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June 16, 2015

Summer is here, which means it’s time to dust off the grill!

Ali Rush Carscaden, owner and sommelier at 15 Degrees C Wine Shop & Bar, recommends the following food and wine pairings for your summer BBQs.

Tri Tip This is a classic from the area, especially the Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip! Tri-tip is one of the best cuts and very versatile, being leaner than most other cuts, but fuller in flavor. For this hunk of beef, I would recommend a nice Cabernet Sauvignon. Although Paso isn’t as well known for Cabernet, it should be! Did you know, Paso exports much of its Cabernet fruit to places like Napa Valley to add a little more ripeness and complexity to cooler climate Cabs? Paso Cabernet has a beautiful balance of bright red tart fruits like cranberries and raspberries, as well as showing some riper fruit character in some cases. On the palate, the fruit comes across like a berry pie kissed with sweet spice and oak, finishing with a hearty tannin structure and medium acidity.
Pork Ribs Everyone loves pork ribs, especially if they are the fall off the bone kind!  The trick is that when finishing the ribs, there are two schools of thought: dry rub or sauce? Dry rubs tend to be spicy, where sauces tend to have a sweetness to them. Since pork is the other white meat, a lighter bodied red is the way to roll. For spicy dry rubbed ribs, I would recommend a nice spicy little Grenache. Grenache by itself and not blended in with Syrah or Mourvedre is bright and spicy with tons of red cherry fruit. If the ribs are doused in some sauce, I would go with something to cut that sauce with acid like a delicious Pinot Noir! Paso Pinots tend to have higher acidity than other reds from the area, but retain that bright red, almost candied cherry, a little cola and in some cases, even a bacon smokiness.  Mmmmmm bacon!
BBQ Chicken


Delicious moist chicken, especially with a lemony herbed seasoning exudes summertime. There is no better wine to pair with this Mediterranean-style dish than a Vermentino.  Vermentino is a grape that originated in the South of France known as Rolle and is mainly planted in Sardinia. Because it is a Rhone varietal, it has lush stone fruit characteristics of apricots and peaches with a floral nose and a soft honeyed palate. Vermentino tends to be a little higher in acid than Viognier or Roussanne, and therefore cuts through the fat, making it a great food pairing wine with freshness and minerality. Perfect on a warm weather BBQ day!
Veggie Kabobs


Kabobs are a great side dish, as well as a vegetarian option. If you cook them just right, you will get a nice char crunch on the outside and a perfectly soft yet firm inside. To match that texture, I would pick a Grenache Blanc. Grenache Blanc is very crisp with notes of apples and citrus. It has a lingering finish and a typical white peach, orange blossom palate.