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Cookouts – They’re not just for beer anymore

I’m sure you have noticed I have not been blogging much these days. My big, yellow head has had writer’s block. I’m not sure why, maybe because I’m in the vineyard more each day and tired at night. I really can’t say. I will tell you this…the vineyard is beautiful right now and you should plan to come and see it. I’m working hard to keep the pests away from the grapes so that the 2014 vintage will be one for you to enjoy. I will tell you there is a lot going on here at the winery. First, Mom was awarded “Best Woman Winemaker” by the International Women’s Wine Competition (see story here: http://articles.mcall.com/2014-07-02/entertainment/mc-troxell-galen-glen-winery-award-20140702_1_schuylkill-county-medal-tasting-room). Then, our Stone Cellar Riesling wine was mentioned in famed Riesling expert, Stuart Pigott’s book “Best Wine on Earth,” and finally, our Semi-Dry Riesling was awarded a “Best-Buy” rating of 86 in “Wine & Spirits Magazine.” I can tell you it’s been one crazy week. Since I haven’t written in a while and I learned that our Tasting Room Manager, Kathy, was writing guest blogs for the Discover Carbon County website, I asked her if I could post one of hers. I thought you might enjoy this one about summer cookouts and what wines pair best. If you want to see the Discover Carbon County blogs go to: http://discovercarbonpa.com/blog.

Cookouts – They’re not just for beer anymore

Summer menus often are accompanied by our hoppy friend in the small brown bottles because it’s easy to chill in a cooler, comes in single servings and rarely does someone say, “This porter doesn’t go with potato salad.” I actually know a few folks who might say that but the general public is looking for an easy, fun gathering with friends where they don’t have to think too hard. For some reason, many people think wine is too complicated or too fancy for a cook out. I only have one thing to say about that – WRONG!

Summer is the perfect time to pair wines with your cook out menu. While the hot weather turns most folks away from a big, heavy red wine, there are other great options that are easy to pair and serve with most menus. Rose and blush wines pair very well with BBQ and baked beans and provide a refreshing twist to choosing just red or white. Serving brats or potato salad? Think about a Riesling. There is a common misconception that Riesling is only sweet. Riesling ranges from dry to sweet. It’s the most well-known grape in Germany, where they also love brats and potatoes, so maybe those Germans are on to something. Try a semi-dry Riesling, your guests who like dry wines will enjoy it as well as your guests who like sweet wines. What about burgers? I know you are thinking, “red goes with beef but she just said avoid heavy wines.” There are many red options that are not heavy. Look for a “naked” or un-oaked red like a Chambourcin to try with those patties. These types of wines also make wonderful bases for a great sangria. Finally, what about dessert? Yes, there is a wine for that. If you are serving some fresh berries, try a sparkling wine. Some believe that sparkling wines are only for special occasions. In my opinion, you are gathering with friends, you woke up and took in air that day, sounds like a special occasion to me. Pop open a bottle of bubbly and celebrate the sunshine, good friends and great food. Other options would be a Moscato with ambrosia or a sweet red containing Concord with some peanut butter pie.

So, as your summer approaches full swing, think about serving some wine at your next gathering. If you are unsure about pairings, visit a local winery. The friendly staff is always ready to help you make an informed decision.

Kathleen Matson
Tasting Room Manager
Galen Glen Winery

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