Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Paint Your Summer Red!

Let's face it: the best part about rules is the joy of breaking them, so why don't you get a little wild with wines this summer? Like the old "white with fish, red with meats" adage, the "rules" of wine are bending and breaking more quickly than a Hollywood marriage, and I'm jumping to the pulpit to sing the praises of (gasp!) a chilled red!

Like many red wine drinkers, I'll begrudgingly accept a crisp Pinot Gris or nice Rose on a hot summer afternoon, but I find myself missing the strong, bold punch that only a great red can pack. Thankfully, I've recently discovered that one of my favorite varietals, Malbec, is seriously, seriously tasty when served chilled. A spicy wine commonly crafted in Argentina (among other places, but I like to imagine I'm savoring Buenos Aires flare), Malbec is making a splash on wine lists across LA, but it's an approachable wine that's equally suited for backyard BBQs.

Now, I wouldn't recommend sticking any old bottle of red in the fridge (I'd steer clear of chilled Cabs, for example, which tend to be too tannic to be tasty cold), but don't think twice about chilling that bottle of Malbec. When chilled, it's soft mouthfeel soars, but a kick of spice on the tongue and a touch of plummy-cherry keeps it from falling flat, and it practically begs to be eaten with charred meats (I was not kidding about this BBQ thing!). I'm not a red meat eater, but I imagine it would do quite well with a slightly-bloody steak, and I'm salivating at the thought of washing down a raspberry-chipolte grilled chicken breast with a chilled glass of my pick, Black Mountain Malbec, available at Trader Joe's for $5.99.


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