THE BBQ EXPERIMENT
Since summer is approaching there is lots of talk about what goes with BBQ. I recently read an article about the best wines for grilling extravaganzas which posited that zinfandel was the most versatile. It’s for the same reasons everyone always recommends zinfandel for Thanksgiving: there is a cornucopia of bold flavors in the feast, there is lots of drinking going on so you need something quaffable, and it’s considered as ‘American’ as BBQ and Thanksgiving. I have a few issues with that as the answer: I usually cook a lot of vegetables and zinfandel bowls over their vegetative-ness and I actually don’t really like the typical expression of blown-out fruit and spice. And perhaps more importantly, I’m co-owner of a wine bar that features unique and unusual wines, so I simply can’t go with the expected choice! Thus we decided to conduct an experiment.
Study Objective: to determine whether there is a better wine to pair with BBQ than zinfandel
Type of Clinical Trial: randomized, double blind
Length of Trial: one Sunday afternoon
Wine Varietal Variables (producer): Grenacha (Camino de Navaherreros), Charbono (Harrington), Zinfandel (Turley), Grenache Rosé (Tribute to Grace)
BBQ Baseline: burgers w/romesco aioli, corn w/sriracha butter, grilled eggplant parm stacks w/pesto, leeks w/romesco
Full Disclosure: the Zin was the most expensive bottle of the bunch because finding the best/leanest expression is hard to do at a low price point
Known Side Effects: feelings of euphoria, weight gain, drunkenness
Research Findings: all wines performed well in the trial, even the zinfandel, however, one wine excelled amongst the variety of flavors: the Spanish Grenacha. It was friendly, juicy, and it had enough body, spice, and structure to stand up to the burgers and romesco sauce, while not being too overpowering with the vegetables, which (admittedly) were not demure veggies, but the findings are the findings.
In the end, it didn’t really matter, we had fun, we were stuffed, and we were drunk. All in the name of science.