Tim’s Top 5 Barbecue Wines

Memorial Day weekend is almost upon us, and we’re willing to bet that most of you are either going to barbecues or planning your own (weather permitting, of course). To help you pick out the best wines to pair with cookout classics, we had Tim Sweeney, owner of Stone Ridge Wine & Spirits, pick out his top five barbecue-friendly wines. Whether you’re slow-cooking some ribs in the smoker, searing steaks over some red hot coals, or just enjoying a few glasses of wine with some friends, these wines will be a sure hit at any Memorial Day party. Here they are, in no particular order:

The Messenger White Wine #1The Messenger White Wine #1 (NV)

($17.99 + tax; 13.4% alc)

Ripe, refreshing, and slightly off-dry, The Messenger White Wine #1 is a blend of 69% Sauvignon Blanc, 18% Muscat Canelli, and 13% Riesling. While it would pair perfectly with spicier dishes thanks to its slight sweetness and notes of tropical fruit and spice, this multi-vintage wine is also excellent on its own.

Fiddletown Cellars 2011 Old Vine ZinfandelFiddletown Cellars 2011 Old Vine Zinfandel

($21.99 + tax; 14.5% alc)

Zinfandel has always been one of my favorite grapes, so when Tim picked out the Fiddletown Cellars 2011 Old Vine Zinfandel for this list, I had no complaints. This full-bodied, jammy beauty of a red is bursting with berry and black cherry aromas and a noticeable hint of fragrant vanilla on the finish, making it a great match for your favorite barbecued rib recipe.

47 Friends California Table Red Blend47 Friends California Red Table Wine (NV)

($11.99 + tax; 13.8% alc)

47 Friends California Table Red Blend was created to take the guesswork out of finding a high quality, affordably priced everyday wine. This fruit-forward, easy-drinking red is a blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Syrah, 20% Zinfandel, and 10% other grape varietals, and would pair perfectly with burgers, steaks, chicken, or whatever else you happen to be grilling.

Orlana Rosé Vinho Verde (NV)Orlana Rose Vinho Verde

($9.99 + tax; 10.5% alc)

Vinho Verde (“green wine”) is a style of wine that originated in Northern Portugal. These young, fresh, and slightly fizzy wines are available in white, rosé, or (less commonly) red, and are made from a host of Portuguese grape varieties. Orlana Rosé Vinho Verde is exceptionally light and fruity with fresh berries on the palate, and is a fantastic all-day sipper for a barbecue. At $9.99 a bottle (and 20% off cases!), this is the ultimate summer party wine.

Lava Cap 2011 El Dorado Cabernet SauvignonLava Cap 2011 El Dorado Cabernet Sauvignon

($19.99 + tax; 14.5% alc)

Sometimes called the “King of Grapes,” the California Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most recognizable wines in the world. Lava Cap Winery’s take on this legendary style is a full-bodied yet incredibly smooth wine with notes of black cherry, vanilla, and a hint of spice. This dark and silky red is just begging to be served with a seared ribeye.

From now until the end of the long weekend (let’s call it Monday at 9 p.m.), all of these wines are 10% off individual bottles, so it’s easier than ever to make sure your party is fully stocked.

On a more somber note, with all the grilling, drinking, and celebrating going on, it’s easy to forget what Memorial Day is really all about – it’s about remembering the brave men and women who lost their lives in defense of our country. In honor of those fallen heroes, we hope that you celebrate safely and have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Introducing Saturday’s Tasting Wines, Round 2

 

(Mostly) accurate depiction of this Saturday's tasting wines.

(Mostly) accurate depiction of this Saturday’s tasting wines.

Are you a fan of big wines? And by big wines, I mean wines that you’d pair with a grilled ribeye, or a spicy bowl of chili con carne, or some ultra-pungent blue cheese? Then this Saturday’s Ridiculously Big Wines Tasting is for you. Here’s a little bit of background on each wine we’ll be pouring:

Olivier LaFont Ventoux Blanc 2013

A blend of Grenache Blanc, Clairette, and Bourboulenc, this full-bodied white is fruit-forward with citrus, peach, and subtle floral notes.

