Summer is wrapping up, but there is still time to get in a few more BBQs before it cools down. I spent this last week combing over recipes, sampling and trying out new dishes and wines. It was a long and grueling process, but as I tell my friends, somebody’s got to do it.
Wherever you shop for fresh ingredients and take the time to hand pick the best meats and veggies to season, is just part of the excitement of grilling. There is just something about preparing slow roasted delicious cuisine that makes us eagerly anticipate the slightest hint of warm weather.
Lemonades and light drinks go hand in hand with the hot days, and seasonal beers line the shelves but often the wine category gets overlooked. Here are some delightful refreshing options to enhance the summer fare to it's ripest potential.
To start, SALAD
I’m a big Saveur junkie so I picked whites to start because they are lighter and go great with appetizers and salads. My hands down favorite summer white is “Evolution” by Sokol Blosser. I love this wine, and not only because I am on the blends kick. This wine is blended from 9 varietals including chardonnay, pinot blanc, gewurtraminer, riesling and muller thurgau, semillon, muscat, pinot gris and sylvaner. I mean all that flavor, how could you go wrong. Seriously though, this wine does it right.
You might think this is the easy way out for pairing with BBQ, but in fact this is a great food wine, has excellent acidity, great fruit on the nose and palette, not overpowering at all which makes it a great accompaniment to grilled and spiced dishes. It is also not overly sweet which often puts me off with reisling or gewurtz. It is just a well rounded white that tastes awesome. From the Dundee region in Oregon, you can find it for around $13 or $14, a great way to show up to a party if you forgot to bring a side dish.
On to my next pick, Cupcake Chardonnay from the central coast. It has been a favorite for some time because I think it is an everyday household kind of white. In fact I loved it so much that I put it on a restaurant list by the glass. It is affordable, tastes great and is a really flavorful satisfying white. A nice balance of acidity and oak, it seems to meet right in the middle, I am not a big butterball fan when it comes to whites, but this has just enough of a medium finish leaving you wanting some more. You can't beat it for around$8-$10 bucks. Another reason I love this wine, they are part of the underdog wine merchants club. I am big boutique wine fan and this little group is made up of small wineries that aren’t as large as some of the big wine players these days, working on practical and sustainable ways to bring us unique, affordable and delicious wines. All wines in their club carry their little tradestamp on the bottle. You can find out more about them here http://www.underdogwinemerchants.com/ I paired this particular dish with FISH
I've found a couple different protein dishes that I really loved, chicken, shrimp, fish and beef ribs. I wanted to bust out some reds and I paired them with the 2008 Mark West Pinot Noir from Sonoma. it has a delightful nose with bright cherry and cassis notes, then rounded out with hints of cocoa. I was kind of impressed with this wine, it was smooth and fruity on the palette and had some zestiness on the finish. A very inexpensive yet tasty pinot noir, score! This wine was light enough to compliment the fish & chicken dishes but complex enough to be a great match for my seasoned ribs! It was by far the most versatile for BBQ dishes. I also paired the “House Wine” from the Magnificent Wine Co. in Washington. It also was a great BBQ pair for our pizza dish and our shrimp skewers. The wine itself was pretty robust, I’m sure it was due to the blend of this wine. 32% Cabernet, 31% syrah, 30% merlot, 3% malbec, 2%, zinfandel, 1% cabernet franc and Petit verdot 1%. It really had some legs to provide some fruity yet zesty accompaniment to the salt and spiciness right off the grill. I always try to provide my guests with options because everyone’s palettes are different. These two reds proved to be stand up BBQ wines. You can find MArk West for around $10-$12 and House wine for $8-$10, great deals! http://www.markwestwines.com/
This site has multiple fish dishes on it that I couldn't choose which I liked best,
And finally GRILLED BEEF!
For dessert I kept it simple, serving a chilled Terre D’Italia Limoncello di Sorrento, from the Campania region. I was fortunate to be gifted it from a friend who traveled to Italy, so I couldn’t read the back of the label, it was in Italian! It is delightful, not too sweet which I often find many lemoncellos to be. What better way to wrap up my summer! Happy Grilling!