WBW23 Round up – BBQ Wines!

Whew! With the fanfare of the 4th of July in the US and World Cup 2006 everywhere else (sadly not as so much here…BTW – the Socceroos should be facing off against France! Tired of the European method actors!…) I was hoping that BBQ wines would attract a crowd and it surely has! We’ve got 24 entries, some with multiple wines, in this month’s edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday. The theme of BBQ wines drew alot of questions from the wine blogosphere – what is BBQ? BBQ or Grilled meats? Its the rainy season here so I’m not using my grill! – but I think that was the beauty of the topic. My brother moved to North Carolina several years ago and when I visited there we went to a BBQ joint. They didn’t have baby back ribs or grilled steak… they had slow roasted pork with a great sauce, almost in a Hawaiian style. It was very different, and very delicious.

So with this theme came many interpretations and I think there’s some advice in here for every type of BBQ/Grilled meat you might run into, hence I consider this a success.

First, one question I seem to get repeatedly – if my name is Joel Vincent, why is this Vivi’s Wine Journal? With this audience allow me to take a second to explain. A few years back my aunt, with whom my brothers and I were very close with, passed away after a multi-decade fight with lung disease complicated by Lupus. Two years ago when I started this blog I dedicated it to her memory. Her name was Viviane and her maiden name was Vincent. We all called her Vivi. Hence we have “Vivi’s Wine Journal”


Second, the chick in the WBW#23 announcement photo was the #1 photo in Google Images when I searched on “BBQ”. My wife, Kelly, and I just couldn’t stop laughing when we saw it so we used it.

Anyway, on to the big show!

I have a secret family recipe for steak on the grill. Its a combination of spices used as a rub. The most I will say is that my family is from Haiti and the spices are common to our type of cooking. Over the years I’ve added a touch of Jamaican Jerk spicing to it for my own flair but its mostly Vivi’s original. The rub absorbs into the marbleized steak while it cooking on the grill and, OH MAN, its delicious. Never had a house guest disappointed with it and people always ask me if I’m makin’ steak when they’re coming over for dinner.

A steak like this needs a B-I-G wine. Its California or Australia all the way for me when I make it. This time, however, I decided to follow up this spicy delight with a post-meal Ballentine 2003 Zinfandel Port – a 100% Zinfandel port. I bought a case last year and have been savoring it ever since. Its wonderful blackberry flavors with just the right amount of sweetness were a perfect follow up to the hearty steak. Highly recommend grabbing some of this port if Ballentine has any left.

Paalo, of “Cook (almost) Anything” in Melbourne (first of a couple from the Southern Hemisphere!), chimed in early with some interesting selections of not only wine but food. Turns out in Australia they have a delicacy known as “Balmain Bugs”, apparently similar to Crawfish, he recommends ‘a correctly chilled bottle of Prosecco or for a local alternative, Seppelt Vintage Fleur de Lys.’ A steak? Go for a fruity Shiraz like Campbells Bobbie Burns Shiraz from the Rutherglen in Victoria, AU. And for kebabs, a Chardonnay such as Yarra Burn Chardonnay from the Yarra Valley also in Victoria. It was hard enough to get an Aussie to recommend a wine with BBQ instead of beer, so we won’t push him for a recommendation on grilled veggies!

Beau, of BasicJuice, brings a splash of flavor to the cookout. Having discovered a “Danish Viking-Smoked Salt” he pulled together a great recipe that highlights this unusual ingredient and then accents the meal with his wine selections. Being a grilling nut, I’m going to have to sample this salt and try variations to Vivi’s secret steak recipe using this salt… Anyway, Beau matches this main ingredient of his twice cooked pork recipe with a jammy-spicy Montes Alpha Syrah 2003 ($15-$17; from Chile’s Colchagua Valley) and an earthy-woody Tormaresca Puglia IGT 2003 ($7-$9; from Italy’s heel). The combination sounds absolutely mouth watering and worth a visit to BasicJuice!

