Reds for Grilling
Case of 6 bottles.
Summer is the time to enjoy dining outdoors and cooking on the grill. The pairing principles we use in our book - match, adjust, and mirror - still apply to al fresco menus, they just need to be tweaked slightly.
Grilling often means meat (beef, ribs, burgers) and the fattier component in these foods help soften more tannic (younger) red wines. The effect of grilling turns up the intensity factor, however, so bolder wines might be called for. And always be ready to make adjustments as bbq usually involves sauces - sweet, spicy, and peppery - which can re-balance the entire relationship between food and wine.
Our pairing principles also apply to chicken, fish, and vegetables, which are also terrific on the grill. Wines that are a little more full-flavoured, yet still have enough acidity to balance out the richness of the foods, are good choices.
But remember, dining al fresco is also a more relaxed experience, so think about wines that you can enjoy - perhaps without food - as the meal is being prepared.
To help take the stress out of choosing what to buy, we have prepared a mixed case of six red wines (one bottle of each) that we've thoroughly tested out by the grill. (If you prefer to enjoy white and/or rosé wine with these foods, we have another BBQ mixed case on offer). And if you enjoy them, and we hope you do, these wine are also available to purchase by-the-case through this Web site.
Wine #1 Folias de Baco, 2018 UIVO Red Vinhas Velhas Riserva, (Douro, Portugal)
A field blend of over 20 native varieties - Tinto Barroca, Tinta Roriz, and Rufete being the main ones - from +70 years old vines grown on hillside slopes (~500-600m amsl). Hand-harvested, with 65% destemming and minimal crushing
Three-month skin contact, then a long fermentation in temperature-controlled “lagares”. Malolactic fermentation in French oak barrels (25% new), then ageing (same barrels) for 36 months. Alc./vol.: 13.6%.
Tasting note: Deep blue/black core with garnet hues. Aromas and flavours of wild dark berries, plum, and blackberry, with savoury spice notes. Medium-bodied, dry, good acidity, well balanced, with a long, elegant finish.
Pairings: Pair with dry-rubbed, grilled meats - lamb, steak - cooked medium-rare to medium. Great with ribs with spicy/smoky sauces (eg South Carolina style bbq) and with earthier grilled vegetables. This is also a great wine to enjoy while the food cooks on the grill.
Wine #2 Finca Losada, 2019 Losada, (Bierzo, Spain)
Made from 100% Mencia grapes, from a selection of independently-owned plots of 40-80 year old vines found close to the winery. The plots are at 480-600m amsl. – ideal for optimum ripening of Mencia grapes.
Alcoholic fermentation - using indigenous yeast - is in temperature-controlled stainless-steel tanks, with regular pumpovers, while malolactic fermentation occurs in barrel. Aged 12 months in French oak barrels; second- and third-passage – Vosges and Allier – of different sizes. Fining with natural mineral- and vegetable-based agents and bottled unfiltered. 14.5% alc./vol.
Tasting note: Deep/bright, ruby/cherry colour. Aromas and flavours of dark, red fruits - plum, blackberry, and cherry - with floral/herbal notes of vanilla spice, cocoa, and anise. Full, with fine/round tannins, balanced acidity, and an elegant/silky finish.
Menu matches: Pair with grilled, smoked, and roasted meat dishes (especially lamb) as well as earthier vegetarian options. Great with Kansas City-style sauces for ribs and brisket, as well as more smoky/peppery dry rubs.
Wine #3 Latido de Sara, 2020 La Furgoneta que Miraba al Óribigo, (Spain)
The wine is made from 80% Mencia, 5% Garnacha Tintorera, and 15% Palomino grapes; hand-harvested from 3 plots of low-yielding vines planted between 1915 and 1945 at an altitude of ~820-850m amsl. In respect to the environment, no pesticides or chemical fertilizers are used.
Grapes are destemmed, not crushed, and alcohol fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. Malolactic fermentation is in barrels, and the wine is aged for 12 months in 700L French oak barrels - 2nd use. 13.5% alc./vol..
Our Tasting note: Bright, deep, ruby/black cherry colour with violet hues. Complex aromas and flavours of blueberry, wild raspberry, cherry, and plum, with notes of licorice, vanilla spice, violets, and mocha. Medium- to full-bodied, with well-integrated tannins, and a smooth and elegant finish.
