May 19, 2008

Fire up the grill - Wines for Barbeques

With the official beginning of the pool and barbeque season just a week away (aka Memorial Day), I thought it might be relevant to talk about wines that you can pair with all-American fare. For the next six days we'll give you great picks to go with cookout cuisine and hopefully you'll find a little inspiration for planning your Memorial Day gathering. And since we're talking about wines for a crowd, we're going to try to keep our suggestions close to $15 or under (no promises).

Let's start with actual BBQ, my personal fave for big cookouts because nothing is better than long and slow. You can marinate and pre-cook BBQ ribs and brisket the day before so you're not in the kitchen when you should be by the pool. And then just finish everything on the grill when guests arrive. The meat will be fork tender and slathered in your sauce of choice. And the best wine to serve with these sticky, sweet and spicy treats? A big, bold zinfandel or a rich petite sirah. Both will have the intense ripe fruit and spice to complement the sauce and stand up to the meat. Two of our favorite barbeque zins:

clineancientzin.jpgCline Ancient Vines Zinfandel 2006 $15.99
Dusty raspberry, blackberry, white pepper and spice, with coffee and chocolate characters. Ripe fruit and soft tannins make this a mouth-coating rich vintage. Aging in new and used wood has lent this wine a subtle vanilla quality that nicely complements the explosive fruit notes. (from

ravenswoodlodi.jpgRavenswood Lodi Zinfandel 2006 $12.79
Ancient vines in alluvial soil where roots grow very deep make this a ripe, lush Zin that's also concentrated and intense. Soft, round, spicy and jammy with voluptuous overtones of plums and blueberries, this wine lives large. (from

You could also do a wonderfully rich petite sirah. You'll get a similar jammy intensity, but not as much of the punch of spice. One real winner is the Vinum Pets. You can check our our previous review of that little gem.

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Posted by Noël Wallace at May 19, 2008 9:08 PM
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