This week I’ve been thinking about barbecue, not just the plain grilled over charcoal version we do in Ireland, but the long slow cooked version as practiced in the Southern States of the USA and of course in Holy Smoke in Cork and Mister S on Camden St — Mister S are offering excellent takeout barbecue these days if you are in Dublin.
Back in the late 1990s I drove from New York to New Orleans and then to San Francisco and took in as many barbecue spots as I could — the food was often excellent but none of the barbecue restaurants visited served wine which rather broke my heart.
That trip came to mind as I watched the new Netflix movie Uncorked which mixes Memphis-style barbecue with wine and hip hop.
The main protagonist played by Mamoudou Athie is wine obsessed but struggles to pursue his dream of being a master sommelier as his dad expects him to take over the family’s famed barbecue restaurant (which also doesn’t have a liquor licence).
The film is by no means perfect but the strong performances hold it together nicely, the sound track is excellent and there is some good wine content.
You will also learn why Jay-Z is a Chardonnay and that Drake is an off-dry Riesling.
Selections this week are all barbecue-suited, many imported by Wine Mason whose portfolio includes the wines of Albert Bichot, a Burgundy Négociant whose wines feature strongly in the movie.
Wine Mason’s range includes lesser known regions such as the Savoie and the Azores and superstar wines from the likes of JJ Prümm, Llopart and Gramona in Penèdes and Blank Bottle in South Africa.
Wine Mason have released a series of ‘Critics’ Cases’ in conjunction with selected retailers such as The Corkscrew who deliver nationwide.
The current case includes some gems — floral & fragrant Blank Bottle ‘Moment of Silence’, pristine crisp Wagner Stempel Rheinessen Riesling and bright brambly Pittnaur ‘Pitti’ Blaufränkisch-Zweigelt from Austria.
The six bottle case also includes a wine I have praised — Château Le Puy Emillien, a biodynamic and natural fruit-driven wine from Bordeaux.
Bradleys in Cork took the previous case and stock Wine Mason’s wines.
Nugan Estate Alfredo Dried Grape Shiraz, Australia — €13
This is on offer from April 30 and is a near perfect barbecue wine, especially for grilled or slow-cooked smoked pork, it will also work well lightly chilled.
Nugan is family-run and exclusive to SuperValu and its dried grape wines are all crowd pleasers.
They are packed with dark plum fruits and a solid hit of chocolate and black cherries with a bonus spicy kick.
Pascual Toso Malbec, Argentina — €12.95 to €13.95
Stockists: The Corkscrew, thecorkscrew.ie; World Wide Wines, worldwidewines.ie; Martins, martinsofflicence.ie, Jus de Vine, Drink Store
While malbec isn’t mentioned as a match for barbecued pork in ‘Uncorked’, I consider it a fine match for slow-cooked and barbecued pork.
Pascual Toso is great value across its range and even at this price has fine, smoky black fruits, supple ripe plums and a pleasing freshness.
El Coto Rosado, Rioja, Spain — €14.99
Stockists: Cinnamon Cottage, JJ O’Driscolls, 1601, Bradleys, World Wide Wines, McHughs
Spanish rosé is often a little darker and fuller flavoured but is just as charming as the lighter-hued French versions.
A tempranillo-garnacha blend with bright cherry and red currant aromas and wild strawberry flavours with a bit of grip and structure to cope with barbecue meats.
Domaine Long Depaquit Chablis, Burgundy, France — €32
Stockists: Bradleys, Redmonds, Donnybrook Fair, Corkscrew
Château Long Depaquit and Albert Bichot wines in general feature strongly in the new Netflix movie Uncorked.
I’ve long been a fan of this wine, partly for nostalgia reasons as it was one of the first good Chablis I ever tasted.
Pristine bright apple, citrus and mineral aromas, textured and with some weight, finesse and complexity on the palate.
Chateau Le Puy, Emilien, Bordeaux, France — €37.95
Stockists: Bradleys, The Corkscrew www.thecorkscrew.ie, Blackrock Cellar, Green Man, Baggot St. Wines. Redmonds
Part of the latest Wine Mason’s (@thewinemasons) Critics Case available from The Corkscrew for delivery nationwide.
Organic and Biodynamic pioneers near Saint Emilien.
Dark chocolate-tinged blackberry aromas, full flavoured dark fruits on the palate, textured but fine-focused energy.
Niepoort Sásta, Douro, Portugal — €17.95
Stockists: Mitchell & Son www.mitchellandson.com, Bradleys, Donnybrook Fair
The label for this fruit-driven little beauty depicts the tale of St Patrick and was designed by Irish cartoonist Fintan Taite.
Bright purple hue, dark fruit aromas, supple but also textured and layered with grip and a noticeable Douro character.