Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Special Report - A list of 15 value food friendly red wines; Great deals and All on the shelves right now; Drink up!

By Ralph Del Rio, Wine Correspondent

Here are 15 red wines, with quick notes in restaurant menu style.
All are bargains that you can find on the shelves right now. You do not need to break the bank to enjoy good wine.

These are food friendly too!...and under $15 retail.

Drink these over the next year or so. Go ahead and count on this list... no vintage is listed.

These wines are from some of the top wineries/producers year in and year out; Have fun seeking them out!...

Luzón Verde, Spain                                                                                                                          Bold red cherry and strawberry flavors are the highlight in this Monastrell

Sierra Cantabria Tinto Rioja                                                                                                           This Tempranillo wine offers robust black-fruit flavors and a satisfying herbal edge.

Bodegas Hijos de Juan Gil Juan Gil Jumilla
A fleshy, new world style of Monastrell with rich flavors and generous mocha and vanilla.

Emilio Moro Finca Resalso Ribera del Duero
An earthy red whose steady tannins, spice and acidity make it ideal for picadillo, lamb or steak.

Mas de Guiot - Grenache-Syrah
Well rounded Grenache and Syrah blend good plum and brown spices come together nicely

Perrin & Fils Côtes-du-Rhône Villages, France                                                                 Vivaciously fruity, with raspberry and sweet cherry tones.

Fontanafredda Briccotondo Barbera, Italy
This delivers loads of herbs and spices and  supple black cherry flavors

Allegrini Valpolicella Classico, Italy
Juicy and supple and delicious with bright red berry fruit flavors.

Capezzana Barco Reale di Carmignano, Italy
A supple, energizing blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet.

Terrazas de los Andes Reserva Malbec
Jammy, deep and concentrared; sourced from higher-elevation vineyards.

Montes Limited Selection Apalta Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon-Carmenère                          Rich, generous and spiced, well concentrated fruit with a full body

Cline Cashmere, California
This lush Mourvèdre, Grenache and Syrah blend yield chocolate and cherry flavors

Foxglove Zinfandel, California                                                                                               Extravagantly oaked, with caramel, chocolate and cedar flavors layered with blackberry fruit.

Liberty School, Paso Robles, California
Fruit driven and smooth; juicy red plums with supple black cherry, plum and violets

Monte Antico, Italy
Leather, cherries and plums a mighty valued Super Tuscan that delivers

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

There is nothing like a great BBQ American Burger and a glass of big red California Zinfandel!

I like all kinds of burgers beef, pork, turkey, lamb, fish and falafel(veggie burgers are awesome)...

 All go great with wine!

But, to me there is nothing like a great grilled American Burger and a glass of big red California Zinfandel.

Surely BBQ goes great with a lot of varietals such as Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc or a juicy Barbera. But, there's something about the lively cherry and that bramble! The Blackberry, even Raspberry character...Which is what a lot of California Cabernet has as well, It has spice  and some volcanic smokiness. There can be a lot of heat too because of the alcohol as well. For BBQ's its a Zin that says "Drink me"!

This is the rule I go by in BBQ. Go 'Power with Power' which means the spice in your burger can go with the spice in your wine. Unless you want to go way on the other end of the scale with a very acidic wine. That's why weirdly enough sometimes a Sancerre wine or an Italian Barbera does the trick. Just think...Why does Port wine go so well with Blue cheese?... Same thing!

I digress...Now by American Burger I mean ground chuck, Worcestershire sauce, plenty of garlic, salt, freshly ground pepper American cheese(optional). It can be Wisconsin cheddar… and of course buns…and any garnishes or condiments that you like.

OK, in searching for balance with wine, chuck works best with a burger because it has a good fat vs lean ratio. You need around 20-25% fat on your meat or you may end up with a dry burger…unless you prefer it that way.

Light your charcoal to preheat and let the coals burn down to a medium hot temperature.

Make sure your grill surface is hot and oil to take advantage of the sealing in the flavors and get some of that grill mark taste.  Cook the burgers 3-4 minutes on each side depending on your level of doneness. Put it on your bun, garnish it and enjoy!

Remember these things…

Don’t push down on the burgers, you will squeeze out the juices and lose flavor. Sometimes you see your neighborhood burger guy do it. They do it for speed nothing else. You are trading off flavor for speed of getting your burger quicker.

The FDA says to 160 degrees; but if you like mediun rare it’s around 145 to 150 degrees. You need to decide what you like and your level of risk of course.

A big Juicy Zinfandel such as a Cline Ancient Vines, Ridge Three Valleys(a lot of choices in Ridge wines), Ravenswood Lodi (same here), The Rancho Zabaco’s Heritage too…just to name a few. Oh and the Sancerre (white!!!), try one from Kermit Lynch, the acidity will cut through the fat of the burger and bring out the fruit in the wine.