It’s beginning to feel a lot like spring here in Calgary and that can only mean one thing…barbecue season is upon us! As amateur chef’s and self-proclaimed “kings of the grill” alike begin to fill the air with tantalizing aromas of grilled meats, I find myself scouring the shelves here at Vine Arts to find the best wine pairings for these bbq festivities.
Here are some of my recommendation for some big, bold and robust red wines to put a little guzzle in your grill!
Casa Viva Carmenere
Carmenere’s trademark mix of dark berry fruit and savoury spice make it a perfect match for the classic mixed grill. This little gem is a textbook example and a great value to boot ($17.50).
The palate is full-bodied and silky, with notes of black cherry, rosemary and freshly cracked black pepper. So good!
While many people associate Italian wine with foods such as pasta and pizza, this wine is perfect with grilled pork chops or lamb.
Sicily’s warmer climate makes it the perfect home for the local grape Nero d’Avola, which tends to produce wines that are deeper in colour and fuller in body than many other Italian grape varieties. This is juicy and easy-going with flavours of strawberry, plum and exotic spice. Donnafugata has a reputation for being one of Sicily’s greatest wineries and this wine doesn’t disappoint. Also reasonably priced at $23.
Vinum Cellars Red Dirt Red
With only 176 cases produced this wine certainly is as “wanted” as the label suggests. A full-bodied Californian blend of nearly equal parts Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, this certainly isn’t a shy wine. The wine was aged for 22 months in two-year old French oak barrels and delivers a complex burst of cassis, vanilla and dark chocolate.
This is the perfect match for a roast or even a big, juicy burger. Crazy good! $27.
Purple Hands Red Blend
Purple Hands is a bit of an oddball blend produced by winemaker Cody Wright. The label pays homage to Cody’s winemaking roots and the time he spent in his younger years helping his father (legendary Oregon winemaker Ken Wright) make wines in his Willamette Valley winery.
A blend of Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this is soft, juicy and extremely easy drinking. Cody explains that he designed this wine as an everyday drinker that is versatile with food and also delicious on its own. Try this with a pizza done on the grill or a bbq’d pork tenderloin.
Paisajes Rioja “Valsalado”
Although this wine comes from a classic region (Rioja) and is made from a classic blend of grapes (Tempranillo, Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano), the style of this wine is distinctly modern. Bold, brash and concentrated, this delivers a kaleidoscope of flavours and aromas ranging from most tobacco and fresh earth, to blackberry and five spice.
If you want to get a little more fancy with your grill, try this with a spice-encrusted or Moroccan inspired rack of lamb. Only 4,900 bottles produced. $46.
So there you have it, a line up of grill guzzlin’ reds to make your next grill night a searing success! Just remember to be sparing with the lighter fluid…