Scott Family Arroyo Seco 2012 Chardonnay

This California beauty is produced from vine clones from Dijon, the birthplace of some of the Burgundy’s most prestigious wines. Full-bodied with notes of apricot and tropical fruit, this wine is oaked, but not overly so; 8 months of sur lies aging in French oak impart a subtle creamy vanilla note. 

Honoro Vera 2013 Monastrell

Produced by Gil Family Estates, the folks behind Ateca, Juan Gil, and the highly-rated Clio, Honoro Vera 2013 Monastrell is made from 100% organic grapes from the northwest of Jumilla. The wine is dark, rich, and aromatic with notes of ripe berries, fresh herbs, and a hint of peppery spice.

Marchesi de’ Cordano Trinita 2007 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Closer to black than to red in color, this well-aged, perfectly balanced Montepulciano d’Abruzzo defines “big.” Pronounced notes of ripe berries, dried flowers, and pleasant spice are rounded out nicely by 12 months of oak aging and an additional 12 months of bottle conditioning.

Tertulia Cellars Redd Brand NV Syrah Blend

Part of a highly limited release of 322 cases, Redd Brand Syrah is a blend of 95% Syrah and 5% Mourvedre. This hearty Washington state red is described by the winemaker as vibrant and muscular with notes of blueberry, smoked game, cassis, and lemon peel.

Château Fougas Maldoror 2005

2005 in Bordeaux is widely regarded as a spectacular vintage, and the Château Fougas Maldoror 2005 is certainly no exception. Complex and layered with notes of blackerry, cassis, and cedar, this wine is drinking beautifully, but will continue to develop with age, if you can resist opening it now!

Domaine Thunevin-Calvet Cuvée Constance 2010 Roussillon

Hailing from the Côtes du Roussillon AOC, Domaine Thunevin-Calvet Cuvée Constance is a blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Carignan. The wine has been aged for just over a year in concrete tanks, rather than oak, allowing for bright, fresh, pronounced fruit character and hints of stone and minerality.

Sean Minor Wines 2009 Napa Red Blend

This classically huge California red blend is made up of 30% Merlot, 23% Petit Verdot, 17% Zinfandel, 16% Petite Sirah, 10% Syrah, and 4% Malbec. The result is a hefty yet smooth wine with hints of cherries, blueberries, black currant, and vanilla, along with some woody undertones, thanks to careful aging in French and American oak.

Liberty School 2011 Merlot

California’s 2011 vintage was a tough one; rainfall was lacking, so yields were considerably lower than in previous years. But that didn’t stop Hope Family Wines from creating the standout Liberty School 2011 Merlot. Fermented in stainless steel and aged for 12 months in 50% French and 50% American oak, this dark, silky red is fruit-forward and well-structured with notes of dark plum, cherry, and bright, ripe berries.

Curtis Winery 2012 Cuvée Red

Having featured their 2010 Mourvedre in a previous tasting, we’re already big fans of Curtis Winery. Their 2012 Cuvée Red is a blend of 39% Grenache, 26% Mourvedre, 19% Cinsault, and 16% Syrah, resulting in a rich and smooth Rhône-style wine with notes of black currant, warm spice, and a long finish.

Hope Family Wines Candor Lot 5 Zinfandel

Since we enjoyed the Liberty School 2011 Merlot so much, we decided to feature another wine from Hope Family Wines. The Candor Lot 5 Zinfandel is a blend of several of their best vintages, which results in the perfect expression of the California Zin – robust, jammy, and smooth with lots of berries and a hint of spice.

90+ Cellars 2013 McLaren Vale Shiraz

If you’re not familiar with 90+ Cellars, you’re in for a treat. This Boston-based company buys the unsold wines from top-rated wineries, rebrands them with their own label, and sells them for a fraction of their original price. Boasting notes of dark plums, substantial spice, and a hint of vanilla on the finish, the 2013 McLaren Vale Shiraz is a veritable behemoth of a wine, and a perfect example of the style. You’ll be glad this one arrived just in time for barbecue season.

