With July 4 past, we’re solidly in summer BBQ season.
First off, let’s get something straight: there’s a difference between BBQ and grilling.
Grilling is direct fire underneath your food-– whether you use wood, propane, charcoal. It’s also a noun — where you put the food you’re going to cook and a verb that indicates someone is in for some heated questioning.
Barbecue is to cook by indirect heat: there’s no flames under the food and it’s usually smoked or cooked slowly over along period of time. A barbecue is also a style of food and a gathering of people who plan to cook and eat out of doors.
While the English word “barbecue” comes from the Spanish word barbacoa. Wikipedia says that the indigenous people of the Caribbean and Florida used a word barabicu which, according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), comes from Haiti and means “framework of sticks set upon posts.” The Spaniards saw this sometime after 1492, and in 1526, Spanish explorer Gonzalo Fernández De Oviedo y Valdés brought the word “barbecoa” to print.
This month the Wine Pairing weekend group of wine writers is also bringing “barbecoa” to print by focusing on the intersection of Spanish wine and barbecue — whether using direct or indirect heat or even a framework of sticks!
We have found over and over that “what grows together goes together” but this month we decided to do an American style BBQ with two wines from Rioja — red Crainza from LAN and a rose from Beronia. Both are made from the Tempranillo grape.
- Cheese Plate
- Grilled corn
- Assorted grilled sausage from local market
- Filet Mignon with blue cheese
- Potato Salad
Sue’s potato salad
- Boil 4-6 large russets in water until soft
- finely chop 3 T onion
- slice 1 can black olives
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup chopped dill pickles (Sue used her homage refrigerator pickles)
Throw chopped olives, pickles and celery in a mixing bowl. Chop cooked potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes and throw into the bowl. Add 3/4 cup to 1 cup mayo, 2 T mustard, and 2 T vermouth, 1 t salt and 1 t ground pepper. Mix all ingredients together. Top with 2 sliced hardboiled eggs, fresh parsley, and a bit of paprika for color.
2018 – Beronia – Rioja – 13% alcohol
60% Garnacha and 40% Tempranillo
Gotta love a twist off cap at a BBQ!
Color: Very pale, millenial pink; the crystalline clear color catches nicely in the light.
Nose: White stone fruit, bit of cherry, white peach, stoney minerals, river stone, river rock.
The minerality of a cold clear creek.
Palate: There is a bit of effervescence that blows off quite quickly. Dry crisp light. Very clean and refreshing. There isn’t a lot to the finish, but it is pleasant.
Pairing: A great picnic wine, it loves brie, cured meats, smoked cheeses.
Sue: “I could totally have this wine with a bratwurst with grilled onion on a bun. So yummy with our potato salad.”
A grilled brat with a side of potato salad would be perfect. Grilled corn is a bit too sweet for the wine. Also lovely with our jalapeño cheddar grilled sausage. After that, Sue wanted this wine with a chicken rajas (chicken with a creamy green pepper chile sauce) served in a taco or burrito.
On a subsequent day, I paired the end of this rosado with a siracha sushi roll — wonderful pairing!
2015 – LAN – Rioja – Crianza – 13.5% alcohol SRP $14
Although not certified biodynamic or organic, LAN’s commitment to sustainability includes several important practices including integrated pest management:
“To avoid the much feared grapevine moth, we have used biological methods of sexual confusion involving pheromones for over a decade, using an innovation diffusion system that leaves no residue on the vines. In the case of the yellow spider mite, we are helped by the natural predators that live in Viña Lanciano, such as mites, chrysopids, ladybirds and other bugs. As for the smaller green leafhopper – of growing concern due to climate change – capsid bugs and other egg parasitoids that live in our estate help us.”
They also prune and “manage the soil without herbicides, through solely traditional labour with small implements. We fertilize, when necessary, to make up for the extraction of nutrients, with organic manure and the vine cuttings from our own estate,” says the LAN website.
Finally, LAN finds protecting the natural ecosystem around the vineyards benefits the grapes:
“We respect green corridors and we have created other spaces to protect small mammals, reptiles and even amphibians. In addition, the presence of wild plants that grow naturally in the rows between our vines is further evidence of our nurturing balance. This environment permits the presence of the typical flora and fauna of groves or riverbanks, as well as being a refuge and rest point for many birds.”
Color: Dense, plummy
Nose: Tons of fruit, cherry, plum, dark red stone fruit, blackberry. There is also a bit of meatiness on the nose as well. Forest floor. Very expressive.
Palate: Tons of tannins, the fruit on the nose is very deceiving. Open this wine and let it breathe or lay it down for another 5-10 years. Cherry.
The more this wine opens, the better it gets!
Pairing: With a manchego cheese the creaminess of the cheese cuts the bold tannins of the wine.
Loving this wine so much more with food!
Really nice with the spicy venison sausage. For Sue there was an OMG moment when she had the wine with a cheddar jalapeño sausage. With the filet mignon, it was superb. Especially because the steak had the blue cheese on top. There is such a nice fattiness to the steak which quickly cuts through the heavy tannins of the wine and brings out a fruit. This fruit is not present upon opening and only comes out as it has opened up. The fattiness of the meat and blue cheese combined tames the tannins in the wine and makes this combo sing. For this wine, most Americans need a ribeye, porterhouse, filet mignon, or rack of lamb to make it enjoyable. As a wine by the glass, it may be a bit too harsh for most Americans.
Curous about more pairings? Check out the hashtag #winepw on twitter! Here are posts from members of the Wine Pairing weekend group of influential wine writers:
- Deanna at Asian Test Kitchen shares “Vegan BBQ: 3 Ideas to Pair with Crianza Rioja“.
- Lori at Exploring the Wine Glass shares “A Father’s Passion is Passed Down to Daughter and Expressed in Bottle“
- David from Cooking Chat shares “Grilled Paprika Pork Chops with a Rioja”
- Jane at Always Ravenous shares “Grilled Sausage Feast Paired with Rioja Crianza“
- Lauren at The Swirling Dervish shares “Paella and Bodegas LAN: Perfect for Your Summer BBQ“
- Jill at L’Occasion shares “On the Grill with Rioja Wine“
- Jennifer at Vino Travels Italy shares “Oven Roasted Italian Sausage with Rioja Riserva“
- Martin at Enofylz Wine Blog shares “Grilled Garam Masala Lamb Chops paired with Bodega LAN Reserva“
- Linda at My Full Wine Glass shares “Keep your cool with grilled steak salad and Rioja“
- Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “Robatayaki and Rioja Wines, the Perfect Summertime Party“
- Pinny at Chinese Food & Wine Pairings shares “Bodegas LAN Rioja Crianza and Thick-Cut Sirloin Steak on the Grill“
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm shares “Our Favorite BBQ Ribs with LAN Rioja“
- Here at Wine Predator we share “An American Summer BBQ with Spanish Rioja Wine: LAN Crianza and Beronia Rosado“
- Nicole at Somm’s Table shares “Cooking to the Wine: Bodegas LAN Rioja Reserva with Smoky Seared Octopus”
- Rupal at Syrah Queen shares “Bodegas LAN Rioja with Canjun Butter Steak”
- Host Jeff at Food Wine Click! shares “Smoking Low & Slow with Rioja Wines“
What will you be putting on the grill tonight??