Most people know zinfandel from white zinfandel, a rose-style wine that is usually sweet and best served ice cold. But the zinfandel grape makes another kind of wine that is almost the exact opposite — a sturdy red that is perfect when it’s time to fire up the grill.
“Zinfandels can be fruity, spicy, and even peppery,” says Rich Liebman, a wine buyer for Goody Goody on lower Greenville. “That makes them ideal with spicy foods, and especially with barbecue. They are a perfect match.”
Zinfandels are sometimes more difficult to find, but they’re worth the effort. Serve them at 68 degrees, and let them rest in your glass for a minute or two before drinking. Consider the following:
• Bogle Old Vines Zinfandel 1997 ($10). Most Bogle wines are outstanding values, and this is no exception. It’s a little less powerful than some of the other, more expensive varieties.
• DeLoach Russian River Zinfandel 1996 ($17). DeLoach makes a number of fine zinfandels, of which this is a prime example. More complex than the Bogle.
• Ridge Lytton Springs 1997 ($22). Ridge is one of the great zinfandel wineries, and this is one of their great wines. It’s deep and full-bodied, and not for the faint of heart.
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