Happiness Is A Warm Grill

It was Independence Day recently, although I had forgotten all about it until I sat down to write this (sorry Heather, I hope you had a good one!). Entirely by coincidence, I had been in an American state of mind the previous weekend, having collected some well-aged short ribs from the world’s greatest butcher . The dilemma I was wrestling with that night was how best to cook these: did I go low and slow or did I slap them on the barbecue and to hell with consequences? In the end, it was a lovely evening, I wanted to try the short ribs, I couldn’t be bothered cooking them for hours and the barbecue won the toss. As you would expect from such a cut, the meat was chewy but not tough and six weeks of hanging had allowed it to develop a beautifully rich, savoury flavour. I loved the taste and the texture and I’m really looking forward to the next batch!

 Ravenswood, Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel 2008

Ravenswood, Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel 2008

Pretty much any combination of fire and meat is all the excuse I need to indulge in my vinous guilty pleasure: Zinfandel. I’ve always had a soft spot for Joel Peterson’s Zinfandels and, even after falling under the wheels of the Constellation juggernaut, Ravenswood still produces a consistent and pretty convincing range of wines.

The barbecued short ribs had me reaching for a handy bottle of Ravenswood Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel 2008. Deeply coloured, its sweet black and blue fruit nose had a whiff of tar, a dusting of cocoa and a lick of vanilla oak rounding things off. As full bodied as you would expect, pleasingly fresh acidity balanced vanilla and coconutty oak notes and woody spices, juicy blackberry and blueberry fruit and a touch of cherry pie. Tannins gave a blackcurrant bitterness and the alcohol (14.5% ABV) was neatly housed in all of the fruit. A couple more years wouldn’t have hurt, but this was far more harmonious and complex than most £10 Zinfandels and I’m not ashamed to say that I really enjoyed it.