Summer time, the living is easy, and it’s grilling season! So bring out the glasses and fire up the BBQ.
To complement juicy hamburgers or ribs, here are some good-value reds that we’ve tasted recently. These three wines were sent to us as samples for tasting.
Drumheller 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley ($12)
Drumheller wines pay tribute to the Drumheller Channels, which were created thousands of years ago when massive floods washed over eastern Washington and created sandy, loamy soil that is excellent for growing grapes. Winemaker Tim Jones thinks about this history as he creates elegant, yet restrained wines.
His 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon (80%) is blended with 18% Merlot and 2% Syrah, giving it a glorious floral nose and flavors of dark fruits, chocolate, black tea, mocha, cassis and a hint of cola and cinnamon. While this isn’t a “big Cab,” it certainly is an easy-drinking smooth wine and an excellent value. Bring out the BBQ and start flipping those burgers! Other suggested food pairings include braised ribs, stuffed pepper, pork tenderloin and dark chocolate.
Drumheller 2015 Merlot Columbia Valley ($12)
The blending of 20% Syrah with the Merlot provides Syrah-like aromatics to this wine — blueberry and spice, combined with smoked meat and herbs. This balanced wine offers flavors of blackberry, black cherry and black tea, with hints of cocoa, coffee and a nice structure. Aside from a savory BBQ dish, suggested food pairings include lamb, mushroom risotto and dishes with rich soy-based sauces.
Charles Smith 2014 Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon ($20)
This big Cabernet Sauvignon is very dark in color, consisting of 80% Cab Sauv, rounded off with a touch of Merlot (4%). This is a dense wine, with aromas of cherry and chocolate leading into flavors of dark fruit, graphite and a touch of spice and cassis.
Chateau Smith is the value label of well-known Washington state winemaker, Charles Smith. According to the winery, Chateau Smith is “Charles’ tongue-in-cheek Cabernet Sauvignon bottling, hoping to ease consumer anxiety around knowledge of French chateaus.”
In addition to your favorite BBQ meats, the suggested pairings are beef bourguignon and lamb chops with balsamic reduction.
Happy grilling, happy summer and cheers!
Margot and Dave