Despite it being a day for solemn remembrance, especially in the times we find ourselves, Memorial Day weekend, for many, also signals the opening of the BBQ and grilling season for many folks. Being in Texas, that season never ends, but for a lot of people this is the weekend when they break out the grill for the first time. It is also a weekend when family and friends gather around the grill and celebrate the beginning of the Summer season.
As this is not a political blog, I will not dwell on the solemn aspects in this space. Suffice it to say that our brave young men and women and their families are rarely far from my thoughts anymore, and my fervent hope is that their sacrifice and pain is brought to an end soon.
Returning to the actual theme of this piece, people will be gathering around the grill all across the country this weekend, and on through the summer. We won’t go into what constitutes BBQ today (maybe tomorrow), but whether the fare is burgers and hot dogs, jerked chicken, pulled pork, or the Texas delicacy, slow smoked brisket, it is hard to beat grilled, smoked and barbecued foods for celebratory Summer gatherings.
Beer and soda tend to dominate the drink choices at such gatherings. The reasons are simple, those drinks go well with the menu, they are cheap, and they are traditional. As wine becomes more popular, it is starting to appear more often at these type of less formal gatherings. But what to serve?
My criteria for an outdoor party like this is that the wine should have some sweetness to pair with the naturally sweet flavors, be low in alcohol so the fiery spices aren’t unduly enhanced while keeping my guests from falling over or peeing in my wife’s flower beds, and it should be inexpensive. Another plus is that it should taste good chilled, so I like whites here. There are plenty of reds that go well with ‘cue, but out in the hot sun I prefer something more refreshing.
A wine that meets all of those criteria is Polka Dot Riesling. It has a flowery nose with hints of peaches and apricots. Those flavors carry over into the taste along with a bit of residual sugar, providing a sweetness that matches perfectly with spicy, smoky food. It also has the required fresh crispness that is refreshing on a hot day.
At 10.5% alcohol with a price tag around 8 bucks it also fits all of my other requirements. One more thing to recommend it is the packaging. It looks like a fun party wine, and it is.
This wine was a Double Gold Champion at the Houston Livestock and Rodeo wine competition. Oh, and did I mention it was only around $8?
I hope that everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, and may God bless and keep our troops and their families.