Not long ago I got together with friends for a rose tasting. We went through 6 or 7 bottles of rose (between the 4 of us) and at the end of the evening, we vowed to do a Ribs and Red evening. Well, what I really like about these friends is that they follow through on their less than sober declarations.
Our first annual (hopefully, there will be a second next year) Ribs and Red fest was last Saturday night and it was a resounding success. There were no shortage of ribs, three of us made a couple of racks each. You can see how amazing they looked and how different all three versions were.
These baby back ribs were made with both a dry rub and a sauce. The sauce was homemade with peaches and had an amazing fruity flavor. Just look at that mahogany bark!
These spare ribs were dry rubbed and offered up with a variety of sauces from an apple mustard sauce to a traditional bbq sauce.
These St. Louis Cut ribs were dry rubbed with Memphis Dust and served with a homemade BBQ sauce from Amazingribs.com. Since I made these, I can offer you the recipes for both. Just click on the links for both to get the recipe. BTW, there are many more great BBQ recipes on the site I'm linking you to. Can't wait to try more of them.
Everyone brought at least 2 wines. We had everything from Carmenere to Zinfandel so there was a great variety to taste with. Here was our line up:
Fortunately for our livers, we didn't get to open each one. We started by opening 5 of them and placed them along side the ribs and let everyone pair them with the ribs at their discretion. Here are my notes:
Carmenere was once a Bordeaux grape that was brought to Chile in the 1850's. It was thought to be Merlot until recently when it was DNA typed. Chile has had great success with it. This particular bottle was quite good. Some Carmenere's have lots of tobacco and cocoa flavors, but this one was very fruity with lots of black cherry and an undertone of earthiness. Had the tobacco and cocoa been more forward this wouldn't have paired well with the ribs. However, with all that fruit, it paired wonderfully.
Zinfandel is a classic pair for bbq ribs. In fact, my wine instructor here in the Twin Cities has a group of friends that get together annual for a ribs and zin. There's a lot of pressure to bring the best Zin. This one didn't disappoint. It had great flavors of dried fruit and blackberry; very jammy. For some in the group, this was the best pairing with the ribs.
Henry's Drive Shiraz
This was my personal favorite of the wine pairings. Australian Shiraz is another classic pairing with ribs, (note, not French Syrah. The latter is too earthy and too gamey to pair well.) This particular wine was loaded with great fruit: blackberries, black raspberries and vanilla and coconut flavors from being fermented and aged in oak barrels. The tannins were incredibly soft and luscious. The one downside of this wine was the high levels of alcohol -- a whopping 16%. I almost passed on it because of that. Glad I didn't.
This wine was a miss with the ribs. On its own or with a different food pairing, we all thought this would be a good wine, but alas with ribs, it was just too high in acid and tannin. That said, it had nice fruit flavors of cherry, cranberry and fig. I'd like to try it with something different at another time.
Lastly, we tried this Spanish wine from the Montsant region. It's a grenache blend that garnered 91 points from Robert Parker last year. At $9 a bottle at Costco, I couldn't help but pick up a case in hopes that it would age well year to year. Our assessment was that it was OK with the Ribs, but not great. Compared to last year, it had really flattened out. There was still good fruit in the mouth but it had lost more of it's zip than I had expected and the flavors were a bit muddied. As my friend suggested, it might make a better cheese and olives wine.
Whew. It was a great evening and we'll definitely repeat a Ribs and Red event in the future. In the meantime, what do you like to drink with ribs? (BTW, beer is also a good answer as that's what my husband drank all night during Ribs and Red!)