Wine fit for grillin’ out
July 28, 2007
I know it is tradition to drink beer at your hot summer barbecue, but it is always my mission to try and convince you to drink wine. I am the wine guy, you know.
So, the basis of your barbecue is, of course, the sun, and therefore in most cases you are going to be looking for something refreshing. This does, however, present some pairing difficulties considering the amount of red meat that is usually cooked up at barbecues and for the most part refreshing wines are white. But fear not, there is a wine solution for every problem. And of course to define a barbecue wine it also has to be reasonably priced, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be boring. So, as usual, I have a couple of recommendations for you.
Don’t be afraid of rosé. These wines are a great method for pairing a chilled wine with heavier foods. One of my favorite domestic rosés is the Jeriko Syrah Rosé ’06 ($10.95). It has plenty of black pepper and spice and at a chilled temperature shows its bright acid and fresh character. Rosé is at home in the south of France as much as anywhere and in the state of Utah. The Tavel wine Chateau D’Aqueria ’05 ($18.70) is one of my favorites. Hailing from the Southern Rhone area of France where Grenache is the primary grape, the Tavel rosé wines have a very distinct aroma of spice and bright plum fruit. Really nice with barbecued chicken, by the way.
If you are really attached to the bubbles in beer, there is always the great benefit of sparkling wine, and there is no greater bubbly for the dollar than Cava. Cava is one of three regions on the world where all of the sparkling wines are made via the traditional method, in which the fermentation that creates the bubbles happens in the bottle. One of my favorites newly in the state is the 1+1=3 ($12.95). It is as refreshing and crisp as you could ask for with all the minerally character that is traditional to the style. If you feel like spending a little more, the Roederer Brut Rosé ($23.10) is one of the best value bubbly wines around. It is also made by the traditional method, but in California where it is much less common.
There are then, of course, the white wines that go well with barbecue. Try to go with something with a lot of acid that is young and fresh and not too dry. Something about a little bit of sugar in a white goes really nicely with barbecue sauce. The Pichot-Moriette Vouvray ’05 ($10.95) is a really nice and refreshing wine that is sweet but far from cloying. One of my favorite value whites is the Spanish white called Lo Brujo Macabeo and for $7.95 it is pretty tough to beat. This wine from Calatayud certainly fits the bill of unusual and showing bright spicy fruit it is a great wine for most barbecue foods.
On a side note it seems that the Kimball Arts festival is coming around to wine this year and will be serving Utah’s very own Castle Creek Winery’s line up. If you haven’t run into them yet it is a great winery in Moab.
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Kimball PR Director Susan Thomas said she was excited to offer wine at the festival. "I’m especially pleased to be serving a Utah wine," she said. "We’ve been serving this local wine at several of our events at the Kimball Art Center during the past year and people really enjoy it and appreciate the novelty of a Utah wine that is actually good! Utah has a very colorful and entertaining history when it comes to grape growing and wine making, it is nice to see a winery growing and making nice wines."
Zev Rovine is the sommelier and resident cheese monger at the Spotted Frog Bookstore Cafe and Wine Bar where he teaches weekly wine classes. His wine education comes from the American Sommelier Association in N.Y.C. and he tries his very best not to spill the Pinot on the bestseller section. If you have any wine queries or comments he is easily contacted via e-mail at email@example.com