What wine to pair with BBQ?
In my view it needs to have plentyof fruit, no assertive oaky notes, and soft, supple tannins. To take it a step further, I would propose the wine shouldn't be all that too complicated or nuanced. What you need is a big, loud, fruit bomb just like the 2016 Lirac from Domaine Boudinaud.
This brand new wine from our long time partner in the southern Rhone, Domaine Boudinaud, hails from Lirac. Lirac is just a short distance northwest of Avignon and is very similar in terms of climate and terroir to Chateauneuf-du-Pape, which sits just a mile away on the east bank of the Rhone River. The appellation, created in 1947, seems to be plagued by a reputation of not having lived up to its potential. Not having personally visited this part of the Rhone, I can not say for certain why that is, though from a consumer's point of view this scenario can translate into a very good opportunity for finding satisfying wine at a reasonable price.
On my first trip to France with The Wine House, I met Thierry Boudinaud and spent an afternoon with him and other fellow wine travelers walking through the village of Chateauneuf-du-Pape on a rare "free" afternoon. I've since spent decades drinking his wines.
The 2016 Lirac is without question a boisterous, berrylicious, kirsch-soaked red. The breakdown of varietals is 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 20% Cinsault. It is its fruit happy character that makes it, in my opinion, such a great match-up for authentic, smoky barbecue. Thierry hand-picked the grapes, aged the wine in neutral oak barrels and bottled it unfiltered. What it might lack in sophistication, it makes up for in pure, ripe fruit joy.
My family will be heading north this long weekend. Coincidentally, we will be holding a memorial for a dear, beloved friend and neighbor who I spent many, many hours on the banks of the Russian River talking about grape growing, native wildlife and life in general. He taught me a great many things. There will be occasion to express gratitude to those whose memories we honor on Memorial Day. And along the way there will moments for sharing stories, breaking bread and drinking wine. I'll better be sure to bring along a bottle of the 2016 Lirac or else my brother just might assign double duty yard work to me. Yikes!
- Anya Balistreri