There are two main theories when it comes to pairing wine with food, mirroring flavors or contrasting them. Having a heavy pasta dish with butter, cream and maybe some pancetta? You could have a rich chardonnay with a healthy dose of oak to reinforce the same flavors. Or you could have a bright, citrusy unoaked white that cuts through the heft and weight of the food.
Personally, I lean toward the contrasting mode of wine pairing.
When it comes to grilled foods, I know that a lot of wine lovers like wines with a toasty, oaky edge. The idea is that those flavors line up nicely with the charred, smoky flavors of grilled foods. I get it, but again, that’s not where I go. I prefer fresh, fruity wines with nice acidity and lower tannins for most grilled fare.
Enter this week’s “Wine of the Week,” Bridge Lane Wine 2014 Red Blend. It’s a blend of 44 percent merlot, 22 percent malbec, 22 percent cabernet franc, 9 percent cabernet sauvignon and 3 percent petit verdot that only spent six months in Hungarian oak barrels.
Flavors of plum, black cherry and blackberry are fairly straightforward, but accented by just enough high-toned floral and spice notes to offer just a bit of complexity with almost no oak footprint.
Lower in tannins, it relies on fresh, almost crunchy acidity for structure. It’ll cut through a sweet, sticky barbecue sauce, pair well with a juicy medium-rare burger or sing with spice-rubbed pork chops. You can chill it, too, for 30 to 45 minutes in your fridge.
Perhaps best of all, it’s available in bottle, 3 liter bag-in-box and 20 liter keg, so it’s well suited for that big summer bash. The box is $38 for four bottle’s worth of wine, one of the best deals on the North Fork.
Bridge Lane is Lieb Cellars’ second label. This wine is available at both the the Lieb tasting room in Cutchogue and the Bridge Lane tasting room in Mattituck.