When we first heard the Redskins had produced a table wine, we thought maybe it was a joke. This is football, after all, not lawn tennis. Wouldn’t they create an eponymous beer or brand of hamburger meat instead? But it turns out that Redskins 80th Anniversary Reserve Alexander Valley Cabernet is very real and, according to our panel of expert tasters at CityZen, scores as a drinkable addition to any football feast, whether it’s at home or at a tailgate party before the game. The Redskins, in fact, serve it in the suites and at select locations at FedEx Field on game days.
The wine can also be ordered online for $29.79 a bottle and $357.48 per case, or $59.99 per magnum.
With the help of executive chef Eric Ziebold and sommelier Andy Myers, we organized a “blind” Redskins wine tasting at CityZen during the hour before dinner service. The staff hustled around setting up while Ziebold and Myers conspired to choose two other wines that would go up against the Redskins Cabernet, which was made in limited edition by Nick Goldschmidt at Goldschmidt Vineyards in Healdsburg, California—a respected winemaker based in prime winemaking country. What they chose were a French Bordeaux and a Washington state Cabernet. Our additional tasters were CityZen sous chefs Kerwin Tugas and Michael Malyniwsky, general manager Jared Slipp, and The Washingtonian’s online dining editor, Jessica Voelker.
The tasters did not know which wine was the Redskins wine until after all three wines were sampled, though having expert palates, they had a good hunch. No one called it short on yardage or a missed kick, though one taster did say, “This would explain their defense.” Still, the Redskins wine held its own. Here are the tasting notes:
Ziebold: “It’s fruity and juicy. For a game wine, it’s perfect. I’m surprised it doesn’t have more alcohol, but that’s a compliment. It’s perfect for a tailgate party with brats and steaks. At $30 a bottle, I would buy it for the novelty.”
Myers: “I like the Merlot-iness of it. I give them a point for keeping it understated. It’s a nice treat.”
Tugas: “If you don’t like beer, you could definitely go for this.”
Malyniwsky: “I’m probably the beer drinker here, though I do like wine. To me, it tastes like raisins. It’s a drinkable wine.”
Voelker: “It’s lush enough for outdoor drinking on a crisp autumn day and unfussy enough for stadium sipping. I could see drinking it with a burger or some braised short ribs. Without the novelty factor, I probably wouldn’t pick this over other $30 bottles.”
Slipp: “It’s a patio pounder. You can drink it all day. I would pay $15 for a glass at the stadium. I would buy a case right now if the money would go toward getting new refs.”