As the weather warms and summer approaches I admit I’m thinking more about drinking chilled white wines than red wines. But, there are those occasions when I do look for a delicious red wine. I’m thinking about backyard parties held in the cool of the evening that include grilled tri-tip, lamb chops, skirt steak or sausages. Add a tomato-based barbecue sauce with a hint of sweetness and a fruit-forward red wine is just the ticket. And, lets face it, if you are entertaining a crowd, keeping the per-bottle price under $15 is a consideration. Inexpensive, however, only works if the wine is tasty. I have two red wines to recommend, both of which we received as tasting samples, that would fit this barbecue scenario nicely.
2015 Zin-Phomaniac Lodi Zinfandel — medium ruby in the glass with red fruit and dried alfalfa aromas. Bright fruit flavors include ripe dark cherries and boysenberries seasoned with just a shake of black pepper and earthy backnotes. The flavors are supported by smooth tannins and nice acidity. Sweet cherry flavors linger on the finish with a bit of heat. 14.5% abv. SRP $14.99
The Zinfandel stands alone in the 100% Zinfandel made from Lodi-area grapes. Interestingly, the grapes were fermented using native yeast. The 12,000-plus case production was aged in a combination of French and American oak (only 23% new oak) for 12 months before bottling.
As I sipped this flavorful Zinfandel my thoughts drifted to a pulled pork sandwich with barbecue sauce, coleslaw and grilled corn on the cob — but really anything off the grill is going to make a delicious pairing for this Zin.
2014 Tie-Dye North Coast Red Blend — dark ruby in the glass with earthy, dark fruit aromas made more interesting with a hint of dried mint. Plumy dark fruit flavors, hints of dusty earth, dried hay and vanilla are joined by smooth tannins and a moderately long finish. This wine has a medium body and a bit of heat on the finish. 14.5% abv. $14.99
This Syrah-based red blend also contains Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Grenache. In addition to barbecue, think grilled pizza with a variety of toppings as a pairing for this wine.
Both of these wines are produced by Mendocino Wine Company located in Ukiah, California. ZinPhomaniac and Tie-Dye, along with Jellybean Vineyards and Slices Sangria, are part of the Lifestyle range produced by Mendocino Wine Company. In addition Mendocino Wine Company produces organic wines under the Paul Dolan Vineyards label and their Heritage range which includes Parducci True Grit Reserve and Parducci Small Lot.