Top 5 Memorial Day BBQ Wines

The Memorial Day holiday weekend is always the start of cookout season in the A Glass After Work household.  This year, while we’re not hosting our own BBQ, we are heading out to several, so Hubby asked me what wines I was planning on bringing.  Admittedly, I didn’t have a list put together, but his asking seemed like the perfect opportunity to go through some old posts.  Here are 5 crowd pleasers that go nicely with hot dogs and hamburgers without breaking the bank.


2005 Lolonis Zinfandel

The 2005 Lolonis Zinfandel (winery, snooth) is made with organically grown Zinfandel grapes and the winery uses ladybugs for pest control.  If you’re headed to a cookout, you can’t go wrong with a California Zinfandel, as the wines tend to be big, bold, and beautiful with high alcohol content.  The Lolonis is no exception. I gave the wine 4.5 corks and, while it was given to me as a gift, I’ve found it for $18.

2008 Big House Red

The 2008 Big House Red 3-liter Octavin Home Wine Bar (winery, snooth) is a blend of 13 different red grapes.  The wine is a solid, oaked red, so if you see it in a regular sized bottle, don’t hesitate to grab one. I’ve brought the Octavin Big House Red to several parties, and while people are sometimes hesitant to try a boxed wine, once they have a glass, they always come back for more.  I’ve never left a party where the box wasn’t empty.  I gave the wine 3 corks, and while I received it for a sample, the suggested retail price is $20 for 3 liters (which works out to be $5/bottle).


2008 Gnarly Head Pinot Grigio

The 2008 Gnarly Head Pinot Grigio (winery, snooth) is the epitome of a great BBQ wine.  It is bright, fruity, and refreshing.  It is inexpensive.  It is very food friendly.  And, it has a winery name and label that could be a fun conversation starter.   I gave the wine 4.5 corks and purchased it for $9.


2007 Martin Codax Albariño

The 2007 Martin Codax Albariño (vineyard, snooth) is a very aromatic wine that has a nice blend of limes and flowers, with a hint of honey.  The wine is crisp and refreshing without being too acidic, which makes it easy to drink.  It would pair particularly well with both regular and pasta salads.  I gave this wine 3 corks and purchased it for $13.


2009 Montes Cherub Rosé of Syrah

The 2009 Montes Cherub Rosé of Syrah (winery, snooth) was made from 100% Syrah grapes and is a perfect wine for a Memorial Day BBQ. Don’t be fooled into think that because this wine is a Rosé that it’s sweet.  This wine is what I expect from a good Rosé—nice flavor, good acidity, and a light-to-medium body that was refreshing and flirty. I gave this wine 3.5 corks and while I received this wine as a sample, the suggested retail price is $17.

***While I know it’s not quite Memorial Day, as we are about to enter into the holiday weekend,
I would like to take a moment to remember the amazing men and women who lost their lives while defending America
and send my thoughts to their families.***


Rías Baixas After Lunch

After lunch on Day 1 of The Wine Academy of Spain’s course at Jaleo in the Crystal City, our instructor, Jesus Bernard dove head first into the Rías Baixas region of Spain. The area is known for its seafood-friendly white wines, particularly those made from the Albariño grape. The wines are often very fragrant and fruity, particularly on the nose, with a touch of salinity in the mouth. Jesus mentioned that the 2008 was a particularly good year for Rías Baixas but if you can’t find a 2008, you should still do well with a bottle from 2007.

Tasting #2 on Day 1
Rías Baixas

2.5 Corks

2007 Vionta Albariño (winery, snooth)
100% Albariño
Light-to-medium gold with a touch of bubbles
Caramel, baked pineapple, mango, and white blossoms on the nose
More mineral, less fruit with strong salty flavors in the mouth
Soft, medium body
Missing the refreshing aspects of a great Albariño

4 Corks

2008 Burgans Albariño from Bodegas Martin Codax (winery, snooth)
100% Albariño

Medium lemon color with a watery rim
Peach, nectarine, mandarin orange, pineapple, mango, eucalyptus, basil, and white blossoms on the nose
Lime, lemon, white blossoms, and minerals with a hint of salt in the mouth
Lime-like acidity, light body

2007 Santiago Ruiz (winery, snooth)
70% Albariño
, 20% Loueiro, 10% Treixadura
Pale gold
Pineapple, nectarine, white flowers, something herbaceous, and a touch of almond on the nose
Very briny and minerally in the mouth, like licking a wet stone
Also flavors of flowers, nectarines, apricots, and lime
Nice body and complexity, plus a long finish

4.5 Corks

2007 Fillaboa (snooth)
Medium gold color with a lot of little bubbles
Apricots, nectarines, peaches, granny smith apples, and a touch of honey on the nose
Stone fruits with a lot of salinity and minerality in the mouth
Lime-like acid, with a long finish that has a touch of pleasant bitterness on the end

Real Dinner & A Food-Friendly Wine

While this past week is the last week of my really busy season at work, it was also the first week since the middle of January that Hubby and I didn’t have 3 nights of classes between the two us. Sure, it’s hard for me to know that he can come home after work and relax, while I still have another 4 weeks of studying and 14-hour Mondays, but there is an upside—we now have two more nights a week for a real dinner. School nights consist of one or both of us are grabbing soup, eating cereal, or throwing together a sandwich at 10:30pm. We sit down together to catch-up while the other one scarfs down food 30 minutes before bedtime, but there’s no enjoyment in the food or the eating, not to mention that you start to hate soup, cereal, and sandwiches. With Hubby’s semester being over, we’re back to sitting down together at a human dinner time, or at least normal dinner time for us, on most weeknights. Who knew that something so simple could be so nice?

The return of a real dinner also means that I have a few more opportunities for fun food-wine pairings throughout the week. On Tuesday night, I opened the 2007 Martin Codax Albariño (vineyard, snooth). The wine was a nice, medium yellow and very aromatic. After swirling the wine, I only had to put my nose near the glass to pick up the nice lime and green apple aromas. On a second check, I also found ripe melon and stone fruits. In the mouth, the Martin Codax tasted of lime, blossoms, and peach, mixed with the slightest bit of honey. The wine was crisp and refreshing without being too acidic.

Is this worth a glass after work? Sure…you won’t be drinking anything out of the ordinary, but you’ll definitely have a decent, reliable glass of wine. At $13 a bottle, the Martin Codax Albariño is not a complex wine, but it can easily accompany and enhance an after-work dinner. I drank the wine with a crab and avocado salad, which was a wonderful summer pairing, on my first night with the bottle. On my second night, I drank the wine with a spicy, garlic chicken and broccoli stir-fry, which also was a great pairing. The wine cut down on some of the spiciness of the sauce, and the spiciness helped enhance some of the juicy peach and melon flavors of the wine. So, don’t hesitate to grab this wine if you see it.

Overall: 3 Corks