So, we started a discussion a few weeks back about Wine and BBQ, knowing that it was a huge topic of interest and a bunch of us interested parties, sat back and watched the hordes of label mongers from different foodie groups spout prophetic about how the acidity and full, earthy flavors need to cut the fatty meats, or only the crispness of cold Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay or ice cold beer, for that matter, will work in certain parts of the country.
Meanwhile, Pat the Wine guy started spinning his series on specific wines with specific types of barbecue, starting with Kansas City, and then, most recently on Texas BBQ. He's a font of information and doesn't do nearly enough selling, in my opinion, because he handles a host of boutique wines from around the world and I've been buying from him for over fifteen years, just because he's a great guy and I like his selection!
Another fella', by the name of Jonathon Boring, got hold of me through the Gourmet BBQ group and figured he'd raise the stakes in the game a little, by actually sending me some wines to try with my barbecue! Mighty generous. Well, seems we're both in California, making it a little easier and his family owns and runs the California Wine Club, providing fine California boutique wines from up and down the coast, which is right up my alley!
Robledo Family Winery, established in 2003 and producing about 13,000 cases a year. Jon sent me a bottle of the '07 Seven Brothers Lake County Sauvignon Blanc (which, admittedly, it hasn't been warm enough in the year for me to enjoy yet), which I'll probably do with a plank grilled salmon, in addition to a bottle of '05 Los Braceros Sonoma Valley Red Wine.
So, about a week ago I decided that, with just the wife and I, we'd enjoy our Saturday Steak Night with a couple of beautiful Rib-Eyes, sweet potato fries and mini bell peppers, lightly roasted on the grill with olive oil and garlic salt and some pain pour deux for dipping.
For those who know me, I love my steak (I have friends that say they would stand up the President, if it was steak night!) and I love...Tuscan wines. I know, I'm planted firmly in the grasp of Sonoma and Napa counties, but I grew up abroad on Beaujoulais, Burgandies, Riojas, Chiantis and anything else you could drink for six or seven hours without either getting too drunk, or too tired of the taste, so for my palate, today, that pretty much makes me a Tuscan whore! Not that I don't mind an occasional glass of Cabernet, but if it's Californian, and it's affordable enough to drink everyday, which I do, then it's mostly likely a Pinot Noir or light Merlot. And I barbecue...a lot, so I have a pretty good idea of what works...at least, for me and mine!
Admittedly, I hadn't researched Jon's Robledo wine, because I don't think you should know anything going in, if you're going to rate something. All I knew was that it was Sonoma and came from a Wine Club, so I was guessing that Jon would want to impress me. I opened the bottle with my usual flair and poured for my wife and I in a new glass, so I could see the legs and color. I took a big nose and the soft bouquet caught me by surprise. I was expecting rich and acidic, like a Cab. We sipped. More surprises. This was silky and smoky and smooth, like a Stag's Leap, or even like some of Brunello di Montalcinos I've become accustomed to celebrating with. Jon had impressed me, with what I figured had to be $30 bottle blend. Practically a Meritage.
After dinner, I rushed to the computer and pulled up his site and found the winery and went to the notes:
Red garnet in color, this is a blend of equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. It offers aromas of black current, ripe plum and a hint of tobacco. Luscious ripe flavors of rich black fruit and cedar lead to a spicy pepper finish.
I'm not big on tasting notes, but that pretty much hit the nail on the head. The biggest surprise? The price...$12 a bottle. I've been duped! Probably can't get it anywhere near a store for that price, but who cares? I'm calling Jon to see when I can get a couple of cases delivered!