Power, elegance, finesse and even a little sparkle are bold matches to the deep, tasteful notes of grilled and grilled proteins. Summer is here for a while longer, so layer appropriately and comfort with the fact that each of these wines easily transitions to autumn snippets.
The Dry Chardonnay, 2017, AZ: Yes, Arizona. In southeastern Arizona, desert-like climatic conditions produce concentrated, densely fruited wines with impressive structure. This 100% syrah is grown at 5,200 feet, it is the kind of height that makes a big difference in ripening and concentration. This full-bodied with ripe blue-black fruit, dark chocolate and leather notes and slightly dusty tannins on the finish makes it a blissful choice for grilling. $ 37
Drew Family Cellars, Mendocino Ridge “The Field Blend” GSM, 2018: Winemaker Jason Drew makes magical things with both pinot noir and syrah, this wine is no exception. It consists mostly of Syrah (90%) with a bit of Viognier, Grenache and Mourvèdre. Word is that the syrah was grafted into cuttings from the famous Hermitage vineyards of the Rhône genius Jean-Louis Chave. It’s a bit of a big deal, and it tastes like it – blackberry fruit, dried herbs and a juicy texture, delicious with everything grilled and a steal for $ 32.
Chateau Magnol Haut Medoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2016: Prepare in advance with this wine, and decant at least an hour early — otherwise you will miss the complexity it can offer in several layers. Black cherries, hints of cedar and spices, with rich texture and a polished finish with firm tannins to keep it all together. A Barton & Guestier wine. Decanter World Wine Awards 95pts. Good deal. $ 26.99 at Wine.com
Le Macchiole Scrio, IGT 2017: A 100% Syrah wine from Italy’s Bolgheri – This is another exquisite bottling from Le Macchiole winemaker, Cinzia Merle, who is fearless in the hunt for varieties that do best in their specific terroir. Inspired by her husband Eugenio’s deadly cancer, Merle set out to treat the soil sustainably without chemicals in order to better benefit her employees, the soil and the grapes. She has succeeded in creating world-class sustainable organic wines. Scrio has a density of blue-black fruits, silky consistency, some spicy notes and polished tannins — a meat-loving wine for sure.
Donnafugata Sul Vulcano Etna Rosso DOC, 2017: Sicily enjoys the longest harvest in Italy and is home to the highest active volcano in Europe – these wines express the dramatic extremes of glorious Sicilian sunshine and towering vocal peaks give wines of finesse and power. This one fills with wild berries, violets, raspberries and cinnamon complimented by a vibrant palate and nicely polished tannins. For an even more complex expression, look for Donnafugata’s “Contrade” – grown in soil from a lava eruption dating back to the 17th century.
Ghiaie della Furba Toscana IGT, 2013: A first-class Bordeaux-style red blend from the Carmignano region of Tuscany. The first mixture was in 1979, created from vineyards planted along pebbles (Ghiaie) rich soils in the Furba River planted with clippings from Bordeaux’s Château Lafite. The mixture is changed based on this year’s harvest and is only produced in quality years – this is from Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot. The wine is expressive and rich with silky notes of black cherry and cassis, a fine layer of dark forest floor and a blissful mouthfeel. $ 51
Avignon “La Ticota Selecció” Gran Reserva Cava, 2012: Why not some Cava? It is made in the same way as Champagne, with secondary fermentation in the bottle. This one is only designed in the best harvest years, so expect complexity and richness along with citrus freshness. Great for refreshing the palate after every bite of barbecue. $ 38