Confession: I'm not a baseball fan. But if anything could get me to a game it would be a good glass of wine. In beer-centric San Diego I'm used to my options often coming down to a vague offering of "red or white" in venues where wine is scarce. When I found out Petco Park would be expanding its wine offerings, I didn't have high hopes; but I was pleased to find its partnership with Southern California's San Antonio Winery has resulted in a much longer (and tasty) list.
While I wasn't able to try all of the San Antonio wines the stadium now offers, I was more than happy with what I sampled. Though I'm not the biggest fan of Chardonnays, the San Simeon was light and refreshing enough for me to go back for seconds. The balance of slight oak toast with bright citrus was a great complement for the simple salad I enjoyed it with.
Those that like sweet wine will probably recognize San Antonio's Stella Rosa line. The Stella Rosa Rosso is a slightly sparkling, slightly sweet wine with strawberry aroma and flavors that are pleasantly delicate. I'd pick up the Rosso during a day game as a low-alcohol alternative to some of the bolder wines.
Another sweet option is the Bodega de San Antonio Sangria—however, this offbeat blend of wine and fruit flavors was a little too funky for my taste, loaded with citrus but without any flavors to balance it out.
For me, the reds are where this brand really shines. Their San Simeon Pinot Noir offers both light berry flavors and a hint of smoke with a medium body. If there's a wine to go with a Friar Frank, I'm thinking this is it.
But my favorites of the bunch came in two varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon. The Maddalena held intoxicating scents of leather and tobacco. Its flavors are equally powerful with jammy berries and rich white and black pepper. Apparently there's a blue cheese steak sandwich available at Petco's Food Network Cart—I'd grab one of those to match this big wine and be in heaven no matter who wins the game (sorry).
The San Simeon Cabernet was equally, if not more so, pungent and loaded with flavors and aroma. Right away, ripe red berries along with smoke hit the nose followed by touches of eucalyptus and green bell peppers. Flavors of currants smoothed out into hints of vanilla and cocoa as the wine evolved in the glass. And it seems I'm not the only one with high praise; Wine Enthusiast Magazine rated the 2010 vintage at 93 points and put it on their list of top 100 wines in 2014 along with a list of 10 top-rated Cabs under $40. Be warned: This wine is not only potent on the palate, it also comes in at 14.5 percent alcohol by volume—more of a night game wine.
In addition to what I sampled, Petco also serves: Maddalena Chardonnay, Villa Alena Pinot Grigio. Stella Rosa Prosecco, San Simeon Cabernet Sauvignon, Santo Stefano Cabernet Sauvignon and the Riboli Family Cabernet Sauvignon.
Plus, in late summer it'll add to the lineup with Stella Rosa Black and Stella Rosa Platinum served in aluminum bottles.
The wines are served at various spots around the park by glass and bottle—the latter poured in a plastic carafe. And if that's not enough wine for you, the Padres pre-game WineFest will be held Aug. 21 featuring samples by San Antonio and many other wineries.