Box Wine Guy, from Box Wines, goes the Midwestern US tradition – steak and corn – paired with a casual cabernet for the atmosphere that should appeal to the casual drinker as well as the experienced wine enthusiast. With that criteria in mind, he chose Kelly’s Revenge Cabernet Sauvignon which he describes as not overly “cerebral” but certainly solid and casual enough for a 4th of July cookout.

After pretty negative results with pre-BBQ tasting of honeywine, Bec’s Happybox used her celebration of Canada Day to sample a quartet of wines, Merridale ciders, Phillips IPA, Barossa Shiraz 2003, and a 100% monastrell grape Spanish wine called Juan Gil Jumilla. All held up pretty well with their variety of grilled meats which included New York steak, lamb and pork sausages, and bison steak.

Becks & Posh had a rough time with the rose recommendation the received from their local

wine shop. Heading for an annual beach outing they grabbed a 2004 Wirra Wirra Mrs Wrigley Rosé from Australia that turned out to be far too sweet to go with a sausage sandwich.

Serge the Concierge suggests Killibinbin 2003 Blend from the floodplains of Langhorne Creek in Australia to pair with grilled Lamb Chops while Jim of Wine & Politics suggests Guenoc 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon to pair up with burgers and franks.

Wine Blogging Wednesday founder and blogging vet Lenn of Lenndevours did some gourmet grillin’ with tomato carpaccio salad with baby arugala, grilled sweet corn, pistachios, grated grana padano and a dressing made with Champagne vinegar and Stonehouse olive oil paired with two roses with this course, both from Channing Daughters Winery: 2005 Rosati di Cabernet Franc Croteau Farm Vineyard and 2005 Rosati di Merlot McCall Vineyard (I read so much about Channing Daughters on his blog I’m beginning to wonder if he owns some stock!

). He next paired the main course of steak with some Ravenswood’s 2002 Monte Rosso Zinfandel.

Another Wine Blogging vet and uber blogger, Alder of Vinography (who keeps calling me Vivi

), has a great write up of 2003 Bokisch Graciano, Lodi, CA not only describing the great wine, the wine makers, and their history but also some suggestions on what you might want to grill with it.

Benito was celebrating his girlfriend’s b-day (how sweet

) so naturally he went ahead and prepared a special meal – “ten pounds of Danish spare ribs, using a blend of hickory, apple, cherry, and sassafrass.” If she’s not impressed I say there are plenty of fish in the see my man… With this special meal Benito chose a light and crisp Banrock Station Sparkling Chardonnay.

There were a few wine sent in from our neighbors to the North. While they can’t buy a

Stanley Cup (there’s the Wikipedia link for the Canadians who’ve forgotten what that is…), they certainly can pick wine. Michelle and Erin from the aptly named GrapeJuice thankfully submitted an Ice Wine, to which they attest Canada as the quality leader (and I agree, however just like Hockey, we’ll get better at it soon enough). They got the party started before even lighting the charcoal with a Crown Bench Estates Winery “Hot Ice” – an Ice Wine infused with jalapeno! Check out the tasting notes on that one. (Erin – nice composition on that photo)

Also from the North, Pheonix’s…I mean Winnepeg’s wine in the ‘peg (that was another hockey joke) submits J. Lohr’s “Painter Bridge” Zinfandel (2004 vintage) to go with a traditional hearty steak recipe.

Winner of the most comprehensive tasting note I’ve ever seen beating out the fabled Alder of Vinography is Dave from Avenue Vine. He reviewed DUTTON-Goldfield, 2004 Russian River Zinfandel. History of the Russian River Valley, the winery, the climate, the topography, the vitals of the wine, its all there. I was looking for the BBQ pairing but before I found it my brain was full so I stopped


Inferior Good’s Whit Stevens gives a link explaining the difference between “grilling” and “BBQ”. Guess what, I disagree with that opinion but its a free country and since I don’t have some sort of cooking degree they’re probably right and I’m probably wrong. In my house, if I put it on my Weber, its BBQ. Anyway, I definitely agree with Whit’s definition of grill/BBQ wine:

a) be able to cut through rich, greasy meat,

b) be easy to drink and accessible,

c) complement typical grilled meat flavors (smoke, spice, pepper), and

d) be reasonably priced

Amen brother! His choices included 2003 Chateau La Vernède Coteaux du Languedoc which met the criteria and a 2004 Fess Parker Frontier Red Lot #41 which didn’t.