Menu matches: Pair with grilled, braised, smoked, and roasted meat dishes (beef and lamb) and also earthier vegetarian options. Some firmer fish (like salmon), grilled, will pair nicely with La Furgoneta, as well as sweeter sauces (e.g. North Carolina-style).
Wine #4 Olivastri Tommaso, 2017 La Grondaia Montepulciano d'Abruzzo DOC (Abruzzo, Italy)
Made from 100% Montepulciano grapes, hand-harvested in late October from low-yielding estate vineyards planted 127m amsl, overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Protected by the Majella mountain to the west, the grapes ripen slowly under the dry sun of the hills.
Following crushing and destemming, the grapes are kept on the skins for 15-20 days to extract colour and flavour. A soft pressing follows, and fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled, stainless-steel tanks. The wine is aged in stainless-steel tanks for 36 months, and rests in bottle for six more months. Alc./Vol. 13.9% R.S. <3.0 gr/L.
Our tasting note: Deep ruby red colour with purple tinges. Complex aromas and flavours of cherry and plum with spicy notes of pepper, licorice, and dried herbs. Dry, medium- to full-bodied, balanced tannins, good acidity, and an elegant finish.
Food matches: Pair with grilled and roasted meats (beef, lamb, veal, pork), and in particular with spiedini cooked over charcoal. Grill some shrimp and/or chicken on skewers alongside the speidini, for a perfect surf and turf combo. La Grondaia pairs with spicy/earthy grilled vegetarian dishes and works with sweet and spicy sauces.
Wine #5 Domaine Plaisance Penavayre, 2020 La Rouge AOP (Fronton, France)
A blend of 60% Négrette, 20% Syrah, 10% Gamay, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. No chemicals are used in the vineyards, or in the winery, and production is mainly manual (low intervention/sustainable/natural).
Fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled, stainless-steel tanks. Only natural yeasts present on the skin of the grapes at the time of the harvest are used to respect the typicity of the terroir and the grape varieties. Each grape variety is vinified separately, and after 18 months, and two rackings (off the lees), the blend is made and wine is bottled (unfined and unfiltered). Alc./vol.: 13.0%.
Tasting note: Deep ruby/garnet colour. Aromas and flavours of small berries - raspberry, wild strawberry, and blackcurrant - with floral/spicy/peppery notes. Medium-bodied, dry, good acidity, well balanced, with a long, intense finish.
Pairings: Easy to drink, so a good wine to open with appetizers - like Charcuterie - while waiting for the other dishes to come off the grill. It pairs with grilled and smoked meat dishes (including game and pork), grilled sausages, and spit-roasted chicken. Cook some beans along with the grilled sausages, for a dish that resembles cassoulet - a regional specialty. It's a versatile food wine and will also work with grilled fish, grilled shellfish, and earthy vegetarian dishes.
Wine #6 Fattoria La Lecciaia, 2020 Maremma Sangiovese BIO (Tuscany, Italy)
This wine is made from 100% Sangiovese grapes sourced from certified organic vineyards in Grossetto Province in Tuscany. The grapes were hand-harvested in late September/early October, when they reach peak ripeness and maturity.
Vinification in temperature-controlled, stainless-steel tanks for 15-20 days, then aged for 6 months in oak barrique, then in bottle for at least a year before released to the market. 14.5% alc./vol., less than 1 gr/L RS. Certified organic.
Tasting Note: Ruby red in colour. Intense aromas of red berries and blackberry, with delicate floral/spicy notes. Medium- to full-bodied, and soft on the palate. Smooth tannins, with a long finish.
Menu Matches: Complements fuller-bodied foods like grilled steak (tenderloin), braised meat dishes, and game. Also pasta with meat-based sauces (like Pappardelle Cinghiale - Tuscany's national dish). If you have ever tried pizza on the grill, or have an outdoor oven, this is a great wine to serve as it balances nicely the acidity in tomatoes. It pairs with grilled vegetables or a nice selection of aged cheeses to enjoy as the sun sets. The wine finishes dry, and the aromas are more earthy and spicy, so sauces that mirror these characteristics, or dry-rubs, are better choices than sweeter/fruitier sauces.