In these days of wild uncertainty about everything, it’s nice to relax with a bottle of wine that doesn’t break your pocketbook. I’m here to sort out the memorable from the truly awful, and each bottle is under $10 unless noted otherwise.
We’ve arrived at Memorial Day weekend – the tail end of May (already!!). In the northern hemisphere, this heralds the beginning of summer. And while Memorial Day is the American holiday to remember and reflect on all the soldiers who have died for our freedoms, it also tends to be the kick-off to barbecue season.
So what better way to get back into the swing of Wine Fridays than with a blog about wines to go with your barbecue? Many people think you need a big wine to go with the sometimes really zesty flavors of BBQ, but I say, not always. Below are two wines that work beautifully with bold flavors and yet are also terrific sipping wines.
Blackstone Winemaker’s Select Red Blend 2010 Alcohol 13.5% by Volume; $8.99 at Vons.
On the Label: “Our Blackstone red wine is produced from vineyards located throughout CAlifornia’s finest grape-growing regions. After harvest, each vineyard lot is carefully developed to capture its distinctive flavors and aromatic qualities.
“Our wine is a blend of California’s best red wine varietals and emulates Blackstone’s style; smooth, flavorful and balanced. This wine is soft and silky with flavors of ripe plum, blackberry and dark chocolate with a long, lush finish.”
My Take: The hubby brought this home one night and we had it with barbecued chicken, smashed potatoes and a big salad. The wine is definitely as advertised – soft, easily drinkable, yet it held up against the strong flavor of the barbecue sauce just fine.
My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ A good wine to bring to a Memorial Day cookout, or any summer party.
Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot 2008 Columbia Valley, Washington Alcohol, 13.5% by Volume $9.99 at Vons
On the Label: “Grand Estates is synonymous with quality, consistency and value. Combining the best vineyards fromt he columbia Valley with artisan winemaking results in a world-class wine.
“To add a layer of complexity to our Grand Estates Merlot, we ferment our juice with whole berries to create a rich aromatic profile, highlight exceptional fruit flavors and exhibit a lush, velvety-smooth texture.” – Ray Elnberger, Winemaker
My Take: Many people have been swayed by the movie SIDEWAYS and no longer drink Merlot, which is a pity. A good merlot has a wonderful mouthfeel; not too big, but definitely big enough to handle anything a barbecue can spit out at you. We had this wine with grilled sausages, grilled veggies, with a side of pasta parmesan (no red sauce, just butter, pepper and parmesan cheese). It handled the spicy sausage just fine and was a lovely complement to the veggies and pasta.
My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ Yet another good value, and a crowd pleaser. I think I might have snagged the last bottle of 2008 at my grocery store; if you find the 2009, I’m expecting it to be just as solid a wine.
As usual, this is just my honest opinion, which will depend upon my mood, the weather, and what cycle the moon is in. Your taste buds will differ. Enjoy the weekend my friends, and stay safe out there.
~ Until the next time, cheers! ~
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I’ve not had much luck with the Blackstone vintages, for whatever reason, but maybe this weekend I’ll give the blend a try, because you haven’t steered me wrong yet! Columbia Crest Merlot? Always good.
Sam, I’m a huge fan of Blackstone’s Chardonnay. Really yummy.
Hi Christine – I’m always looking for an inexpensive but good red wine. I’ll definitely give those 2 a try. Have you tried the Menage A Tois California Red? It’s really yummy and it’s under $10 (and you can buy it at Costco even cheaper).
I have tried the Menage a Trois, but it’s been a while. I’ll pick up a bottle for a future review – thanks for the heads up!
Wine Fridays are back! Yippee. I’m going to look for these two for this weekend. Excellent choices to bring with me to see friends.
You’re welcome, Maria! Hugs!
Thank you Christine for these suggestions. I had forgotten about Columbia Crest. And is what all the bad rapp about Merlot? It’s a nice, smooth wine. Ack, who cares what they say. As long as we enjoy it, that’s all that matters. Well, bon appetite and enjoy your holiday weekend! 🙂