Coming from a European background, it took me a few years to catch on to the barbecue thing. And then when I thought I’d got it, I really hadn’t. It was a trip down south that helped me understand that barbecuing is not the same as grilling.
I learned barbecuing not only involves cooking over hot flames but also the flavouring of meats with sweet and spicy sauces.
All the food in the southern states is sweet because sweet and spicy flavours taste great in hot weather, and they make us feel cooler.
When it comes to wine for this type of food, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it should also be sweet. Not sugary sweet because that would kill your appetite, but “feeling” sweet, as in smooth, generous and yummy. Those bone dry, aloof European reds have no place at the barbecue. Naturally, I’m recommending some Aussie reds, along with a Californian which just happens to be made by an Aussie. Generally speaking, warm climates produce reds suited to barbecued foods.
The spicy sweet flavours in Hardys ’04 Shiraz Nottage Hill are beginning to develop a lovely warm, mature feeling. Great for barbecue times when the mood is mellow — late in the evening and juicy steaks are sizzling. Consider getting a little stock of this for fall and winter comfort.
Long Flat ’05 Cabernet/Shiraz has rich, generous flavours, a little spice and a refreshing bite on the end. It really hits the everyday spot and is great with ribs or steak. It is also very reasonably priced.
Twin Fin ’05 Cabernet Sauvignon is a well-crafted, well-mannered, rich red.
The wine leaves room for food and conversation. It even has a little old-fashioned wine flavour, and comes in a handy screwcap.
•Read my latest e-wineletter at www.billysbestbottles.com. Enjoy the long weekend!