By Kori ~ August 12th, 2009.
Our host for the August edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday, the blogosphereâ€™s monthly virtual wine tasting event, is Sonadora of Wannabe Wino. She selected I Have Zinned as this monthâ€™s theme because she loves Zinfandel and it pairs well with summer BBQ and other grilled fare. We were asked to â€œpull out a Zinfandel, throw something on the grill (or the Foreman or in a pan if you donâ€™t have either), and tell me about your favorite grilled or BBQâ€™d food and how it goes with Zinfandel.â€
When I read Sonadoraâ€™s theme, I knew immediately that this was the perfect excuse to indulge in leftovers from Momâ€™s Fourth of July BBQ. We interrupt this wine blog post for a little BBQ education from a native Texan. There is a distinct difference between real BBQ and anything cooked on a grill outside. Hamburgers and hot dogs are not BBQ; neither is roast beef with lots of BBQ sauce slathered on top. Real BBQ is smoked by slow-cooking the meat in a pit over indirect heat. And let me tell you, it is soooooo good!
Since moving to Seattle fifteen years ago, it is the rare occasion that Iâ€™m able to enjoy real BBQ. Once a year on the Fourth of July, Mom cooks a complete Texas BBQ meal. Depending on the number of guests we have joining us for the holiday, she cooks for at least one full day, sometimes two. She mesquite smokes beef brisket, pork ribs, and Luling sausages. For sides, she prepares baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw, garlic bread, and her secret recipe BBQ sauce. And as if thatâ€™s not enough food, we top it all off with her homemade banana pudding. Since she only prepares this meal once a year, she always smokes extra meat so that we can enjoy leftovers once or twice during the year.
Zinfandel pairs well with almost all grilled meats, whether it is real BBQ, hamburgers, or even hot dogs. For most people, Zinfandel is synonymous with California, and California definitely does Zinfandel well. However, as regular Wine Peeps readers know, we are tireless advocates for Washington State wines so we decided to blind taste two Washington Zinfandels, the 2005 Forgeron and the 2006 Columbia Crest Reserve. Zinfandel acreage is limited in Washington right now, but more and more wineries are attempting to produce at least small amounts of Zinfandel. Both of these wines show the potential for Zinfandel in the state. All four of us enjoyed both wines, but we thought the Forgeron was excellent. Zinfandels can often be high in alcohol but neither of these wines seemed particularly hot. They were both fabulous with Momâ€™s BBQ because they really stood up to the rich food without overpowering it.
2005 Forgeron Zinfandel (Columbia Valley, Washington): Deep, dark red with loads of black cherry on the nose. Luscious black fruits, especially plums, licorice, and a hint of black pepper come though on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with medium tannins. Well-balanced and smooth with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $30; MadWine (Washington), $27.99
2006 Columbia Crest Reserve Zinfandel Stone Tree Vineyard (Columbia Valley, Washington): Dark purple. Aromas of sweet BBQ sauce and eucalyptus; flavors of dark cherry and bittersweet chocolate. Medium-bodied with medium tannins. A bit jammy with a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Winery, $35
Filed under: American Wine, Red Wine, Washington State Wine, Wine Blogging Wednesday, Wines Over $25, Zinfandel