Q the Zin

Q – as in Bar-B-Q.  So let’s fire up the grill or start the smoker and get your favorite rub or sauce mixed up so we can smoke, sear, baste, rub, pull, shred to our heart’s content.  I love barbecue any and all ways.  It’s the epitome of casual eating.  I think it’s that messy, finger-lickin’ thing.  And there’s one wine that, to me, has the lip-smackin’ style to match up with that finger-lickin’ food.  Whew… try saying that a few times!  That wine is Zinfandel.

What I particularly like about Zin is the jammy flavor for sure – to me its like a spoonful of boysenberry jam.  But with many of the Zins out there it’s the little dash of white pepper-like spiciness that just seems to bring the taste all together, especially with my Q.  These are easy to drink wines all by themselves, but let me tell you, Zin is always part of the meal with my own BBQ baby backs.

Now I know that there is great barbecue from other countries like China and Korea, but the best there is just happens to be from all over the USA.  And Zin is quintessentially an American born and bred wine. (I’ll cover its Italian relative, Primitivo another time along with the luscious cooking of southern Italy).  Sonoma’s Dry Creek region, the old vines of Lodi, the warm Alexander Valley, the rolling hills of Paso Robles and, lest we forget, Napa, all give us Zinfully tasty wines at just about any dollar amount you want to pay.  Maybe we should head for California and start the Zin tour now!

Everyday Sip: 2012 Klinker Brick Zinfandel Old Vine $16
Here’s that spoonful of boysenberry jam.  Old Lodi vines about 80 years old average produce the big flavor. I keep hearing the CCR refrain, “stuck in old Lodi again” and that’s a good thing!

Guest Sip:  Ballentine 2012 Old Vine Zinfandel $25
Black raspberries and spiciness.  Packs a bit of a punch at 15.5% alcohol. A big BBQ wine from old Calistoga vines in northern Napa.

Splurge Sip:  Martinelli Giuseppe & Luisa Zinfandel 2013 $65
First tasted an earlier vintage of this at the winery and was blown away.  Concentrated dried black cherry. Big fruit and a mouthful of wine in every sip – isn’t always easy to get.

Want a terrific dry rub recipe?  Here’s the one I use.  I adapted it from one of Emeril’s to my own taste and I think it offers just the right balance of flavor, spice and underlying heat, especially when the ribs are finished with a smokey sweet sauce.

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Hungarian paprika
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic salt
1/4 cup crushed oregano
2 tablespoons Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper

2 thoughts on “Q the Zin

  1. John Reebel

    Ken, it’s great to see you’ve launched this blog!

    Zinfandel has been far and away my favorite red ever since I randomly dropped a bottle of Bayliss and Fortune into a shopping cart 25 years ago. I was later able to find cases of the stuff for $4/bottle at one of those discount imported what-not stores. The brand seems to have disappeared since. Point is, to each his own. I actually think Zinfandel has a worse rap than Merlot, particularly since Red Zin was preceded in the mainstream by White Zin, which is terrible.


    1. kensipswine

      Hi John… Thanks! Yep, some people are still confused by the whole White Zin thing. It’s one reason I like to write about Zin!


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