Monday, May 18, 2009

Zins = not always the best match for BBQ

It seems that popular opinion is that Zins go well with BBQ....but I think I've decided that most Zinfandels don't go that well with the Lush BBQ. (Now, our BBQ is slightly spicy - so this isn't a blanket statement that NO Zins go well with ANY BBQ.)

Last weekend we smoked up a brisket and topped it with some BBQ sauce, had a few friends over and had a Graff Family Grenache, Imagery Tempranillo, and a Meeker Zin. The Zin was a high alcohol zin - 15.6% I think - but it was like adding cayenne pepper to the BBQ - it knocked up the spice by at least 2x. The Grenache, a medium bodied fruity wine (Vibrant blueberries and wild cherry surround the deeper smoky and spicy flavors of this light fruit-driven wine) went best, and the Tempranillo was also very good with it. But the Zin, while VERY good on its own, just seemed too hot- even after an hour or two of decanting. (side note - I would recommend any of these wines - all were great - I'm only talking about their pairing ability with our BBQ)

There are exceptions - I haven't paid a ton of attention, but I remember that some Zins have been better with our BBQ than others - and I'm willing to bet that the ones that were better with the BBQ had a lower alcohol content. So, should you have a spicy BBQ and want to pair a wine, look for either a low alc Zin (hard to find sometimes) or pick something a bit fruitier. If you have regular ole BBQ that's not spicy at all (maybe something Kansas City style)...then go forward with the Zins.

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