Spring is Here

Spring Wine
After the longest winter in history, or that’s what it seemed like, Spring is finally here.  It’s longer days, sunny skies and birds.  It’s also the time when many people dust off the barbecue and fire up the grill for the first time in months.  (Not me, I’m a year round griller myself!)
BBQ #1
When people tend to see my BBQ, mouths tend to gape.  Yeah, it’s a big one, holding 43 hamburger patties, and I love it.  Last night for example, it was +6 degrees, so I barbecued a stuffed butterfly pork chop  with a hot and sweet mustard sauce and I did wings.  I love wings… And one of my goals in life is to make the best wings.  And I never BBQ, without a glass of vino in my hand.  It’s not the same.  So I have found some fantastic wines to go hand in hand with your favorite BBQ foods.   Just in case you’re thinking of kick-starting the grill this first weekend of Spring.
pork chop  Predator
So this is the wine I had with my pork chop last night.  It’s the Predator Old Vine Zinfandel out of California.  Central California is known for its Old Vine Zinfandels’ and this is one of my favorites.  This wine is sourced from vines that are 50+ years old, and the older the vine the sweeter the fruit.  You can quote me on that.   Smooth, velvety texture, with a hint of spice.  This spice and the rich round smoothness of the wine make for a very food friendly wine.  One of my friends, Jayme, told me this past week she often wonders why she likes a particular wine as much as she does.   That’s the beauty of  having so many choices, there is a wine for everyone.  Jayme and I have very similar tastes in wine, so Jayme, I hope you try some of the wines in this weeks blog.
Mondavi Zinfandel
Here’s a new Zinfandel I tried this week, and at $12.99 a bottle, it offers a tasty Zinfandel at an amazing price.   The Woodbridge Mondavi Zinfandel is full of personality with flavors of black pepper, plums and baking spice.   Quite a nice surprise from the price point, but I recommend for everyone to try it.
Cook with wine
Tomorrow night I am having my sister and her husband over for dinner, and I promised George that I would grill him a steak.   George is a meat-loving guy.  And I have a few different wines in my wine rack at the moment that will go well with the wine.
The first wine that comes to mind for me is Cabernet Sauvignon, and it’s hard for me to talk about Cabernet Sauvignon with steak and not mention Carnivor Cabernet Sauvignon.
Carnivor  Errazuriz Cab
From California, known for making Cabernet Sauvignon the “King of Cabernet”, this big meaty Cabernet would probably be one of the reasons why.  It full-bodied and bold, a big wine with big flavors of jam, chocolate and spicy tannins.  This wine is a mouthful, and it should be.   The other Cabernet I chose is from Chile.   If you want to try some new delicious full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, head to the Chilean section of your local wine store.  Chile is the new up and coming producer of Cab, and they are doing it incredibly well – at incredibly good prices.  The Maipo Valley in Chile is leading the way in Cabernet and this one from Errazuriz is juicy with black pepper flavors and a subtle toasted oak flavor that will compliment the wine, not over-power it.
mashed potatoes cilantro sour cream
My friend Jayme, is also the friend responsible for my latest addition, cilantro flavored sour cream.  We buy it at our local farmers market and this stuff is amazing.  I have tried to make it, not quite making it so good, but I’m going to keep trying.  So, I am thinking of making this cilantro flavored mashed potatoes for my dinner tomorrow night with the steak.     I know, it’s going to be fantastic.  Because of my choice of sides, there are many more wines that will pair well with this steak.
hot to trot white Sterling Chardonnay
For all the white wine loving friends, there are several that are big enough to stand up to steak on the grill.  The 14 Hands Hot to Trot white blend is predominately Chardonnay with Pinot Gris and Semmilion from the wonderful state of Washington.   White stone fruit and citrus make for a vibrant twist on a Classic Chardonnay.  Flavors of lemon zest and crisp acidity will match well with those mashed potatoes.   The wine next to it is a wine I tried in a tasting this past week.  Classic California Chardonnay at its best.  Medium to full-bodied, flavors of apples and pear, and a smooth as silk finish makes this a great pairing for your BBQ.
Las Black label
Other wines that I could serve at this BBQ is the Las Moras Black Label Malbec from Argentina.  Argentina makes an amazing Malbec, and I encourage you to try one soon.   This award-winning Malbec is full of rich flavors of coffee, smoke and ripe red fruit.   It can also be served with lamb and pasta and a myriad of other dishes.
Whiz label  Audrey bottle
It would be a crime for me to talk about the grill without bringing out a Shiraz…. and when I think of great Shiraz, I think of Australia.   The Whiz Bang is a beautiful expression of a Shiraz from the Barossa Valley in Australia.  Raspberries, plums, white pepper and spicy vanilla toasted oak will have you asking for a second glass… (maybe even a third).  And the next wine is the Audrey Wilkinson Shiraz, and I mentioned this one for two reasons.  One, it’s a fantastic wine, and two, the winemaker, Jeff Byrne, is from right here in Nova Scotia.  He makes a beautiful Shiraz that packs a punch of gorgeous flavors and subtle oak.  I have one in my rack I’ve been saving, and I think I found tomorrow night’s wine.
Wine Happy woman
And that’s it for this week… Yes, a happy woman is a woman with wine.  I love hearing from you, so if you have a suggestion for your favorite wine with BBQ foods, please drop me a note.
Till next week, Cheers

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