Summer is in full swing! It's time to barbecue as much as possible, to have your friends over at every opportunity, and to enjoy the sun whenever you can. To that end, I've lined up a slew of affordable reds and whites for you to pair with barbecued foods and backyard shindigs.
Keep in mind that these are all bigger, more full-bodied red wines Anytime you have big flavors from meat, you need to get big wines to stand up to what you're grilling. The addition of sauces, marinades, and rubs also adds intensity, further pushing palates away from pinot-land.
The white wines, on the other hand, are crisp, dry, and full of refreshing acidity. On a hot day the last thing most of us want is a big, heavy, oaky chardonnay weighing down our taste buds. To that end, I assembled a panel of well known producers' white wines to taste and talk about.
Here then are two lists, of whites and reds, for your consideration as you barbecue this summer:
2009 Ravenswood Vintners Blend Petite Sirah: Imagine a bowl full of blueberries and blackberries sitting in a field of dark, earthy soil. Now imagine someone burning oak just a few hundred yards away. That's the nose of this petite sirah. It tastes spicy and rich, with lots of black fruit, dark chocolate, and firm tannin to restrain those two primary flavors. Practically begs for a thick steak, and is a really good deal at $7.99. 13.5% abv.
To test the wines out in more real-life conditions, I had them all open for a barbecue that several of our friends attended. Each wine was tasted along with the food, which included ribs and hot dogs, among other things. My personal favorites were the Ravenswood wines, and the Graffigna Malbec. The group did enjoy the Big House Red and Hey Mambo for what they were, big, fruity, easy-drinking reds.
Each of these wines is worth a pop 'n pour when you are grilling and want something to please a wide range of palates. Perhaps the best part is the pricing, all can be found for between $10 and $15, save for the Big House, but you get a lot of wine in that octagon!
These wines were media samples.