chase between Seattle, Boston, and Detroit… and I think the Motor City Kitties will pull it out.

    1. drinknectar

      Steve, we mostly agree. It’ll be fun to see how it plays out. We’ll check back in September to see how close we were.


  4. Ben Simons

    Josh, I mostly agree with your predictions, but I’m going to go with Mike on picking the Tigers to take the Central, which leaves the Mariners edging out the Yankees and Twins for the WC. This will be the year of the AL West. :)

    1. drinknectar

      Ben, I like how you think – Jury is still out on the Tigers. I have a feeling about the Mariners this year (of course that feeling usually dissipates by June – or it could be gas)


  5. Jon


    This post combines two of my favorite things… baseball and wine. First off, I love your pick of the the Sox to win the AL East. The Yanks present a major obstacle this season, but I can definitely see Francona and the boys sitting atop the pennant.

    Second, is 14 Hands available off premise? I know before this was a Chateau St Michelle label only available to restaurants. Really good bang for the buck stuff, though!



    1. drinknectar


      The Sox have some obstacles to overcome (beyond the boys at the Bronx)

      14 Hands is available off premise (at least here in WA). I’ve had better 14 Hands vintages and is usually good go to restaurant wine. But side by side with the Velvet Devil and CC GE, it paled. (IMO)

      Thanks for stopping by to comment

  6. Joshua S Sweeney

    The AL? What’s that? Oh, that’s those annoying teams we NL fans sometimes have to look at during interleague play 😛


    Orioles, Indians, and A’s, with The Royals taking the WC spot.

    Take that, society!

    1. drinknectar

      Josh – put down a $10 spot in Vegas and if those picks come in you could retire! I’ll lay down my NL picks before opening day!

      Josh (on the west coast)

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  8. Tim Hilcove

    I think Seattle should get an NHL team

    1. drinknectar

      Seattle couldn’t even keep its NBA team…lost them to OKC…I mean really Oklahoma City…sheesh!

  9. Joe

    Braves back in the playoffs (since we’re all being homers here). Pitching staff is sick, son!

    Under $10 team suggestion (actually, under $6 team suggestion: Rene Barbier Mediterranean Red or White…both Catalunya, Spain)

    1. drinknectar

      Braves do have a shot (heck even Cleveland has a shot).

      Thanks for the suggestions – I’ll put them in my notebook.

  10. Chris

    Josh, I’m a diehard NL fan transplanted from Cardinal Country. With healthy pitching the Cards waltz to the playoffs in the Central. Cubs futility continues into Century # 2. In the AL I’m for AnybodyButTheYankees.

    On your wine/outfield pick, the rightfielder needs the strongest arm in the outfield and you need to put some of your salary money there too. I’d go with a bigger WA Merlot, Woodward Canyon, or if you’re a Steinbrenner, Leonetti.

  11. Chris

    I guess I should have read your theme, hunh? Under $10… maybe a glass of Woodward Canyon, or a half ounce pour of Leonetti.

    1. drinknectar

      LOL – 1/2 ounce pour of Leonetti.

      The whole challenge here is finding trustworthy wines under $10. I know they’re not going to be superstars but at least ones that I know (and readers too) I can trust.

      Cards will continue to do well. I’ll post my NL predictions with the next Under 10 review


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