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Voting Booth: Wine for grilled fare
As we've noted in several recent articles, outdoor grilling season is back in full force, in this part of the world, anyway, with the onset of sultry and humid midsummer heat.
The intriguing flavors that woodsmoke and charcoal impart to grilled fare set up a whole new set of options for the beverages we choose to accompany our dinner: A juicy steak sizzling from the charcoal grill is just deliciously different enough from a steak seared in a skillet on the rangetop to call for a re-evaluation of the wine (or other drink) to go with it.
Last year, in a Wine Lovers' Voting Booth topic in May 2003, we invited you to nominate the beverages that you thought go best with barbecue, consciously leaving the definition of "barbecue" open to a range of regional goodies including meats treated with spicy vinegar or tomato-based sauces, dry rubs, wet "mops" and other saucing techniques that can make wine-matching an iffy proposition.
This summer, let's address this question again, but this time adhering to a pure, pristine definition: Speaking specifically and only of quality beef steaks (or vegetables, if you're a vegetarian), grilled outdoors over charcoal, wood or natural gas, we invite your "vote" for the best beverage match with grilled fare.
For the sake of not-too-rigorous analysis, we offer exactly the same "ballot" of choices as in the 2003 topic. As always, this is a lighthearted poll with no scientific value, presented simply to inspire discussion and for the fun of seeing how your answers compare with those of other wine lovers around the world. Once you've cast your vote, the software will immediately tally your entry and recalculate the totals. To participate, simply click to
TALK ABOUT WINE ONLINE
If you prefer to comment privately, feel free to send me E-mail at email@example.com. I'll respond personally to the extent that time and volume permit.
With today's topic in mind, last night I fired up the grill and seared a fine, small ribeye steak from a local producer, and pulled the cork from this exceptional Côtes du Rhone, a blend of Grenache and Syrah with a flavor profile made to go with grilled beef. (I've had this one around for a year or so, so it's no longer the current vintage; if you have a hard time finding it, note that the 2001 has been receiving rave reviews.)Domaine Réméjeanne 2000 "Les Genévriers" Côtes du Rhone Villages ($14.99)
This is an inky dark-purple, wine, almost black and opaque in the glass, with glints of garnet against the light. Black fruit and anise aromas dominate, with a conifer-like whiff of something akin to juniper that may be a trick of mental association with the vineyard name "Les Genévriers" ("the juniper trees"). The aromas carry over intact in the flavor, adding typical Rhone-red notes of black pepper and raw beef, characteristics that make it a natural with red meat. Warm and full, with a sharp cutting edge of acidity and astringent tannins. A blend of Grenache and Syrah with a dash of Mourvédre, it's about as big and bold as Cotes-du-Rhone gets, and could use still more cellar time. U.S. importer: USA Wine Imports, NYC, for Vineyard Expressions of Ithaca, N.Y. (July 11, 2004)
FOOD MATCH: Grass-fed ribeye steak, grilled medium-rare over hot charcoal and garnished with mild poblano peppers roasted over the same coals, made a first-rate match for this hearty red.
VALUE: With the rising strength of the Euro against the dollar, it's no longer easy to find quality Cotes-du-Rhone for much less than this mid-teens price; that being said, this one can compete with Chateauneuf-du-Pape at twice the price.
WHEN TO DRINK: Grilled red meat brings it around nicely, but the wine's depth and tannic astringency suggest that several years of careful cellaring will bring it to a still higher peak.
PRONUNCIATIONS: With the reminder that these pronunciation guides are only rough approximations to assist English speakers in asking for wines without embarrassment:
WEB LINK: I can't find much information about this wine or producer online; the U.S. importer's Website is light on information, consisting primarily of contact names and addresses:
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE: Look for vendors and compare prices for Domaine Réméjeanne's wines on Wine-Searcher.com,
California Wine Club:
The California Wine Club is America's only wine service featuring real-working, smaller family-owned wineries. This month's selection is an award-winning double red feature that you won't want to miss!
Peirano Estate Vineyards 1999 Six Clones "Lodi" Merlot and the Peirano Estate Vineyards 1998 Estate Grown "Lodi" Shiraz have - between them - won 18 different medals. This is a Merlot of great depth with forward sweet wood aromas and multiple layers of fruit. This Shiraz is intensely purple, full bodied with lots of fruit and sweet smoke on the nose.
This outstanding two-bottle selection is just $32.95 plus shipping and includes a detailed 8-page newsletter, Uncorked. Join The California Wine Club today and they'll send you an extra bottle of the Shiraz, on them! As always, The California Wine Club guarantees every wine they ship, there are no membership fees and you can cancel anytime.
Call 1-800-777-4443 and be sure to mention The 30 Second Wine Advisor. Or visit
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This week on WineLoversPage.com
Here are links to some of our recently published articles that I think you'll enjoy:
Bucko's Wine Reports: New Wines for Early Summer
Wine Lovers' Discussion Group: Bordeaux loyalty
Last Week's Wine Advisor Index
The Wine Advisor's daily edition is usually distributed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (and, for those who subscribe, the FoodLetter on Thursdays). Here's the index to last week's columns:
A trip to Austria (July 9, 2004)
Summer red: Valpolicella (July 7, 2004)
Sipping and grilling (July 5, 2004)
Complete 30 Second Wine Advisor archive:
Wine Advisor FoodLetter: Simple sausage (July 8, 2004)
Wine Advisor Foodletter archive:
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Monday, July 12, 2004