Picking the right red wines for the BBQ…

WINE WISE: Light, medium or fuller bodied reds all have their own place in the sun

Picking red wines to pair with barbecue fare is as simple as choosing what you like.

Light, medium or fuller bodied reds all have their own place in the sun if you’re serving chicken, pork, lamb, veal, beef or even bison.

From California’s TWG – The Wine Group – Gray Fox Cabernet Sauvignon (62315) $7.39 is a white wine lovers red wine, full of black and red berry fruit flavours without that annoying nip of tannins that marks most Cabernets. Don’t let this light red get too warm, keep the bottle chilled between pours.

IGT is Italian for “Indicazione Geografica Tipica” and roughly translates as “the kind of wine we usually make in these parts” – but doesn’t it seem official and somehow reassuring? Benvenuto Barbera di Beneventano IGT (34173) $7.89 has earthy plum and liquorice undertones supporting ripe dark cherries in a straightforward, light-bodied dinner-table style. At the top end of lighter-bodied reds, unusual for Argentina, from the Revolution Wine Company, El Libre Cabernet Sauvignon (618454) $12.19 is full of dark plum and blackberry flavours. It would be easy to think there was a splash of Malbec in this Cabernet Sauvignon.

One of only a handful of red wines from Israel commonly available in BC, Galil Mountain Pinot Noir Grenache Barbera (630756) $13.99 is created under a rabbi’s immediate supervision, with only Sabbath-observant Jewish males touching the grapes from the crushing phase through the bottling. That makes this juicy red blended from 63 per cent Pinot Noir, 30 per cent Grenache and seven per cent Barbera Kosher certified.

Medium and full bodied reds are less likely to need a little chilling out on a smoky patio or sunny deck but that’s a judgement call that needs to be made on the basis of personal preferences. Too much heat and smoke can strip the structure from red wines just as easily as it does from white wines.

Another sensual red from the south of France, Les Dauphins Côtes du Rhône (536508) $13.99 is a classic blend of 80 per cent Grenache, 15 per cent Syrah and 5 per cent Mourvèdre. This is a sturdy dry red with beet and black cherry flavours over a medley of savoury sage and black pepper undernotes. Celliers des Dauphins is the largest winemaker in the Rhône area, overseeing 18,000 hectares of vineyards.

A much smaller operation, here in British Columbia, Blasted Church Vineyards has been pouring religiously-themed wines since Evelyn and Chris Campbell purchased Prpich Hills winery in 2002. Blasted Church’s Jesus Murphy (515395) $16.99 is a medium bodied blend of 63 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon, 25 per cent Malbec and 12 per cent Merlot. Red and black berry fruit flavours predominate with a sprinkling of cappuccino and chocolate in the finish

In South Africa, National Braai Day is held on Sept. 24 – known officially as Heritage Day in South Africa, an annual public holiday that was created after the end of apartheid to celebrate the country’s diverse cultures and peoples.

“A braai… is a uniquely South African social gathering around food that it roasted on an open fire,” according to Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town.

Not too surprisingly, South Africa offers us numerous red wines that suit the sunny, smoky, outdoors.

From Rickety Bridge Winery The Foundation Stone (526806) $17.39 is an intriguing blend of 38 per cent Syrah, 23 per cent Cinsault, 20 per cent Mourvèdre, nine per cent Tannat, eight per cent Grenache and two per cent Viognier.  Raspberry, blackberry, plum and spicy dried strawberry flavours tumble over the tongue with smoky, peppery dark chocolate in the finish. Once a bit of a backwater growing bulk wine grapes for blending, Lodi, California is home today to nearly 80 wineries, hundreds of “Lodi” labeled wines, and approximately 100,000 acres of premium wine grapes. James Mitchell Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon (600874) $18.19 overflows with ripe, lush blackcurrant, cherry and dark bumbleberry fruit. And just keeps on giving….

Antinori’s ‘Guado al Tasso’ estate is southwest of Florence near the medieval village of Bolgheri, Italy. “Tenuta Guado al Tasso Il Bruciato” IGT Toscana (322248) $29.95 is a remarkably affordable SuperTuscan blend of 65 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon, 20 per cent Merlot and 15 per cent Syrah.  The concentration and density of meaty, earthy black cherry and leathery, peppery spiciness pairs perfectly with the elegance of 8 months in French oak. Simply magnificent!

So flash up the barbeque and pick a red wine!

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