Cocktails & Spirits

Cheap Wine That Doesn't Suck: Colores del Sol 2008 Malbec

'Tis the season of the ritual charring of the flesh--aka, barbecue season--(check out John Linn's review of Sheila's here) so a young man's fancy turns to what beverage of the alcoholic persuasion is best to wash down some killer 'cue. 

Many of you (philistines) will say beer, and while it's true that beer is not just for breakfast any more, it also seems a waste of valuable stomach capacity to fill it with suds rather than another pound or two of smoky, savory, slow-cooked meat.  

Cheap wine that doesn't suck, however, leaves plenty of room in your digestive tract for unrestrained gluttony, at the same time satisfying your taste buds in ways mere brewski simply cannot touch. And did I mention the health benefits of wine? Because, let's face it, if you're snarfing up a big load of fat and smoke-laced barbecue, you need all the health benefits you can get.

Having thus proven the utter superiority of wine as a complement to fine 'cue, allow me to recommend the Colores del Sol 2008 Malbec. The national grape of Argentina (much like Carmenere is to Chile and Cabernet Sauvignon is to the Napa Valley), Malbec is as perfect a partner to barbecue as hickory logs and a big stack of napkins. 

This particular Malbec starts off a little tight, with tart red cherry and raspberry flavors, but slowly opens up and mellows, revealing earthy, mushroomy nuances, a bit of pepper and a good shot of sweet-spicy clove. Its bracing acidity helps cut through the fattiness of most 'cue, while its tangy, not overly ripe fruit does the same for rich, tomato-based barbecue sauces.

If you really must drink beer, though, I hear it's pretty good over cornflakes.

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Bill Citara