Saturday, August 13, 2011

Italian Wines Are Great For Summer Grilling

This is the time of year that I personally really love to grill. It keeps the house cool, and the food just tastes so good. When it’s really hot you really can’t beat an ice cold beer with your meat, but when it starts to cool off a little there is nothing better than a bottle of dark red wine to go with a rib steak.

Normally, most people in this region go for a big Cab or a nice Merlot. If you’ve got some knowledge of your wines you might even reach for a bottle of Zinfandel to go with your saucy ribs. Those are great choices, but I’m all about stretching out and trying different things.

Looking to the other side of the world, I know that there are other parts of the world that deal with hot summers just like they do. Italy is one country that offers some amazing food friendly wines worth having with your grilled beef.

This week I tried a few different red wines from around the country. Here are some of my favorite samplings from this week.

From the Abruzzo region I found a bottle of Caldora Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2009. Abruzzo is located along the Adriatic coast where mostly Trebbiano and Montepulciano grapes are grown. I love Multepulciano personally because of it’s dark jammy qualities.

The Caldora is a dark ruby to purple in the bottle with a strong scent of prune orchard and vanilla. The finish is nicely balanced between tannin and acid. I love to grill spicy Italian sausages with onions and peppers. I load them on a big hoagie roll with Provelone cheese. The Caldora was a fantastic pairing! I would also try it with pulled pork or ribs.

Earlier I mentioned one of my favorite wines, Zinfandel. In the Italian countryside you can often find its Great Grandfather, Primitivo. The Primitivo grape is indigenous to many areas in the country, however one of the regions that has a strong holding on the vines is in Puglia. In the “heel of the boot”, is the Puglia region. Known for intense heat, it is a great region for this grape to produce it’s best juice.

Feudi Di San Marzano 2010 Primitivo is a wine that you can find fairly readily at wine shops. It has a relatively low cost at around $12 per bottle.

The story behind Feudi is that it was a government owned winery for many decades. In 2003 the winery was purchased by the Sciotti company. They have turned a wreck of a facility into one of the highest producing wineries in the country.

The Feudi Primitivo is deep, dark reddish purple. Both bright red fruits, some dark fruit, and baking spices make this wine one of my grilling favorites. Enjoy with saucy ribs or a spicy steak off the grill.

Last, you can enjoy a nice Chianti Classico. The one I opened this week was from San Leonino, a winery located deep in the heart of Tuscany. The San Leonino 2007 is made from 90% Sangiovese, 5% Syrah, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Like most Chiantis it is bright ruby in the glass, with a bright red cherry and raspberry flavor and nose. Nice and spicy on the mouth with a brightly tannic finish. Great with red sauces for sure. It went well with my burgers this week.

I hope you enjoy these wines with your end of summer meals this year!


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