BBQ and Wine Pairing: Wonderful Wine With Holy Smoke!

by Dave

I always love BBQ but it’s better when we get to taste it with some amazing wines! In my last tasting, I paired up some of my favourite picks for summer BBQ. We were lucky enough to have Holy Smoke cater the event as well. It turned out to be a fantastic tasting because there were fewer people than normal so we were actually able to just sit down at the table and have a big family-style meal and talk about some wicked wines.

We were also in the middle of a major heat wave so that did affect which wines I picked as well. I generally love having a bigger, full body wine with either some spice or zip on it, but because of the heat, I wanted to include some wines that were also juicy, delicious and refreshing. Just imagine being on a deck or overlooking a lake with some Q being grilled. The wonderful smell of smoke blended with a soft breeze and the sound of birds, good friends and sharing some amazing wine is probably one of the nicest things to experience.

If you’re ever in need of some awesome BBQ wines I think these are some great choices. Even if you don’t want to have a BBQ, you can still feel confident just enjoying these wines.

Il Follo Spumante Rosato
I love getting a (party) tasting started with sparkling wine. It is refreshing, crispy, delicious and just helps to make it feel like a celebration. That being said I don’t think you really need to wait for a celebration or get together to enjoy sparkling wine, honestly anytime is a great time for bubbles.

Il Follo is a small family winery from Northern Italy and we are lucky enough to have 2 of their sparkling wines as some of our exclusives. This rose is a vibrant pale salmon colour with beautiful bubbles and lots of fresh red fruit aromas, like strawberry, cherry and hint of raspberry. With a refreshing acidity on the pallet, this wine is dry and very drinkable. I also must say that I do love the bottle. I think everything about this wine is sexy. $25.99

Vajra JC Clare Nebbiolo
I have a really hard time with this wine because I don’t know how to properly express my love for it. This is a Nebbiolo,unlike any other Nebbiolo that you might have had. If you haven’t had Nebbiolo before, a little background on it. Nebbiolo is a grape that you generally find from Northern Italy. Barolo is made with Nebbiolo grape. It tends to be very high in tannins and acid and is usually helped by bottle ageing. The neat thing about Nebbiolo is that it is a think skinned grape so when you have one it can look a lot like a pale Pinot Noir, but then when you try it you realize it is anything but. This Nebbiolo, however, is done based on a recipe that the producers at Vajra found from 1606. It is vibrant, delightful, juicy, fruity, and even has a touch of effervescence. This Nebbiolo is definitely a wine worth trying at least once and then if you will feel delighted to be able to try it again.

This was one of the wines that I think goes great with BBQ but is also amazing for a hot summers day! You should definitely try it while it’s around because we aren’t too sure how long it is going to last as we only have a select amount of cases and we seem to be burning through. Did I also mention that this is a semi-exclusive wine with only a couple of places where it is available? $35.99

Ampeileia Unlitro
So I normally don’t drink that much Italian wine and I didn’t really mean to make this tasting into an Italian focused tasting but it seems that there are so many amazing wines in the store right now from Italy that I just couldn’t resist.

This gem is a production which has been helped along with Elizabetta Foradori. If you are not familiar with who she is then I definitely recommend researching her a bit because I would say that she is an Icon and symbol for amazing wines out of Italy and a massive proponent for “natural” wines. She has been focusing on making low intervention wine for a very long time and doing everything organic or biodynamic. Elizabetta’s winery is in Northern Italy in the Trentino area but this is wine is from Tuscany and actually has different owners.

This wine is a blend of Alicante, Alicante Bouchet and_____________. The beauty about this wine is not only is it amazing and delicious but it comes in a 1-litre bottle! This can be perfect for those times when you don’t exactly want a full bottle but you also don’t want to crack open another one at the end of the first one.

