The long, warm days at this time of year offer the perfect opportunity to get outdoors to grill up some delicious food and enjoy some refreshing and satisfying wine. In fact, the longest day of the year this year is June 21, which happens to be a Fri. and which also happens to be the date of publication of this column. This seems like the perfect weekend for me to encourage you to take advantage of the season and the exceptionally beautiful and productive place that we call home. This month’s Grilled Buttermilk Chicken recipe and a locally produced bottle of Rosé or two will be the perfect combination to do exactly that.
Rosé refers to a very wide range of wines which are produced in many parts of the world and from a seemingly endless list of different grapes. In general, Rosé wines are pink; however, the array of colors spreads from almost clear to rich and deep and practically red. The texture can be similarly varied from light, bright and crisp to medium weighted with an oily and slightly chewy mouthfeel. Acidity can also run across the spectrum from tart and tangy to soft and somewhat off-dry. With all of these variations, picking the best temperature at which to serve your Rosé may take a little experimentation. I’ve enjoyed Rosés very chilled and plucked from the bottom of a bucket of ice and water as well as at room temperature and drawn right from the cask as the house wine in cafés in the South of France.
The style of Rosé that will pair best with the Grilled Buttermilk Chicken will be somewhere in the middle of the range of wines available. You will want a fairly acidic wine to play off the buttermilk and chicken fat in the dish. Reasonably prominent fruit flavors will be able to stand up to the spiciness in the marinade and you’ll want enough depth to accentuate the smokiness from grilling, but not so much that it overpowers the mildness of the meat. I found a local Rosé of Zinfandel that was perfect when moderately chilled.
I would suggest picking up a couple of different local Rosés, getting some of our delicious, locally raised chicken and grabbing some locally grown vegetables to add to the grill. Then invite some people over to dine and drink and raise a glass to this, the weekend with the longest days of the year. Cheers!
Jeff James is the founder and co-owner, with his wife Judy, of Stony Point Vineyard and James Family Cellars. Their Cotati vineyard and winery have consistently produced award-winning wines. Jeff can be reached at info@JamesFamilyCellars.com or www.JamesFamilyCellars.com