News & Politics

We Taste-Test the Redskins Table Wine With CityZen’s Staff (Photos)

The $30-a-bottle Cabernet Sauvignon scores as “juicy” and “drinkable.”

On the bar at CityZen, a bottle of the Redskins Reserve Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Photograph by Jeff Martin.

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