Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Winey Tasting Notes: Save It For The Grill - BBQ Zinfandel

I love to cook. Please note I did not say bake. The Winey Daughter is the baker. She loves to measure and stir and decorate. I do not. However, give me a stove top, some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, herbs and some sort of meat/poultry thing-y (I cannot, sadly, do fish or the Winey Hubby and Daughter would, well, kill me) and I am happy.

2011 BBQ Zinfandel labelThis happiness extends outdoors in the nicer weather, when I pull the cover off my bright red grill, fire up the burners (yes, it's gas - please don't judge me or get into that debate, I will NOT engage) and start dinner. I have to smile now at my grilling prowess, because way back in the early days of our Winey marriage (just past the 28 year mark), the Winey Hubby was the griller. I had never really used a grill, so I let him take the tongs. But then one day he was late getting home and I was seriously hungry so I took the plunge, so to speak, and started grilling. It's been a love affair ever since. I have progressed to the point where I can grill whole chickens and roasts. I can grill direct or indirect, meat or veggies, bread or potatoes and yes, my grill has a side burner, so bring on the sauce pot, baby!!

BBQ holds a special place in any griller's heart. I have a BBQ rib recipe that wows 'em all. So imagine my delight when I saw a bottle of BBQ Zinfandel from Renwood Winery (2011, 14.8%, CA). The label promised that this was the "perfect wine to enjoy with grilled meats and veggies." I took this as a promise and a challenge. I had a gorgeous London broil marinating in the fridge (I like my marinades a bit smokier - so this was soaking in a mix of paprika, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, and a bit of balsamic vinegar).

Upon opening, the nose on BBQ was full of black pepper and those Zinfandel spices (dark green ones like sage and thyme and oregano). There was a hint of oak in it and some cherry syrup as well. Right away you could taste the cherries - they were smooth and a very deep black cherry flavor right through the middle of your mouth. There was some pepper on the top of my tongue and the spices did finally show up. It finished VERY fruity.

This was very well balanced. You'd think that with such a high alcohol content you would feel some warmth in your mouth, but nope. I have to say I was a bit surprised by the "sweetness" I tasted in this wine. That coupled with the lush feel almost made me think I was sipping on some BBQ sauce. It was bordering on being a bit much for me. And paired with the London broil... just okay.

Would I buy it again? Probably not. I have had better Zinfandels from California, with or without something from the grill. But if you like your big reds on the sweeter, lusher side, and at price tag of $9.99,  you may want to check it out. (I had a hard time finding this on line, so check with your favorite wine store and let them know it's from Renwood, which is a very well known winery. I have a feeling this is one of their less costly, just for fun offerings.)


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