With the busy hustle and bustle of daily life it can be easy to lose sight of the most delicious season of the year. So why not take a well-earned break, sit back and give summer a long kiss.
If you’re enjoying a grigliata with your goods from Arthur Avenue, I thought it only natural to provide my wine pairings for these delicious selections. After all, anything worth doing, is worth doing right. All of my choices are well under $35 so that you’ll have enough soldi left over to enjoy yourself without killing the budget.
Here are my pairings:
10: Feudi Di San Gregorio Primitivo di Salento IGT – Around $9 with baby back ribs
Primitivo is full bodied, with black plummy fruit and a long easy finish. Long thought to be a grandfather to Zin, Primitivo is a star at a barbecue. With flavors big and bold enough to highlight your most zesty bbq sauces, and the right amount of tannin to balance hearty cuts of meat.
9: J.J. Prum Estate Kabinett Riesling Mosel - Around $22 with Buffalo chicken wings or spicy sausage
As the rule goes: “The more spice on the plate, the more fruit in glass,” so a nice off-dry Riesling with plenty of fruit, minerality and a clean, bright, acidity-is the best way to highlight those atomic wings or hot Calabrese sausage.
8: Tenuta Monteti “Caburnio” Super Tuscan Maremma IGT- Around $19 with skirt steak
A sneaky-good blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Alicante Bousquet , this blend is tailor made for red meat. With gorgeous red fruit, beautiful balance and structure, leading to a long, elegantly tannic finish, this wine will elevate even the most mundane cuts of meat into a transcendent experience. Drinks like a wine ten times its price!
7: Produttori Del Barbaresco, Barbaresco 2014 DOCG - Around $30 (depending on vintage) with Tomahawk rib eye
This Coop is simply the best value producer of wines in this glamorous, often VERY expensive appellation. This 100% Nebbiolo is the ideal homage and elegant counterpoint to your most Fred Flintsone-esque excesses. It’s a worthy match to the most deliciously complex bite of meat on your table. Hints of red cherry, rose petals, earth and tannins as smooth and inviting as Miles Davis’ "Blue" mood on a rainy day. Buy at least two bottles. You’ll thank me later.
6: Movia “Rebula” Ribolla Gialla - Around $29 with Hard Cheeses or porchetta
If you’ve never experienced a macerated (or skin contact) white wine, this is a fantastic way to start. The wine sits for upwards of 24 hours on its skins- like a red would. This imparts extra minerality and a pleasantly funky quality to balance the delicately complex, mouth watering acidity. This wine SCREAMS, “PRIMADONNA CHEEEEEESE” or “PORCHETTA!!!!”
5: Inama Soave Classico 2016 - Around $15 with rotisserie or grilled whole chicken
The Garganega grape is one of the most easily overlooked but beautifully versatile in Northern Italy. It can be crisp and refreshing, with notes of white flowers and citrus zest, (like this one) or complex and creamy when barrel & lees aged-very similar to a white Burgundy in style (like Inama’s top shelf offering). The standard Soave is my choice for the pollo as it’s great refreshing acidity will bring out and balance that grill smoke and crispy skin.
4: RZ Rose Vom Zweigelt Around $14 (1 Liter) for dips, chips, salads,- especially seafood salads
RZ shows hints of strawberries, ripe watermelon, and sour cherry leading a refreshingly zippy finish. In short, it’s downright addictive, inexpensive and delicious!! Serve this to your bougey friend that “only drinks Whispering Angel”
3: Viticoltori de Conciliis “Donnaluna” Aglianico Paestum del Cilento IGT 2014 - Around $24- with fresh sausage, or burgers
Okay, shameless, self-serving plug time: I LOVE CILENTO WINE! Campania’s Cilento coast is a viticultural treasure trove of undervalued wines. Aglianico has long been celebrated amongst wine geeks due to it gorgeous complexity and insane aging potential. Think Barolo, just, you know, HALF THE PRICE! Featuring black fruit, great structure, and smoooooooth tannins, this is the ideal wine to serve blind to your fancy friends and ask them what you paid.
2: Kermit Lynch Vin De Pays De Vaucluse Rouge 2015 - Around $11, great for short ribs or London broil.
This Southern Rhone blend is the best value wine of this vintage in Lynch’s portfolio. It’s just ridiculously tasty and satisfying. Providing a mouthful of black fruit, and pleasantly grippy tannins, this wine over delivers and is a great crossover wine for California drinkers looking to branch out into France.
1: Bila-Haut by Michel Chapoutier “Occultum Lapidem” 2014 - Around $27 with NY strip steak
Syrah and Grenache were put on this earth to elevate meat- especially beef, and this wine is particularly good at this purpose for the price. It’s not often that all the major wine critics agree but Michel Chapoutier has impressed everyone with this vintage’s power, subtle but deep, black fruit and great mouthfeel. Do yourself a favor and try this before you cave in and reach for the usual California cab. You’ll thank me later.