Saratoga Racetrack Wine Tips
These gems for the track are brought to you by Ken Hoggins, founder of the Internet's most comprehensive wine review website, www.KensWineGuide.com. These are guaranteed winners and are much safer bets than any filly in the fifth race you were contemplating. Enjoy! - Ken
Track season is my favorite time of the year. I love going to the track with friends and family to watch and bet on the beautiful horses and to share a great glass of wine. One very important thing to remember is that you can not bring glass into the track, so you have to transfer your favorite wine into a plastic container. After a little research on approved containers, I have what I think are a couple of great options: The Nalgene Company has two bottles that will hold a full 750ml bottle of your favorite summer wine. The two I prefer are the 32 ounce PC Loop Narrow Mouth option for $9.50 and the 32 ounce Refill Not Landfill option for $10.00 and it supports a good cause.
Now that you have a plastic container to put your precious wine in, now it is time to think about what to buy? Since track season is from late July through August, I thought it would be best to focus on refreshing wines for those hot summer track days.
Let's start with an old faithful and consistent wine. 2007 marked the 35th Anniversary of Dry Creek Vineyards. One wine that stands out consistently well every year is their lovely Chenin Blanc. This wine is a terrific summer wine. The 2006 Dry Chenin has crisp apple flavors and is quite mouthwatering. There is nothing like a nice Dry Chenin on those hot summer days at the track. So if you are sweating as your horse comes down the backstretch, you'll appreciate this wine whether you win or lose.
When it comes to betting at the track, everyone has to have a "sleeper." For those of you who are new to the track, the "sleeper," is the horse that no one has ever heard of that is going to win. I can't pick that horse for you, but when it comes to summer white wines, the "sleeper" for me is the Spanish Albarino. The Albarino is a native grape grown in the Rias Baixes region of Spain. It is a fantastic wine to pair with seafood. It is usually very aromatic, crisp, acidic, and refreshing. The one I am recommending is the 2006 Morgadio Albarino. I am sure you will enjoy it as much as I do. Grab some tasty clam chowder from one of the vendors and enjoy this wonderful wine.
I have been trying many wines from South Africa lately and one of the wineries with the most consistently delicious wines I have found is the Mulderbosch Winery. They make terrific Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, and I recently discovered this 2006 Rose made from Cabernet Sauvignon. This dry Rose expresses some nice strawberry flavors and will be a real nice crowd pleaser around your cooler on the home stretch. Even though the Run for the Roses was a few months ago, run for this Rose and buy a lot, because it goes down real easy on those hot summer days. Serve slightly chilled.
I wanted to include a wine pick that was recently enjoyed by some very close friends of ours. The Robert Hall 2005 Syrah from Paso Robles, CA is a real winner. If you do not pick any other winners on your day at the track, at least you will have this winner in hand. This wine is smooth and has a terrific bouquet. Its plum and licorice flavors are very tasty.
I can't leave you without recommending one red wine for those grilled meats you might be enjoying in between races. I did a little vertical tasting of the 2004 & 2005 Dashe Cellars Zinfandels. I came away really liking the Dashe 2005 Zinfandel. It was elegant and food friendly. One of my tasters called it a nice steak wine. So secure a bottle. Celebrate the late daily double you just nailed.
Enjoy! - Ken