Saturday, July 25, 2009

Wines over an open fire

This summer hasn't been the best for hardcore bbq-ers, no? Cool, rainy weather, especially of late. But, we'll find a way to make it happen.

I personally don't love to bbq. It's just as much work as cooking over proper heat, except with 1/3 the elegance and flair. Come on, I'd like to think that we've kind of advanced past cooking over an open fire. In any case, bbq offers a chance to eat outdoors, which is always wonderful, as is relaxing with friends and eating with your fingers. Sometimes, the food can be pretty good too.

So, what to drink with bbq? For wines, I don't like delicate white wines. A good riesling is wasted when paired with this kind of food. Brawnier wines do better, with lots of fruit, and polished tannins. My favourite is Rhône Valley wines, preferably with a primary blend of syrah. This whole debate about top Rhône varietals is interesting, because there are so many - something like 22 different grapes. I'd have to say, for black grapes, my preferences are syrah, mourvèdre, and then grenache. Syrah for its peppery complexity and juicy fruit, and mourvèdre for its structure and animalistic character. To me, syrah works well young or mature, but mourvèdre definitely needs age. Many of the wines show brettanomyces, which to many shares similarities with the bottom of a porta-potty. I personally love the rustic aromas, but with age, these wines are sublime.

Of course, of course, good beers always work well, with any kind of bbq food. Ales are my preference. I like bitter things. Of course, a refreshing pilsner on hot days. Lately, I've really been into Pale Ales, India Pale Ales, and similar brews. Good stuff.

I have yet to fire my bbq this year. I want to use charcoal, and bbq the proper way - gas is for the palate-less. But, we tossed out the charcoal grill last year, so I'll have to figure out a way. Finally, getting set to have some friends over soon - the preparation starts now. Seafood, syrah, and soul...

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