By Cecil Flentge
Don’t think that all wines for summer have to be white, rosé or even light-bodied. Here are some good, year ’round red wines that are good for sipping, but also for having with barbecue or grilled meats, tomato sauces and Texas chili.
Georges Duboeuf, Julienas Cru Beaujolais, ‘Chateau des Capitans’ 2009
Beaujolais had a great year in 2009, showing the depth and variety that the Gamay grape can provide. Around $18 at larger wine shops.
Fact: This is not a light wine, but it does have a little less tannin, making it very approachable even in its youth. A floral nose with mineral-laced dark berries underneath, the ripe red fruits take control on the palate and lead you to a rich and lingering finish. Serve well chilled.
Feeling: A lively mix of bright flavors to pair with pork chops simmered in a tomato sauce. Taste the chilled fresh berries in the wine as you think about serving this again for Thanksgiving.
South of Burgundy, North of Provence, this ancient wine region is a great value – great quality, every year. This one is widely available and sells for less than $10 dollars in CostCo.
Fact: Plum and red fruit aromas with a soft touch of toasted oak. The first sip brings ripe cherries, plums, and fresh plowed earth. The flavors glide across your tongue since it has very low tannins and leaves you with a pleasant memory of the flavors.
Feeling: But what wine will I serve? This Côtes-du-Rhône can be that answer for roast pork, grilled chicken, barbecue, or pizza. Think of it as your “wine–lifeline,” the friend that never lets you down.
Becker, Reserve Merlot, Stonewall, Texas
This wine is a blend of grapes from the Hill Country and High Plains Vineyards. Conveniently found at HEB for $13, this is different than the Texas wines you find on most restaurant wine lists.
Fact: Rich, ripe cherry nose with a moderate oak component. Cherry and mineral flavors seasoned by the oak and High Plains minerality, this finishes smooth and is quite satisfying.
Feeling: Serving some Texas chili with this wine made a group I had together double take and ask lots of questions. This one will stop the “Texas wine” jokes and make some converts.
Sister Creek, Red Blend, Sisterdale, Texas
This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sangiovese grapes as well as a good value at $16.
Fact: Structured, balanced, restrained. Not words I would have expected from a Texas wine even a decade ago. But the nose gives you cherry and a touch of mineral/graphite, with little wild strawberry in the background. Medium weight, dry, earthy, and a good red berry palate leading to a soft finish.
Feeling: Pour the chilled wine from the bottle into a decanter and set it on the table. Plate the lamb chops, broccolini, and roasted potatoes. Call your honey to the table and pour a glass of wine for you both. It just gets better from there.
Ed’s Smooth Red (Twin Springs), Tow, Texas
There are red grapes in this under $10 dollar wine, but they do not specify what they might be. A related label for Fall Creek Winery.
Fact: This wine has an over-ripe, red berry and plum nose that would make you expect an amply sweet wine. But the palate has rich red fruit, mineral and earth components, moderate tannins, and a little sweetness balanced by the acidity. A surprisingly clean finish, serve cool.
Feeling: Bring out those dry-rubbed pork ribs, chile-infused pinto beans, and cold potato salad. Pour a cool and fruit laden glass of Ed’s Smooth Red. By the end of the glass, you will realize how they picked the name.
Cecil Flentge is a San Antonio wine educator for professionals or novices and a cooking instructor. Restaurant events or home tastings.
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