Let’s Go Shopping — A Griller’s Dozen

EWine Blog - 299verybody’s heard of a baker’s dozen, right? Well, with summer on its way, and many folks already working the backyard grill, here are some reds that will partner nicely with whatever it is you’ve got cooking. Think of them as a griller’s dozen.

$19 2010 Dry Creek Heritage Zinfandel (Sonoma County; abv 13.5%) A big wine with resinous scents of pine and black fruit skin, this is peppery and smokey with alcohol. The round tannins may fill out that warmth with bottle age. (W&S)

$19 2010 Fiddletown Cellars Old Vine Zinfandel (Amador County; abv 14.8%) This is a dense, chewy Zin with lush berry flavors. It has notes of blackberry juice and tar, with hints of tobacco and vanilla on the back palate. Made from old vines and blended with 6% Barbera and 4% Alicante Bouschet. (WE)

$18 2011 Plungerhead Old Vine Zinfandel (Dry Creek Valley; abv 14.5%)This is rich and spicy in briary, brambly flavors, with notes of wild cherry and blackberry, plus a wonderful summer-herb quality of nettle and fresh anise. Despite the big tannins, it’s velvety smooth. This barbecue wine contains a few drops of Petite Sirah and Tannat for complexity. (WE)

$18 2009 Steele Old Vine Pacini Vineyard Zinfandel (Mendocino County; abv 13.8%) A zesty, old-school style, showing focus and a touch of elegance while maintaining appealing notes of briary berry, grilled anise and smoked pepper. Drink now through 2017. (WS)

$18 2010 Terre Rouge Tête-à-Tête (Sierra Foothills; abv 14.5% 2009) A blend of Syrah, Mourvedre and Grenache, this has a pungent, Sierra Foothills soil character under the clean fruit. The flavors meld orange blossom scents with peppermint and chocolate. For braised meats. (W&S)

$17 2010 Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Syrah Unknown(Santa Barbara County; abv 13.5%) Balancing generous fruit against peppery tannins, this sunny Syrah is ideal for lamb burgers (W&S)

$17 2010 Maddalena Zinfandel (Paso Robles; abv 14.5%)A delicious little Zin, with raspberry and cinnamon aromas and modelst but lively cherry and spice flavors. Drink now through 2016. (WS)

$17 2010 Qupé Syrah (Central Coast; abv  ) A light, bright, strawberry-scented syrah, this has a fresh, open feel to its red fruit flavor. Bob Lindquist makes some fo the most consistently fine Syrah in California, and this latest release is classical in its simple lines. Buy a case to enjoy this spring and summer once the cover comes off the grill. (W&S)

$16 2010 Andrew Murray Tous les Jours Syrah (Central Coast; abv 14.5% 2011) Pure, tight and vivid, with vibrant wild berry, blackberry, raspberry and huckleberry flavors, this holds focus and ends with a ripple of berry flavors. Drink now through 2020. (WS)

$15 2010 Bridlewood Blend 175 (Central Coast; abv n /a) Very complete and well-balanced, with beef, dark berry, cedar and tobacco leaf flavors. Contains notable complexity and depth at this price. Syrah, Merlot, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now through 2018. (WS)

$15 2010 HandCraft Petite Sirah (California; abv 14.5%) This wine’s savory scents of nuts and dark-roast coffee seem as driving by petite’s unique fragrance as they are by oak. Firm, fine tannins surround a supple core of fruit, while citrusy acidity keeps it lifted. Drink it over the next several years with braised beef cheeks. (W&S)

$14 2010 Alexander Valley Vineyards California Temptation Zinfandel (Alexander Valley; abv 14.5%) This is a straightforward, satisfying Zin. Lean but in no way insipid, it offers plenty of dark spice and tangy fruit. Buy it by the case as a crowd-pleasing red to serve all winter. (W&S)

Unknown$14 2011 Heron Pinot Noir (California; abv 13.0%) Saturated with flavors of dark cherry and coffee, this direct and bold pinot would match a hearty plate of beef chow fun. (W&S)

Key: WS — Wine Spectator; W&S — Wine & Spirits; F&W — Food & Wine; WE — Wine Enthusiast

Photos courtesy of Qupé Vineyards and sonomawinegrape.org via Google search; Tom Riley©

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