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Robin Garr

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WTN /Wine Advisor: Barbecue wine

by Robin Garr » Wed Jun 04, 2008 9:22 am

Barbecue wine

When Columbus first visited American shores (which weren’t then called "American"), he encountered the Arawak Indians (who weren’t really Indian), and was amazed to find them doing two strange things with fire. First, they stuck lighted cylinders of rolled, dried leaves in their mouths, inhaling the smoke. Second, they put chunks of raw meat on a rack of wooden sticks over hot coals and left the meat to roast ever so slowly until it became smoky and delicious.

The first practice didn’t turn out to be all that good an idea, although it was literally addictive. But the second concept has yielded one of nature’s most noble foods. The Arawaks called it "barbacoa." We call it "barbecue," and it’s mighty addictive, too.

I'm not sure that history records what the Arawaks drank with their specialty, but within a century or two, after American settlers from Europe enthusiastically adopted the new cooking style, the standard beverages were generally sweet iced tea or ice-cold beer in long-neck bottles.

Wine, with its image of elegance, isn't often thought of as a partner for such downscale fare. But that doesn't mean it can't be done. Just about any red wine will do with smoked meat (assuming you don't glop it up too badly with sweet tomato sauce), and Zinfandel has its partisans because of its stature as a particularly "American" wine. Rosé wine has its fanciers, too, for its refreshing, quenching nature.

I'm inclined to favor the red wines of France's Rhône Valley, though, which often show an intriguing "smoked meat" aroma that makes a natural partner with the real thing.

With summer and barbecue season in full swing in the Northern Hemisphere, I'd like to hear your favorite barbecue wines. You're welcome to reply to this post with comments about your favorites.

Domaine Oratoire St. Martin 2005 Côtes du Rhône ($17.99)

Dark garnet with reddish-violet glints. Good, complex Rhone aroma profile, red-berry fruit backed by touches of grilled meat and earth. Raspberries and maybe a hint of blueberries on the palate, with attention-getting acidity providing food-friendly structure, and soft tannins in the background. Quite a mouthful of Rhone red, excellent structure and balance. U.S. importer: Vintner Select, Mason, Ohio, and other regional importers. (Feb. 11, 2008)

FOOD MATCH: Those Rhone-style "grilled meat" characteristics would make it a natural with barbecued meat. It went well, too, with a less conventional match, a Spanish tortilla with potatoes, onions and garlic and ham.

VALUE: Within the range for good-quality Côtes du Rhône.

WHEN TO DRINK: Ready now, but it's capable of being held under good cellar conditions for two or three more years.

WEB LINK: The winery Website is available in French and English. Click the flag icons at upper left for the language of your choice:
http://www.oratoiresaintmartin.fr/

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Look for vendors and compare prices for Domaine Oratoire St. Martin Côtes du Rhône on Wine-Searcher.com:
http://www.wine-searcher.com/find/Orato ... g_site=WLP

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Dale Williams

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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Barbecue wine

by Dale Williams » Wed Jun 04, 2008 10:23 am

Whew. I can put away my flamethrower. I opened with a little trepidation, after years of seeing threads entitled "Barbecue wines" and then people saying "we put some hamburgers over the fire...".
Of course, I'm a believer that it has to be pork, too. :D
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Barbecue wine

by Robin Garr » Wed Jun 04, 2008 10:29 am

Dale Williams wrote:Of course, I'm a believer that it has to be pork, too. :D

Dale, pigmeat is certainly the true and intended purpose of barbecue. You'll get no argument from me there. Still, I've had some smoked beef brisket so divine that it's really hard for me to exclude it from consideration entirely ...
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Barbecue wine

by Dave Erickson » Wed Jun 04, 2008 10:36 am

I'm sure the Arawak would have enjoyed a nice peppery Crozes-Hermitage or one of the better Aussie shirazes with their charred beast. Some of the big garnachas from Calatayud would also get the job done.

Having said all that, my go-to bottle for barbecue is still a good cheap rosé of negroamaro...
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Barbecue wine

by wrcstl » Wed Jun 04, 2008 10:45 am

Robin Garr wrote:
Dale Williams wrote:Of course, I'm a believer that it has to be pork, too. :D

Dale, pigmeat is certainly the true and intended purpose of barbecue. You'll get no argument from me there. Still, I've had some smoked beef brisket so divine that it's really hard for me to exclude it from consideration entirely ...