This delightful and beautiful wine is fresh, with a balanced acidity, lots of nice red fruit flavours, and a beauty to enjoy at almost any moment. 9 in the morning might be pushing it but I guess it depends what your pairing it with breakfast. Either way, this is one to try and this would definitely fall under natural wine category without being a funky natural wine, just totally delicious! $39.99

Chateau Francs Magnus
This is one of the beautiful wines that we have been lucky enough to get into the store recently. It is a 2015 Bordeaux blend and we are definitely excited about the 2015′s from Bordeaux. One of the finer vintages in quite a while this makes it all the nicer to be able to get some amazing wines and especially wines that pair with BBQ. $23.99

Serredenari Barolo
So this is where we get into the wonderful world of Nebbiolo again but this time it is more along the style that people have grown to love and cherish. This wine is definitely on the fuller side with some lovely tannins and a beautiful racy acidity. This Barolo is from the highest winery in Barolo giving the grapes a chance to ripen longer on the vine and really develop as much flavour as they can.
One of the unfortunate parts about Barolo is the price tag. They tend to be higher priced but with good reason. They spend more time in barrel and then also spend more time in bottle before they are even released for sale. All of this along with vineyard management have a lot of influence on the price. This wine, fortunately, is on the lower-end for what you would normally pay for a Barolo wine and it is also a champ in the glass!

There is lots of crisp cherry in this wine, along with nice grippy tannins and acidity that go fantastic with meat. Steak would be a winner with this wine but the pulled pork that we had paired beautifully as well. This other awesome thing about Barolo’s is that they really develop in the glass, from your first to your last you can have a different experience with every sip as it slowly opens and mends into wonderful deliciousness. If you’re ever looking for a wine to age as well, Barolo should be on the top of your list. With age, it will develop into leather, earthy, dusty dried fruit flavours that will surprise and delight. If you ever have the chance to pick up an older vintage or age one yourself definitely give it a go. $54.99

Finca 8 Malbec
I have a secret to share. I love Malbec. I don’t really care what anyone else thinks or what others will tell you but I think Malbecs are phenomenal and can be amazing wines. I fell in love with Malbec when I lived in South America because honestly, that was pretty much all the wine that there was to drink. My love affair was only increased when I went to Argentina and became spellbound of such beauty and wonder that was Mendoza and the delights that Malbec can provide.

If you’re ever in need of a great steak wine or BBQ wine I would also say don’t hesitate to look any further than a delicious Malbec, with their full plum and dark fruit flavours, cocoa, coffee, full body, tannins, and deliciousness. What is there to not love about Malbec?

The Finca 8 was definitely a fantastic wine at the dinner as well. It is still fuller bodied but it has such a well-integrated acidity in it that it balances beautifully. We have quite a few different Malbecs but the Finca 8 is always one of my favourites. From it’s dark and mysterious label to the dark and mysterious wine that you receive in your glass. It’s powerful and beautiful all at once. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do. $41.99

Carlisle Piner-Ouvet Zinfandel
Last but definitely not least this is one of our favourite exclusive wines in the shop. We have been lucky enough to have them as an exclusive for quite a while. In the beginning, Carlisle wasn’t even a winery but rather a guy making some killer wines in a garage. He eventually grew to have such a large following that he wasn’t even able to keep up with demand. Since then he has kept expanding and still making amazing wines and still having a hard time keeping up with demand. He tries to focus on old vine wine and throughout his vineyards, he actually has a lot of other random grape vines that are from all different sorts of grapes, but he finds a way to make them work and add them to his wines.

This Piner-Ouvet Zinfandel is actually a blend from 3 different vineyards. They usually just make the single vineyard wines from these 3 but they had a little extra and had always wanted to make a blended wine so this was their opportunity.

How do I explain what you can exactly expect from Carlisle Zinfandel? Well to begin with they are big. I mean like wholly crap, what did I just take a sip of? Even if it is just a sip it will feel like a massive mouthful! They are big, fruity, zesty, spicy, punchy and honestly a hell of a lot of fun. If you want to taste big wine, this is where you should look. Wonderfully opulent but incredibly delightful. Don’t be afraid of this wines, just make sure you are prepared and ready to take your palate on a roller coaster ride. $55.99

As always, I had a fantastic time at the tasting! Great food, great company and beautiful wines. Thank you again to Holy Smoke! If you weren’t there to share in this tasting don’t worry we are always planning for more fun times and tasting events. Can’t wait to share with you at the next one and until then, keep tasting!


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