This summer, when you take those smoky, tangy barbecue favorites off the grill (or cart them home from the corner 'cue joint), spice things up with a new wine match. For chicken, try a fruity red Zinfandel. For brisket, a big, peppery Petite Sirah. And for ribs and pulled pork, a slightly off-dry Riesling; its mix of aromatic stone fruit and citrus plus flinty minerals makes it a natural.
Bogle Petite Sirah 2005 (California; $11). This is one of the best deals in the West on Petite Sirah. Juicy, smoky plums and peppery berries ― plus tannins with a light touch ― do good things for barbecue.
David Bruce Petite Sirah 2004 (Central Coast; $20). With smoky, earthy aromas and red plum flavors wrapped in pepper and herbs, this is the perfect match for barbecue.
Mettler Family Petite Sirah 2003 (Lodi; $22). Brooding, with layers of sweet pipe tobacco, vanilla, and minty berries.
Wild Horse Zinfandel 2004 (Paso Robles; $17). A lively Zin ― good acidity keeps the yummy mix of dark berries, pepper, herbs, and mocha from going
Rodney Strong Reserve Zinfandel 2004 (Sonoma County; $30). Zin legends are made with wine like this ― intense dark berries, chocolate, vanilla, and spice go on for a long, long time.
Dutton-Goldfield Morelli Lane Vineyard Zinfandel 2005 (Russian River Valley; $40). Spring for a truly classy Zin, with blueberries, mocha, black pepper, and licorice in a lean, lively, slightly floral package.
More: The rise of Riesling