Wines for those Barbecue Times

This originally ran on my monthly column although in a much shorter, print “friendly” format.

For most any American, the month of July immediately bring to mind “barbecue”. Celebrating independence from Britain (sorry about that whole tea thing) on the 4th means cooking up meat on an open flame for some reason. To go with this savage, smoke-tinged meat, the beverage of choice has typically been beer although as the years roll on, more diverse alcoholic options have been creeping in to the American palate.

There’s no reason that wine can’t be had with barbecue and in many ways, I’m of the opinion it’s a better choice given that the current trend of extremely hoppy, potent beers in the US can easily bash up against the smoky flavors. Not all wines will work (Riesling is a nonstarter for instance) but even if you’re having barbecued chicken, I’d still stick to a red wine although one of lighter body, youthful, and with crisp fruits to take on the big character of smoked meat.

Celler Pascona – La Maria Ganxa 2014
This DO Montsant winery, while in existence for several years, has really come in to its own in the latest vintages. Their recent re-branding of the wines has made for a consistent collection, especially with this new young wine that’s a classic blend of Grenache and Carignan. Redolent currants, black pepper, wild herbs, and limestone minerality. Light red fruits on the palate. Very fresh, expressive and lively for a young wine.

Grenache, Carignan 14.5% 8.50€

Ferrer Bobet – Jove 2013
An emblematic winery of DOQ Priorat sitting out on one of the slopes near Porrera, their two upper-end wines have been wowing critics for years. This quite recent label addition is sourced from their own vineyards. While at a lower price point, it sits perfectly with the overall style of the winery. Fresh and invigorating in the nose with floral aromas and crisp red fruits. Light and incredibly balanced on the palate with good fruit notes and acidity.

Carignan, Syrah, Grenache, Cab Sauvingon 14.5% 15€