Ryan and Gabriella of Catavino ring in from Spain (love this diverse community! just love it!). Grilling (or is it BBQ? hmmm…) is tough when you’re in the heart of Madrid but they got creative and did some “oven grilling”. To toast the World Cup Semifinal they tried both a French and a Portugese wine. While Henry is a wuss and if it were me I would’ve fought through that tackle and scored legitimately, France took the game 1–0 and are headed to the finals. So at Catavino its N.V. Embres & Castelmaure Corbières La Jeep – France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Corbières ONE and 2003 Ramos-Pinto Douro Duas Quintas – Portugal, Douro NIL.

Winecast’s Tim went with one of my favorites (and I get plenty of it since Kelly’s from Green Bay) – Wisconsin brats and traditional side-dishes, potato and macaroni salad. Although now that I’m in CA I’m all low carb (wine is my vice) so I haven’t had the potato and macaroni salad in years. He paired it with Wolffer Rosé 2005, the 2005 vintage of Veramonte’s Sauvignon Blanc from the Casablanca Valley of Chile, and 2003 Chiarello Family Vineyards, Zinfandel, “Giana”. If you’ve never been to Winecast you should definitely check out Tim’s entry as he has the whole thing setup as a Podcast and MP3.

Jens at Cincinnati Wine Warehouse pairs his hot 90/90 (90 F with 90% humidity) BBQ with a chilled Oregon 2005 Penner-Ash Roseo while Joanne of Fork and Bottle submits a delicious sounding, 50% tempranillo, 40% field blend dominated by grenacha (grenache), and 10% from mazuela (carignan) 2001 Valsacro Dioro “Selección J & D” Rioja.

Craig is a happy camper this year as he has spent years living in Italy and he no doubt will be glued to the ‘tube this coming Sunday. His memory of the time there bring the most unusual grilling pairing of the round up – grilled fresh anchovies and sardines with which he pairs 2004 Cesani Vernaccia di San Gimignano.

They’re Grillin’ and Chillin’ in Syracuse! Jennifer’s family hails from North Carolina and, like I said earlier, BBQ is something very specific down there. She is clear that she’s “grillin’” and as such she picked out some Gianelli sausages. To go with this she chose a Dolce Bianco White Table Wine. This picture of Jennifer brings back fond memories of my Grandma cooking for me when I came home for a visit from college (not b/c of age – she’s obviously a beautiful, young southern woman…who grew up in Brooklyn).

Tomato’s Ed charged in from the southern hemisphere agreeing with me that a grill (or is it BBQ…hmmm) should be used year round. I am only introduced to his blog through this event but I like him already

. Read a little further – “Big meat means big wine doesn’t it?”…I like this blog even more now. You can follow Ed’s adventure trying to pair a 2002 Jasper Hill Shiraz and Foxey’sHangout 2003 Shiraz from the Mornington Peninsula with various griddles. And remember, “at 14.5 per cent alcohol by volume you might get pretty pissed too.” – gotta love the Aussie vernacular!

Michelle of My Wine Education paired up her favorite grilled dish – citrus-garlic pork loin – with 2005 Ledson Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc. While not a perfect fit, a bit of a clash of the citruses (or is it citrusi?), its was apparently an enjoyable wine and an enjoyable meal…just not together. Michelle and Kevin have my kind of wine rating system – smiley faces


And finally, Red Wine With Fish’s Daniel concocted a Zin-based BBQ sauce and Zin-based steak marinade to pair with a 2000 P. Coturri Family Vineyards Zinfandel with great success (I should hope so!).

