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What are you drinking tonight?

Post by News Tribune Staff on June 25, 2007 at 9:00 pm | No Comments »
June 25, 2007 9:00 pm

Sparkling shiraz, in crystal, on my deck tonight.

Sparkling shiraz is my new grape Nehi. Let me explain:

In broadening my wine horizons, I inadvertently slipped into the bubbly, juicy side of the wine aisle.

At first I thought I’d bought nouvelle cold duck.

Bolder than burgundy, more purple than Prince and fizzy to boot, sparkling shiraz is a wine unto itself: big, grapey and satisfyingly sweet, like a cold grape Nehi with extra bubbles and a tannic twist.

Bless the Aussies for finding the perfect excuse to drink cold red wine.

So far, $10 Paringa — I found it at Tacoma Boys, Stadium Thriftway, Vin Grotto and my local stop and rob — is my favorite. I also hear good reports about Hardy (about $17) and Shingleback (about $25).

Tonight I enjoyed Paringa sparkling shiraz with my home-cooked dinner: cherry-roasted rack of lamb and baked acorn squash with bacon-fat butter and rosemary. I’ve also enjoyed sparkling shiraz with burgers, sausages and steak. It’s great with turkey, too.

Ever heard the phrase “barbecue wine”? Sparkling shiraz is a beaut of a barbecue wine — sassy, slightly sweet and able to take on anything from charred meats to potato chips. Kind of like Shelia, the Aussie broad from cooking school who melted my hot-cross buns on her barbie.

Anyway, before I finish the bottle and get misty about Shelia, please tell me which wines you like to drink with any of the following back-yard barbecue foods:

Grilled steak. Grilled sausage. Grilled fish. Grilled vegetables. Grilled oysters. Hamburgers. Hot dogs. Fried chicken. Potato salad. Corn on the cob. Baked beans. Three-alarm chili. Fruit salad. Ambrosia salad. Summer berry cake.

Albarinos, vinho verdes, moscato d’astis, proseccos, roses — even zinfandels, chardonnays and sauvignon blancs — are all acceptable answers.

Yeah, so it’s the night before deadline and I’m fishing for quotes. Who wants to be quoted in next week’s food section? Talk to me by Tuesday afternoon, people.

Like grape Nehi — but different and better.

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