And that’s the lineup, as it stands – to taste any or all of these wines for FREE, stop by this Saturday anytime between 2 and 7 p.m., and tell as many of your friends as you can! As always, this lineup is subject to change, but that just means there might be a few pleasant surprises on the way.

Introducing Saturday’s Tasting Wines

As you may have learned from our Facebook page, Twitter updates, or email blasts, our big Spring Wine Tasting is tomorrow. We’ve made a few changes to the wine lineup, so we thought this might be a good opportunity to tell you all a bit about what we’ll be pouring.

Not 100% accurate, but hey, it's a nice looking pyramid.

Not 100% accurate, but hey, it’s a nice looking pyramid.

R&B Cellars 2012 Sauvignon Blanc

Made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes grown in Lake County (80%) and Mendocino (20%), this crisp yet substantial California white is bright and complex with notes of citrus and oak. Its production was limited to 500 cases, so this one won’t be around forever.

Pino 2010 Montepulciano D’Abruzzo

This dry, medium-bodied Italian red is smooth and earthy with hints of cherry and a bit of pepper on the finish. Little information about the producer is available, but at $9.99, this is an unbelievable value.

Wild Meadows 2011 Merlot

Washington State Merlot wines are among the best, and Wild Meadows’ 2011 offering is no exception. This medium-to-full-bodied beauty has notes of cherries, oak, and a hint of cocoa.

Mendoza Vinyards “1907” Malbec 2011

This is a big, bold, classic Argentinian Malbec with notes of berries, oak, leather, and pepper. When you take a sip of this wine, you’ll wish you had a 12-ounce ribeye in front of you. This single-vineyard Malbec earned 90 points from the Wine Advocate.

Sobon Family Wines 2011 Old Vines Zinfandel

The Sobon family have been involved in winemaking since 1977, employing sustainable growing practices and natural winemaking techniques. Their 2011 Old Vines Zinfandel is jammy, peppery, and complex, and earned 88 points from Wine Enthusiast.

Angeline Winery Pinot Noir 2012

An offshoot of Martin Ray Winery, whose wines we’ve featured in past tastings, Angeline Winery produces high-quality wines at an affordable price point. Their 2012 Pinot Noir is fresh and fruity with notes of berries, vanilla, and oak.

Donna Tinto

We couldn’t find much information on this Portuguese red blend, but not unlike its Portuguese peers, Donna Tinto is amazingly tasty, especially considering its $7.99 price tag.

Rock Face 2012 Lodi Syrah

This sustainably-farmed, lightly-filtered California Syrah is medium-to-full-bodied with beautiful fruit and notes of herbs and pepper. At $12.99, this is a bang-for-your-buck steak wine.

Esprit du Preuillac 2009 Médoc

This classic Bordeaux is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot, which is aged in French oak barrels for 12 months. Full-bodied and peppery, this wine boasts notes of ripe red fruit, vanilla, and leather. This is the second wine of the 2009 Chateau Preuillac, which earned 91 points from Wine Enthusiast.

Aveleda Follies 2011 Alvarinho/Loureiro

This blend of Alvarinho/Loureiro is floral, citrusy, and refreshing, and would pair perfectly with grilled fish or veggies. As far as price versus quality, it’s hard to go wrong with Portuguese wines.

Muriel Rioja

Muriel Rioja is a multi-vintage wine made from Tempranillo grapes. Zesty and full-bodied with a hint of oak, this rustic wine would go perfectly with spicy Spanish food.

90+ Cellars 2012 Côtes du Rhône Blanc

The concept behind 90+ Cellars is a deal-seeker’s dream. This company buys unsold wines from top-rated winemakers, labels them as their own, and sells the for a fraction of what they would normally cost. The 2012 Côtes du Rhône Blanc is a balanced blend of Grenache Blanc, Viognier, and Roussanne that boasts notes of pears and honey with some minerality on the finish.

And that about covers it – we hope to see you at the tasting tomorrow!

Check out the Facebook event for more tasting details.

https://www.facebook.com/events/366875970121538/?ref=br_tf