Friday, June 18, 2010

BBQ Season Is In Full Effect!

With BBQ season in full effect we're going to be bringing you some back yard-friendly wines to go with hot weather and coal-fired meals.  What goes well with BBQ?  It depends on the kind of grilling you're doing.  Generally, we think about summertime grilled foods in two categories - those heavily treated by tangy sauces like barbecued chicken and ribs, and those lightly seasoned meats and vegetables which reflect more grill flavor than their saucy counterparts.

In the first category, the challenge is finding wines that'll stand up to the strong flavors of BBQ sauce.  In whites, look for crisp, lighter whites with ample fruit and acid like Sauvignon Blancs and Torrontes.  In reds, go for big, fleshy monsters that don't hold back like Zinfandel/Primitivo, and Shirazes.

For the second category, you want the wine to complement the grill flavors, not compete with them.  So, for whites you've pretty much got the entire spectrum to choose from.  For reds, look more towards Syrah (especially like Andrew Murray's), Sangiovese, and Cabernet (Franc and Sauvignon).  And don't forget Rosés! 

For this installment, we've got a three course meal perfect for a backyard barbecue meal - with wine pairings:

Appetizer: Cold Boursin cheese covered in local honey with water crackers.  Serve with 2008 Norman Pinot Grigio Paso Robles - A surprisingly appealing PG with bright, fast flavors, fresh citrus acids, and a terrific round finish.

Salad/Veggie: Chilled yellow beets with heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, and pomegranate vinaigrette.  Serve with 2009 Le Sanglier Rosé Cote de Provence - once you get over the fact that you're drinking pink wine, you'll enjoy how food-friendly and refreshing this is.  But don't get hung up on finding this exact one, as many rosés are made in minute quantities.  Look for our upcoming roundup of rosés from importer Frederick Wildman.

Main: Pesto-marinated grilled chicken breast with cold wild rice salad.  Serve with 2006 Lake Sonoma Zinfandel Dry Creek - honest Zin without being enormous from an underrated winery - also a real reflection of the Dry Creek Valley.  After a few hours open it really over-delivers.  Shazam - look for their Cab, too.

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