Jules of The Wine Wanker benefitted from my life getting in the way of this write up and sent me his entry just as I was spell checking. Hailing from New Zealand, Jules also has three guidelines for wine with food from the barbie:

  • Value for money / cheapness – you don’t want the plebs drinking anything too flash so nothing over NZ $20 (about US $10)
  • Something approachable and agreeable – that means nothing too esoteric. While you and you crazy wine drinking buddies might like a Sparkling Shiraz everyone else will just be weirded out and too scared to touch the stuff (unless you live in Oz)
  • But nevertheless something that will impress the crowds – you haven’t built up the reputation as ‘Wine Wanker’ for nothing have you now? And you don’t want to tarnish that fine reputation?

With that in mind Jules submits 3 Kiwi wines – 2004 Carrick Sauvignon Blanc, Central Otago, 2005 Stonecroft ‘Zin’ Rose, Hawkes Bay, and 2004 Kemblefield Zinfandel, Hawkes Bay. Just to maintain an air of reality, he throws in a beer for good measure – Epic Pale Ale – which he believes could be one of the best beers in the world!

Well, thats the long and the short of it. A wide range of flavors, opinions, and definitions of BBQ, from all around the globe. I’d like to thank Lenn for the opportunity and if anyone is traveling to California anytime soon (Lenn and I missed each other on his last trip) don’t hesitate to drop me a line and we can hit the wine bar or maybe even fire up the barbie!

Update: Really under the wire (got the e-mail just as I pressed the “post” button) is the 25th entry from Jathan at Winexpression. He chose the veratile 2005 Herb Lamb Vineyards EII White Wine which he proclaims can go with just about anything you throw on a grill.

Update2: I sincerely apologize to Purple Liquid as her e-mail got buried and I missed it. The 26th entry to WBW#23 comes from Catherine of Purple Liquid. She was actually first to submit prior to her vacation at the Glacier National Park. She pairs a 2003 Viña Sila Rueda Naiades, a 100% Verdejo wine, with a grilled shrimp recipe with Moroccan

Charmoula sauce. Man this was a good topic! I can’t wait to try some of these recipes on my Weber!

Update 3: Jeez I’m an idiot. Jennifer at Taste Everything Once pokes a finger in the eye of wine snobs with the only BOXED WINE entry. Why? “Because Target’s boxed wine is pretty damn good.” she proudly proclaims! The Cabernet-Shiraz blend paired wonderfully with our July 4th hamburgers and grilled corn. As my sister-in-law says – its not a box, its a ‘cube’…

Also, Marcus from Doktor Weingolb writes in with his “poser BBQ food”, i.e. food cooked on a stove that appears 100% grilled! Her pairs his with a nice 2001 Selection Shiraz Cabernet from Domaine de la Baume.

Finally, Edward of Wino Sapien writes in to add his Chinese BBQ pork (Char Sui Pork) recipe.

Create a marinade of:
1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup red rice wine vinegar, 1/4 cup mirin, 1/2 tbsp honey, 1/2 tbsp hoisin sauce,
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder, 1 pinch chinese five spice powder, 1 clove chopped garlic, 1/2 tbsp chopped ginger.

Score a 500g piece of pork fillet along its long axis. Place in the marinade and leave for 3 hours.
Remove meat from marinade and place on a metal rack as shown, and place rack in baking tray with 1 inch of water. Cook in a hot oven, or as I did in a covered BBQ for 30 minutes.

With which he pairs a Wirra Wirra Mrs Wigley Rosé 2005. Malbec / Grenache. McLaren Vale. Outstanding post! A must read.

Enjoy the Wine Life everyone!

Author: Joel Vincent

Growth Hacker and wine lover

One thought on “WBW23 Round up – BBQ Wines!”

  1. But wait! We use our BBQ year-round…so does that make it a grill? I’ve waded out into knee-high snow drifts to fire up the barby!

    Great write up, it was lots of fun. The photo ‘composition’ as you so eloquently put it, really was quite by accident due to the bad lighting in my living room. I just happen to be in total lust with our icewine glasses and wanted them to be included.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.