Food and wine are natural partners. One usually tastes better with the other.
I found that universal truth at work during the ZAP Grill-O-Rama food and wine event last weekend.
A panel of wine and food writers, myself included, selected grilled pork tacos from Pican as the best food presented during the event. The people’s choice — by a popular vote of attendees — was the beef short ribs prepared by Tyler Stone, a celebrated personal chef from Sacramento.
Zin, Wine for All Seasonings
Zinfandel holds up well with all the grilled foods served at Grill-O-Rama with wines poured by 32 wineries representing ZAP, the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers group.
I enjoyed a glass of Mauritson Dry Creek Valley 2010 Zinfandel — a blend of several different vineyards, including vines grown in the celebrated Rockpile appellation of Sonoma County, with a “beef lollipop” made from short ribs of beef prepared by Chef Stone.
The beef was prepared “sous vide,” which is a slow-cooking method in which the meat is sealed in plastic and then submerged for hours (or days) in a hot water bath. Briefly finished on the grill, each serving contained a single chunk of tender meat presented on a thick skewer with a mild chimichurri sauce.
I tried a glass of a 2009 Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel from Brazin Cellars ($17) with Pican’s shredded pork, served on a soft tortilla with spicy tomatillo sauce and a sprinkling of crumbly queso fresca cheese. I really liked the addition of pickled onions, which gave the plate a definite acid bite.
Sonoma Smokehouse served an enjoyable grilled pork slider on an open-faced bun with hot and mild tomato-based sauce. It paired nicely with a 2009 Zinfandel ($20) from Contra Costa County made by Three Wine Company in Clarksburg. The wine carries characteristic blackberry high notes plus some extra stuffing provided by 12 percent Petite Sirah. There’s just enough tannin to balance the fruit nicely.
I’d go out of my way for another bottle of this Green and Red offering that features pure Zinfandel flavors. Don’t be fooled if it’s a bit shy on the nose. It goes down so easy, a second glass is inevitable.
If you went to the tasting, please let me know what wine was your favorite. If you didn’t attend, who made the last bottle of Zinfandel you enjoyed?