I learn so much on this site. This week I have learned that pizza must only be made with ingredients found in Italy and now BBQ is only pork. There is also a move afoot to ban cilantro as a food and classify it an inedible weed. One must be sure to not exercise the palate too much as afterall we have but one palate to give to our country.

BBQ, be it pork or beef, is when I like to bring out big Dehlinger PNs. I tend to go for the bigger juicy stuff with BBQ which is about the only time we drink them.

Walt
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Barbecue wine

by Keith M » Wed Jun 04, 2008 10:48 am

Robin Garr wrote:
Dale Williams wrote:Of course, I'm a believer that it has to be pork, too.

Dale, pigmeat is certainly the true and intended purpose of barbecue.

Well, whatever the Arawaks were originally barbacoa-ing, it presumably was not pigs.
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Barbecue wine

by Bob Hower » Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:00 am

Dale, pigmeat is certainly the true and intended purpose of barbecue. You'll get no argument from me there. Still, I've had some smoked beef brisket so divine that it's really hard for me to exclude it from consideration entirely ...


I'm rather shocked that Robin, who lives in KY, would leave out mutton as one of the blessed and sanctioned meats for true Bar-B-Q. Just ask the folks in Owensboro.
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Barbecue wine

by Robin Garr » Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:10 am

Bob Hower wrote:I'm rather shocked that Robin, who lives in KY, would leave out mutton as one of the blessed and sanctioned meats for true Bar-B-Q. Just ask the folks in Owensboro.

Good point, Bob. There are even one or two places in Louisville where you can get it. Still, I don't think we can call it common ...
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Barbecue wine

by Robin Garr » Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:17 am

Keith M wrote:Well, whatever the Arawaks were originally barbacoa-ing, it presumably was not pigs.

Crocodile, maybe? Armadillo?
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Barbecue wine

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:21 am

Robin Garr wrote:
Bob Hower wrote:I'm rather shocked that Robin, who lives in KY, would leave out mutton as one of the blessed and sanctioned meats for true Bar-B-Q. Just ask the folks in Owensboro.

Good point, Bob. There are even one or two places in Louisville where you can get it. Still, I don't think we can call it common ...



Mutton..not common. Watch it mateys, us Brits were brought up on the stuff in our youth!!
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Barbecue wine

by Bob Hower » Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:49 am

Still, I don't think we can call it common ...


You didn't say common, you said "true and intended..." Common is hamburgers. Mutton is delicious, true, and intended, as is pig. And goat for that matter... :) Unfortunately mutton is so uncommon around here that most of what you can get comes out of the freezer and suffers from it.
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Barbecue wine

by Mark Lipton » Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:51 am

Robin Garr wrote: First, they stuck lighted cylinders of rolled, dried leaves in their mouths, inhaling the smoke...The first practice didn’t turn out to be all that good an idea, although it was literally addictive.


Are you sure that you live in KY, Robin? I'd suggest that you check under the hood of your car for the next week or two... :twisted:

Mark Lipton
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Robin Garr

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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Barbecue wine

by Robin Garr » Wed Jun 04, 2008 12:20 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:Are you sure that you live in KY, Robin?

I think the social and demographic distinction between Louisville and the rest of Kentucky cannot be overstated, Mark. There's a fairly active secession movement working here ...
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Barbecue wine

by Redwinger » Wed Jun 04, 2008 12:30 pm

wrcstl wrote:I learn so much on this site....
Walt

Walt,
I've noticed the same thing. It is all I can do to keep my head from exploding.
Redwinger
Smile, it gives your face something to do!
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Dale Williams

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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Barbecue wine

by Dale Williams » Wed Jun 04, 2008 12:51 pm

Redwinger wrote:
wrcstl wrote:It is all I can do to keep my head from exploding.


Mine did. What a mess!

Walt, my comments re pork were (mostly) a joke, based on a good-natured thread on the old FLDG where there was regional rivalries based on local 'Q, those damned Texans calling beef brisket the real thing (I admit it's tasty, but that's another matter). Hell, in Eastern NC people have gotten punched for suggesting the pork in David's area (western NC) could be considering BBQ, as they add a little tomato to the sauce.

Mutton BBQ sounds good enough for me to expand my definition, though.

