Summertime means warm weather, time spent outdoors and food cooked on the grill. Oh, and wine. You will need wine to accompany your outdoor gatherings with friends and family. Whether its vegetables, beef, chicken, pork or fish you cook on an outdoor grill, or in a smoker, the flavors will be bigger and bolder than oven roasting or braising. And that’s without even adding a spicy barbecue sauce. There are many summer food pairings that call for red wine — even when the weather is warm.
Thanks to the generosity of Concha y Toro we have five wines to share with you that we received as tasting samples; all would be perfect matches for many meals prepared on the grill this summer. In addition to being well made these wines are reasonably priced — in the $17 to $26 range. Perfect to share with friends or for weeknight dining.
The first three wines are part of the Gran Reserva Serie Riberas group of wines produced by Concha y Toro. Each is a single vineyard, varietal wine produced from grapes grown close to one of Chile’s major rivers. The Sauvignon Blanc is sourced from the Ucúquer Vineyard in the Colchagua Valley about 10 miles from the mouth of the Rapel River. The Cabernet Sauvignon and the Malbec are sourced from the Palo Santo Vineyard in Marchigüe in the Colchagua Valley near the Tinguiririca River.
2014 Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Sauvignon Blanc — medium yellow in the glass with generous herbaceous, green flower stem and gooseberry aromas. Tart lime flavors follow along with assorted herbs and gooseberries. The wine has a very long finish with flavor and juicy acidity. 13% abv. About $17.
There is no mistaking this lively Sauvignon Blanc for any other variety — the flavors are true to a grassy style rather than a tropical one. It would match beautifully with grilled vegetables mixed with avocados and tomatoes, or grilled scallops, shrimp or chicken. Very refreshing.
2013 Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Cabernet Sauvignon — medium ruby in the glass. Spice and blackberry aromas are followed by blackberry, plum and earthy flavors. There is a suggestion of herbs in the background along with leather. The tannins are firm and combine with the complex flavors for a relatively long finish. 14% abv. About $17.
Tri-tip seasoned with a dry rub and grilled along with potato salad and corn on the cob with basil butter would be a divine pairing. This wine has plenty of flavor and tannins to match with grilled meat.
2013 Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Malbec — dense ruby-violet in the glass with generous plum and blackberry aromas. Big flavors of ripe blackberries, earth and leather combine with ripe plums, smoke and hints of asphalt. The tannins are ample and linger through the long finish. 14% abv. About $17.
Pair this wine with grilled ribs and your best barbecue sauce. Or smoked pulled pork and coleslaw. This Malbec has plenty of flavor to accompany grilled or smoked meat.
The Marques de Casa Concha range of wines are made by Marcelo Papa who is one of five lead winemakers at Concha y Toro. He is also responsible for the Casillero del Diablo range from the winery. Varietal wines in this group include Carmenere, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in addition to Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the Puente Alto vineyard in Maipo, also the source of the winery’s ultra-premium wine Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon.
2014 Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon — dark fruit aromas combine with a bit of dried herbs. Earthy flavors support ripe blackberry flavors and hints of green pepper. There is an interesting dash of savory salt in the mix. Tannins are smooth and a bit drying. 14.2% abv. About $26.
Pair this wine with grilled pork chops, orzo salad and fresh tomatoes. Grilled chicken with barbecue sauce would do nicely as well.
Finally, we skip over the Andes to Argentina’s Luján de Cuyo region of Mendoza for the final wine in the group. In the mid-1990s Concha y Toro purchased vineyards and built a winery in the Mendoza region of Argentina and christened the venture Trivento. The main vineyards are located in the Uco Valley, Maipu, Lujan de Cuyo, San Martin and Rivadavia districts of Mendoza. A number of varietal wines and blends are produced under the Trivento and Amado Sur ranges.
2013 Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec Luján de Cuyo — dense ruby in the glass with tart berry aromas. Raspberry and blackberry flavors combine with earth and a subtle herbaceous note. Tannins are drying and the finish is moderate in length. 14.5% abv. About $21.
Grilled hotdogs, sausages or hamburgers would match this fruity Malbec nicely. Oven roasted sweet potatoes would be a delicious addition, or baked beans.
Well, now I’ve made myself hungry and thirsty. Time to fire up the grill and pull that cork! Thanks to Concha y Toro for the wine sampler and to Creative Palate Communications for organizing our receipt of the wine samples.