by Fred McMillin
for January 22, 1998

Invigorate Your Tailgate

Prologue: Rosie Brown, Y. A. Tittle and Gale Sayers ... a dream team. And it exists!

The Rest of the Story: Yes, 48 all-time pro greats have formed a team, a wine team. It offers one wine, the Legends Gridiron Cuvee. Each bottle features a handsome portrait of one of the greats in action.

Equally important is what's inside the bottle. Six months were spent blending and tasting.

The difficulty was to come up with a wine light enough to enjoy chilled with cold cuts at the tailgate, yet with one bold enough to serve at room temperature with a more robust Monday night football supper.

Gingerly, they presented a secret blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. A 20-case trial display sold out in hours. The Gridiron Cuvee was born.

The Wine:
Name—Legends Gridiron Cuvee
For Outlets—Sarah Hansen (510) 654-5400,
Tasting Notes—Chilled, there's strawberry-raspberry Zinfandel; at room temperature the Cab and Merlot come on with gusto.
Typical Price—$9.99
Added Attraction—The label portraits are first rate ... NFL-fan collector items, for sure. I was a season-ticket holder in San Francisco way back in 1949, so my favorite label is that of Leo Nomellini, who played both offensive and defensive tackle.

As for the source of the wine, here's what Prof. John Baxevanis says about it: "Delicato Vineyards is an underrated, large winery that offers excellent values." It started in 1925 when Italian immigrant Gaspare Indelicato began shipping California grapes to eastern home winemakers during Prohibition. Thirty years later his three sons turned to winemaking. I guess it worked out alright since the last time I checked their annual sales were over two million cases.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

Read more articles by Fred McMillin in the WineDay Annex

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