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!