It’s Labor Day, so that means barbecues and picnics. So what do most people think of? Hearty red wines – cabernet sauvignon, merlot and the like.
So what does the Wine Curmudgeon recommend for your Labor Day barbecue or picnic? Certainly not cabernet and merlot. What do you think this is, a Wine Magazine? Haven’t you been paying attention?
My three suggestions, after the jump:
As always, the two rules to keep in mind are to drink what you like and to try something different. Don’t get hung up on wine and food pairings because someone wrote them down somewhere. These three wines are completely different from each other, they’re completely different from most typical barbecue pairings and they’re mostly inexpensive. If you’re looking cheaper, check out the Bogle, Solaz, and Falesco in the $10 Hall of Fame:
• Robert Hall Rhone de Robles 2006 ($20): Rhone-style blends are becoming more popular in the U.S., and this wine shows why. It’s made with four grapes, none of which are cabernet or merlot and one of which (counoise) I’ve never heard of. It’s fruity (think black cherries), but not over the top, and the tannins won’t sour your mouth. This is grilled beef and roast chicken wine.
• Gruet Brut Rose NV ($15): I have recommended Gruet’s sparkling wines for as long as I have been writing about wine. The rose is an exceptional value – firm acidic backbone, berry fruit, and just enough caramel to show the Gruets know what they are doing. Drink this chilled on its own or with burgers and grilled chicken and seafood. (Regional wine alert – Gruet is made in New Mexico from New Mexican grapes.)
• Pillar Box White 2007 ($12): Henry’s Drive, the Australian winery that makes this wine, is best known for the $12 Pillar Box Red, a shiraz blend. It’s a nice wine, but I thought the white was more interesting. It’s a blend of sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, and verdelho, which is mostly used to make Madeira. It has a mineral finish and what the tasting notes call a celery taste. It’s not that, but more grassy in the style of a California sauvignon blanc.