My boy Youk!Were you one of the many Boston-area Red Sox fans who grabbed a bottle of the Schilling Schardonnay or Caber Knuckle last year? If so, I hope you were one of the first to home plate (aka your local wine shop)! Those who purchased these wines early in the game had a chance to taste some good (for what it is) wine benefiting great charity organizations. Unfortunately I was one of the ones who tasted the wine in extra innings - after the demand had exceeded industry expectations and the scramble for more juice compromised quality. Never fear! The professionals behind the magic are attempting to hit consistent grand slams this year with their newest Boston Red Sox Charity Wines line up: Vintage Papi (cab/merlot blend); Captain's Cabernet; and SauvigYoouuk Blanc. They've gone West this year to Selby Vineyards (not to Chile as they did in '07) to produce these 2008 releases. The goal is to ensure there is enough good juice to go around.

Here's the scoop! In the Boston market, the first pitch was thrown for the 2008 lineup last Thursday at the EMC club at Fenway Park. Big Papi, Varitek and Youk were all there to toast the wines so it's possible you've seen recent publicity on the wine and the charities their proceeds benefit. If you've read more than one article, you may also have seen some inconsistency in what's written about what's actually available. Tricky!

To sort it all out, I've gone right to the source (aka the MA distributor of these products): First, we drank all of the Schilling Schard and CaberKnuckle last year. If you're local wine shop still has a few bottles clanking around, grab one (if you dare)! There is no more of either of these wines available. Second, you'll have to wait another couple of weeks before the 2008 series will be available. The wine is mellowing from its trip from the west coast before it will land on your local wine rack.

Of course, I'm dying to know... Did you grab a bottle last year? Which did you try? How did you like it?

Note for readers in other US markets: Charity Wines is working their wine/athlete/charity mojo in at least 3 other cities - New York, Cincinnati and Atlanta. I'd be curious your experiences with those wines, too!

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