Monday, July 03, 2006

Shiraz is for the Outdoor epicure

(July 1, 2006) TWAIN HARTE  Sometimes the smell of barbeque smoke can make you salivate as well as stimulate a thirst for a big voluptuous red wine to dance with the flavors of grilling. For me Shiraz or Syrah in its many forms or styles satisfies that desire. This grape has a long history of questionable origin at least until Dr. Carole Meredith of University of California at Davis came along with results of DNA testing, authenticating its origins to the southern part of France.
The passion of France and Australia has taken hold here in the US too. With many more Syrah producers than ever ranging from far south in San Diego County here in California, all the way north to almost Spokane in Washington. I tasted a few local Syrah and a few from Australia and found a few wonderful combinations paired with various grilled meats. Check it out for yourself and try this great recipe for a rub on your grilled meat.

A Donkey and Goat 2004 Carson Ridge El Dorado Sierra Foothills Syrah $35.00
This is a very pleasant rendition of foothill Syrah. From the dark ruby color to the rustic, earthy, meaty, plum, berry and pepper aromas and flavors this wine showed well with the grilled tri-tip. A medium bodied, supple but with enough tannin to hold up to any grilled meat.

Ridge Vineyards 2003 Lytton West Syrah $35.00
Deep black purple red color tips one off to the voluptuousness of this wine. A blast of black fruits hit the nose as well as some tar and leathery notes. A supple, round mouth full of blackberry and currants ending with some fine tannins and lingering fruit flavors even paired with traditional barbeque sauce basted grilled meat.

Renwood Winery 2003 Sierra Foothills Syrah $19-$25
A garnet ruby color with aromas of plum, cranberry and brown spices fill your nose. On the palate, a rich mouth feel includes a velvety texture filled with vanilla and berry. A slight earthy note appears with smoke and spice in the finish, which seems to linger on and on. I drank this with a citrus filled cumin coated roasted chicken. It was fantastic!

Two Hands 2004 Deer in Headlights Barossa Valley Shiraz $38
Wow what a color! An exciting opaque red purple with loads of sweet berry and black currant aromas with a hint spicy oak. A focused and concentrated wine endowed with a powerful fruit structure gorgeously complex, full bodied and built for the hedonist wine drinker. You could pair this up with your grilling favorite but I pushed my food aside and took the bottle to savor all on its own.

Thorn-Clarke 2004 Shotfire Ridge Shiraz $18
A favorite of mine is this luxurious, loaded and solid full bodied Shiraz. Beautiful aromatics of anise, chocolate and black fruits as well as plush creamy texture with flavors of cherry, olive and oak. A long lingering finish making this wine appealing the pleasure seeking wine drinker. I drank this with roasted quails in a sauce of crème de cassis.

Dry Rub recipe for grilled meats

3 Tablespoons of bittersweet smoked Spanish paprika
1 Tablespoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon of coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried onion powder
½ teaspoon dried garlic powder
Juice of 1 lime

Place all ingredients in one gallon ziplock bag with two 8oz steaks mix thoroughly and place in refrigerator for several hours before grilling.


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