Man (and woman) can’t survive alone with white wines during the summer. As refreshing as they may be with hot weather picnic fare, salads, fish and other lighter dishes, whites don’t have the power of a red to titillate the taste buds when moving up the meat and sauce ladder, even when starting with pork and a softer Pinot Noir. Pouilly Fuisse and prime rib? Perhaps for the organoleptically challenged, but not for anyone who tries to match weight with weight in choosing the wines of the day or night.
The following cross section of wines was enjoyed the past few months with heartier foods, from pasta marinara to ribs slathered with homemade sauce from a secret recipe passed down from the Mongols, and Tweeted about. Prices range from $9 to a few of the higher priced spread, pulled from cellars to try on special occasions. Enjoy!
Cabernet and Blends
Dependable Napa Cabernet 09 (or 08, 07, etc.) Beaulieu (BV) $13. Herbaceous Napa nose, mint; mid-big body; good tannins, fruit. w/beef
Food friendly Cabernet Guenoc 09 Lillie’s North Coast $12. Light mint, berry nose; mid-body, round, full, good fruit. w/beef, pasta
Jayson 07 Red (48% Cab, 39 Merlot) Ripe grape, jam nose; mid-big body; thick; hot (15.2 alc.); one dimensional; good beef wine.
Chilean BBQ/picnic wine 09 Montes 70% Cabernet 30 Carmenere $10. Herbaceous nose, opens w/air; round, ripe, chewy finish.
BBQ-friendly Mendoza Cabernet 09 Norton $10. Ripe grape nose; mid-fat body; big fruit. w/chili, too (for non-beer fans).
Older Cabernet treat 1999 Spottswoode. Classic Napa herbaceous nose, light mint, oak; long, rich, silky finish; life left. w/filet
Value Paso Robles Cabernet 09 Wild Horse $14. Light mint, wood nose; mid-big body; deep fruit, tannins; long finish. w/BBQ.
Big Paso Robles Cabernet Tobin James 07 James Gang $22. Intense Cab nose, mint, berries; mid-big body; long fruity finish. w/beef
Malbec and Merlot Blends
BBQ/chili Mendoza Malbec 11 Anko $14. Earthy, ripe grape nose; fat, high-viscosity; different style; long deep finish.
Balanced, food-friendly Merlot 09 Buena Vista Carneros $22. Berry/oak/chocolate nose; mid-body, not overly grapey like some. w/beef
Great value food wine Kunde 07 Merlot $9. Berry, jam, wood nose; mid-body; good fruit, flavor, finish.
Classic Foxen 2001 Foothills Reserve 72% Merlot and Cab Franc 28%; ripe berry nose, chocolate, spice; round, ripe, rich, long finish. w/steak
Good value Mendoza Merlot 09 Tapiz $9. Chocolate, varietal nose; mid-body, round, balanced tannins; long finish. w/beef
Fruity Mendoza blend 55% Bonarda 45 Malbec, $13, Hacienda St Martin 11. Earthy, gamey, spicy nose; Bonarda adds big finish. w/BBQ, ribs
On the Oregon Pinot Noir wine trail. Dundee Hills, Chehalem Mtn. in Willamette Valley. Some great new finds. http://bit.ly/Jxw0kc
Velvety Russian River Val Pinot Noir 09 Gary Farrell $26. Stemmy PN, wood nose; mid-body, balanced, fruity, long finish. w/veal
Big Oregon Pinot Noir 2002 Beaux Freres Upper Terraces. Ripe grape, PN/oak/earth nose; mid-big body; long finish; life left. w/beef
Fine value central coast Calif. Syrah 09 Andrew Murray Tous les Jours $16. Ripe grape, mint nose; big body, round, long finish. w/ribs
Another tasty Paso Robles Syrah, Andrew Murray 09 Terra Bella $30. Complex mint/ripe grape nose (15.0 alc.); mid-big body, long finish. w/cheeses
Value Cotes du Rhone 10 Cercius Vieilles Vignes $13. 85% Grenache 15 Syrah. Earthy, berry nose; mid-big body; ripe grape finish. w/BBQ
Savoring Clerc Milon 2000 Pauillac. 67% Cab 33 Merlot. Earth, berry, wood nose; balanced tannins, rich, tasty finish. 12.5 alc. w/filet.
Ch Du Tertre ’00 Margaux. Terroir, berries, Cab-Merlot nose; mid-big body; rich finish; some life left. w/filet and peppercorn sauce.
Drouhin 05 Nuits St. Georges. light PN nose w/wood/earth; mid-body; balanced; long fruity finish. w/pork/porcini mushroom sauce. ???
Fine value Spanish Garnacha (Grenache) 10 Filon $10. Berry, jam, wood nose; deep fruit, round, ripe, good finish. Rhone-like. BBQ/beef wine