As to the Arawak/Tainos, were there even deer on the island? Probably barbecuing squirrel/cavy type things.
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Barbecue wine

by Carl Huffman » Wed Jun 04, 2008 9:29 pm

We take our Q seriously in KC. Grilling, too. Like Robin, I often open a bottle of Cotes du Rhone with Q. Thanks to his info I stocked up several years ago during a few good Rhone harvests and I'm still enjoying the fruits - literally - of those decisions. If the dinner calls for it, a good-or-better Rhone. Many nights are 'ordinary' around here and don't merit a now-spendy bottle, so I leave the spendy stuff locked away. Plain CDRs suit me fine, and for last minute 'grab a bottle' dinners, an inexpensive Oz choice that goes well with smoked meats/smoke-grilled meats is Rosemont Diamond, Grenache/Syrah. I know some folks will run away screaming from a bottle of 'mass produced OZ plonk'...careful you don't run into the firepit, y'all. That red blend doesn't cost much and it may lack soul and terroir, pedigree and a polo pony but it does match grilled meats nicely - for me, at least. YMMV, of course. D'arry's The Stump Jump is another good Oz choice. I'll also open a botle of Laurel Glen REDS if there's a lot of garlic in or on the meat (there often is, when I'm in charge. I never met a clove of garlic I didn't like).
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Barbecue wine

by Paul Winalski » Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:24 am

The Arawaks wouldn't have had pork for their Q. But I'm sure they would have approved.

Good wine choice for Q.

-Paul W.
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Barbecue wine

by Greg Dew » Sat Jun 07, 2008 4:46 am

My wife and I enjoy a BBQ at least weekly all year around consisting of Scotch Fillet Steak (very rare for me) and washed down with a beautiful (non mass produced) Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon from an elite South Australian Wine Region such as Barossa, Coonawarra, Clare or McLaren Vale. A most enjoyable BBQ is one cooked slowly without the billowing smoke that many BBQ "chefs" seem to need. We recently hosted an Adelaide Restaurant chef for one of my BBQ meals of Scotch Fillet and he remarked that the steak I cooked for him was one that a patron could/would pay top Dollars for at any reputable Restaurant. He has also remarked that I am the only BBQ cook he knows that does not burn steak - why would you ruin good steak after paying the Dollars it costs? The usual beef patties along with skinless sausages (Chevapchichi), regular sausages also feature on my BBQ menu each week, which I have been cooking for almost 30 years, since just before my daughter was born in 1978.

Greg Dew, Hope Valley, South Australia.
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Robin Garr

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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Barbecue wine

by Robin Garr » Sat Jun 07, 2008 9:36 am

Greg Dew wrote:My wife and I enjoy a BBQ at least weekly all year around

Hey, Greg! It's really nice to see you in the forum. Now that you've broken the ice, I hope you won't be a stranger.
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Barbecue wine

by Lou Kessler » Sat Jun 07, 2008 9:14 pm

He has also remarked that I am the only BBQ cook he knows that does not burn steak - why would you ruin good steak after paying the Dollars it costs?


I will not argue about what constitutes real barbeque. But not to char the outside of a steak while cooking the interior to rare to medium rare would be criminal in this part of the world. :P
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Barbecue wine

by ChefJCarey » Sat Jun 07, 2008 9:35 pm

They may well have been barbecuing pigs - the "long pigs" of the Marquesans.

For the sixteen years I lived in Northern California I always drank zinfandel with barbecue.

Then I started getting into Rhone wines. Any good Cote or higher works just fine. Any of the good New World syrahs. Some Shirazes. There's no going back now.
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Barbecue wine

by ChefJCarey » Sat Jun 07, 2008 9:39 pm

I forgot - Willamette Valley pinots noirs, too. (I'm trying to get some graft from the resveratrol lobby.)
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Barbecue wine

by Mario Lobo » Sun Jun 08, 2008 8:14 pm

The BBQ masters are Argentine and they drink Malbec. However, a Malbec Cabernet blend like Amancaya will be even more elegant.
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Re: WTN /Wine Advisor: Barbecue wine

by Bob Henrick » Sun Jun 08, 2008 8:47 pm

Robin Garr wrote:I think the social and demographic distinction between Louisville and the rest of Kentucky cannot be overstated, Mark. There's a fairly active secession movement working here ...


Robin, if it comes up for a vote, I will vote that Louisville be annexed to Indiana! I have heard you make so many disparaging remarks about the rest of Kentucky that Indiana is about what you deserve.
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