I love barbecuing on the 4th. It one of the few days of the year when I forego my pescaterian diet (primarily comprised of fish and vegetarian options; hello veggie burgers) and dive into some meet. This year, ribs were on the menu. And my good friend Helen sent me into her wine cellar for a bottle (or two in my case) to drink with the ribs. Here’s what I dug up.
Wine #1: Quivira Anderson Ranch 2004 Zinfandel
I’m going to sound like a broken record, but when in Rome… (I’ll let you finish that line) The same applies to Zinfandel and American food, especially barbecue. WIth the ribs, I was looking for a wine with a slight spice to balance out with the dry rub that was applied to the meat. The Anderson Ranch had just that tad of spice I was looking for, and the slight vanilla aspect really enhanced the flavor. This was one of Quivira’s flagship Zin’s of that year. Aside from the Anderson, I could also see myself sipping on one of their others when it came to ribs. But that was the wine I pounced upon.
Wine #2: Arrowood 2004 Syrah
Syrahs can be tricky to pair because they can range quite a bit depending upon where it was grown. Thankfully Arrowwood does a great job of moving towards the Rhone side when it comes to their Syrah. Again, a bit spicy but not enough to overpower the spices in sauce that was later applied to the ribs. A bit of blackberry could also be found. The wine was so good that Helen switched her decision over what she wanted to drink upon tasting the 2004 Syrah.
The hardest part I found when drinking wine with ribs was exactly how to pick up the glass when your hands were covered in sauce. Thankfully a costco-sized amount of napkins took care of the job.
I’m curious, what did you have / to drink on the 4th? Did the pairing work out? You can leave me a comment here or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Haydn Adams is the author of the book, Wineries Beyond Napa Valley: Dry Creek and Alexander Valley, an insider’s tasting guide to the hidden gems region. He also contributes to the Beyond Napa Valley Wine Blog, writes for vinvillage.com, and can be found roaming the hills of Sonoma County looking for the next hidden gems. If he is not working in Marin or San Francisco, you can find him roaming the streets of Sonoma County (and at times, Napa, and at times Lodi) looking for that next hidden gem.