It's Time to Wine. Summer is coming to an end. School is about to start, lazy days are being replaced by longer nights, parent conferences, raking leaves, and honey do lists.
This is probably why Labor Day is so widely celebrated. The last Big Bash before we get to work.
But enough of the Blues the only wine I care to hear about is the kind that I can pour into my glass .
So Which wine varietals will you choose to beef up your 'Labor Day BBQ? Here are some of my favorites.
Favorite White Choices
A reliable rule is “Smoke Loves Oak” So if you are serving smokey BBQ you might enjoy pairing up lighter fare such as poultry, grilled pork or fish with an oaked Chardonnay (shar doe nay). Foods with lots of cream or butter like corn on the cob are especially tastey with Chardonnay especially one that has gone through the malo-lactic fermentation process. Which put simply, means it is a bit creamier and buttery.
Grilling Blackened, Cajun or spicy foods? A Gewurztraminer (ge verts tra me ner) is a lovely contrast to put the fire out, with it's moderately sweet flavor. You might want to serve this one early on as it becomes a bit difficult to pronounce once you've had a few glasses.
Pinot Grigio (peno gre g o), or Sauvignon Blanc are the wine lovers choice for a hot Labor Day. Like lemonade these crisp, acidic wines are the perfect thirst quenchers.
My favorite BBQ red is a zinfandel, not that sweet, sticky, pink stuff that you throw the ice cubes in, but a good, hardy, stand up to the grill red zin. A Red zinfandel is not a drink alone wine. It is made for BBQ. Red zins are fabulous with smokey red meats and chili meat balls. The spice, black pepper. and ripe tannins hold up nicely to the fat content of steak tips and BBQ sauce too. I wouldn't recommend pairing it up with really spicy food or chocolate though as you will discover that both the wine and the food will not be a hit at your party.
Pinot Noir; (peno new are) is the new 'in' wine. Loved by red and white drinkers alike, many enjoy it slightly chilled. (15 minutes in the fridge) This subtle wine is known to be very food friendly, pairing equally well with a juicy burger, lamb kabob or grilled chicken. However. The down side with Pinot Noirs is that they are finicky in the making and so rather pricey for a decent bottle. I haven't been able to find a Pinot Noir under $25 that I have enjoyed, and although I don't mind spending that on myself, the cost can really add up when you are serving a crowd.
I think that the most well known, easy drinking wine is Merlot (Meer lo) .Merlot is a fun, comfortable wine , even saying it's name is fun! meer lo! It is fruit forward and sipping friendly, cozying up nicely with spicy sauces as well as appetizers and lighter fare You can offer this wine at your BBQ knowing that most of your friends will enjoy it. If not, hand them a beer.
Shiraz- A good strong name for a wine, it sounds like something a genie might shout as it bursts forth from the magic lamp. SHIRAZ! The crowning glory of Australia, spicy and fruity at the same time shiraz will compliment your ribs and other red meats. I don't care for it with brown chocolate, but it is amazing with white chocolate.
If you wrinkle your nose at Shiraz and you know you aren't a fan nof white chocolate try pairing them together, you will be stunned by how mouth watering a a pairing is!
Syrah- (Rhone, California) Same grape as shiraz but different location,and different taste: Syrah tends to have a more smokey flavor than shiraz.
And the last of the great BBQ wines, the king of reds, Cabernet Sauvignon : High in tannins (that's the dry feeling you get in your mouth.) Cabernet requires hardy, marbled red meats. A succulent hamburger dripping in juices, a melt in you mouth rib eye, or a rich chocolate dessert like chocolate lava cake or triple chocolate brownies. MMMMM.... I LOVE Labor Day! But I am so going to miss summer.
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Cheers! And Happy Labor Day!