Monday, June 14, 2010

A Date With Happenstance

It’s that time of year to barbeque so let's break out those big wines. I’m calling for those red Zin’s, Shiraz, and Petite Sirah’s. These varietals are definitely on the short list.

 Do you love when a good plan comes together? A plan so calculated and well executed that magic happens? Well, magic happened when it came to pairing the perfect wine for an evening invite to a barbeque at a friend's house. Only, rather than a plan it was delivered by happenstance.

The evening's festivities consisted of two good friends, barbeque, sports on the 50-inch, and an '06 Ross Estate Old Vine Australian Grenache.  Who the heck pairs a Grenache with barbeque? I’m not quite sure. I just happened to make my pre-dinner purchase earlier that day so, I thought,  why not give it a go? I’ve had some experience with the Ross Estate Reserve Shiraz and I was very impressed by the quality for the price. This wine came in at $17. A modest price for a wine that spoke so boldly.

On the menu that night was nothing fancy. Ribs in the oven, eventually smothered in KC masterpiece barbeque sauce. I brought the jalapeno poppers wrapped in bacon, baked beans purchased from the new 4 Rivers smokehouse, and the wine.

A little background on the Ross Estate Grenache. The grapes for this wine come from the oldest vines on the Estate at 94 years of age. Shiraz from vines this old can command fairly high prices. Fortunately, Grenache does not assert the same hype as does Shiraz, and the price reflects this. These old vines are not irrigated in this stressful dry Barossa climate. No doubt stressed vines can equal great wine! This wine rests close to a year in French oak. Ninety-one points from the stingy-scoring wine critic Stephen Tanzer was a welcome sight!

The Ross Estate Grenache has a crisp bright red glow. The nose on the wine gives a glimpse of what’s in store. Wafts of spice, bright red fruit, and smoke lead into the palate. The acidity of this wine shows off it’s laser like precision, followed by pepper, wild berries, cranberry and a mineral component. The real magic happens when you incorporate the food.

The ribs and the baked beans both amplified the flavors of the wine (this goes to eleven!).  The wine took on an energy and explosiveness that left me slightly stunned.  I was not quite prepared for the experience and took a brief moment to ingrain it into my memory bank.  I looked at my friend and said I have to blog this. He looked at me like he always does…..a bit worried and frightened. Kidding aside, it’s these spontaneous, unannounced moments that reinforce my love for wine. Until next wine…..

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