It’s summer and summer means barbeques and that means tasty wines to match the occasion. I have put together a selection of excellent wines to compliment any BBQ, offering excellent drinking for those long, warm nights and value for money.
In my selection there are several wines from Italy. In case you hadn’t noticed, I love Italian wine, especially their reds. Italy is a country rich in diversity of regions and native varieties (over 4000 different varieties in Italy). I think it is the combination of savoury flavours, firm tannins and refreshing acidity that captivates me. There are also so many interesting winemaking techniques used in this country. Note the methods outlined in the last two wines; ways to increase concentration in the resulting wine. Geeky stuff, but I love it.
Region:Mendoza, the most famous region of Argentina and with some of the highest vineyards in the world. The vineyards are planted at high altitude as its cooler, resulting in wines with freshness.
Taste:Aromas of ripe peaches, green melon with hazelnuts abound, a fruity entry with strong peach flavours retaining a refreshing vein due to good acid levels. The finish is warm, giving length and drinkability.
Best with:Canapés, seafood dishes and vegetarian entrees.
Style:A fruity, fresh New World Chardonnay, quite NZ like.
Serving Temp.: 8-10 degrees, a fridge typically cools to around 4 degrees
which is too cool for white wine as it reduces aroma and flavour. Take the bottle out of the fridge and let it warm up for 30 minutes or so.
Taste:This wine speaks of a warm climate, with baked blackberry, (like Mum’s baked blackberry pie; delish) aromas, vanilla and cocoa. The palate is rich, ripe, rounded with robust tannins that give structure to the ripe, generous fruit.
Serve with:Any red meat cooked on the BBQ.
Style:A rich, ripe red wine that’s rustic but very drinkable.
Serving Temp: 12-13 degree, this is a wine from a warm climate, hence serving slightly cooler will personify fresh fruit flavours rather than the alcohol.
Variety:Monastrell, this is a variety that needs a hot climate in which to ripen.
Taste:Black plums, chocolate, cinnamon and cedar flavours with rustic, firm, chewy tannins, giving balance to the ripe fruits. This wine still has freshness because the variety is suited to hot climates.
Best with:Beef and lamb on the BBQ.
Style:A big, ripe, robust red wine that still has freshness as the variety is suited to hot climates, great drinkability.
Serving Temp.:12-13 degrees, the wine will quickly warm up in these hot temperatures.
Taste:Dark chocolate and cherries aromas and flavours, with a rich, smooth, silky and sexy palate, balanced by moderate tannins and acidity. Great drinking and excellent value for money.
Serve with:All red meats on the BBQ.
Style:Passito translate to ‘dried grapes’. The grapes are harvested and dried, reducing the water content (loses up to 32% water) and increasing the concentration. The grapes are fermented, and the wine matured in oak. This results in a rich, round, supple wine which has great concentration and the illusion of sweetness. Typically, the wine is dry.
Taste:Delicious aromas of coffee grinds, toast, vanilla with hints of mint. Lots of sweet fruit on the entry with baked berries and chocolate flavours, balanced by chewy tannins.
Serve with:Red meats on the BBQ.
Style:Governo is the name for this winemaking technique supposedly developed in Tuscany where grapes are harvested and dried in the lofts (today they use warehouses with specific humidity and temperature control). These dried grapes are added to a vat of red grapes which have almost finished fermenting. This produces wines with aromas of dried and baked fruit, generous round fruit on the palate and like the previous wine, the sensation of some sweetness, but the wine is dry.