Meals on Wheels, we’ve got a wine for that

This week’s recipe from Ann Vogel comes straight from a cookbook filled with celebrities and their favorite recipes, available now for purchase just in time for the holidays, and to benefit a good cause (Meals on Wheels).

Vogel highlights the Barbecue Brisket of Beef in her column, so that’s what we’re going to recommend a wine pairing for.

Barbecue can sometimes be tricky to pair with because, as we’ve repeatedly said, everything comes back to the sauce. If it’s vinegar based barbecue — like what you’d find in North Carolina — you’d want to pair an Italian Barbera with the course.

But because this recipe calls for brown sugar and ketchup — both indicators that this sauce will be thicker and sweeter — a Barbera, with its low tannins and high acidity, may not be able to go toe to toe in the weight division.

For this recipe, we consulted our trusty food and wine pairing Bible, “What to Drink with What You Eat”, by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, (another great holiday gift idea if you’re looking for something for a wine or food lover).

For sweeter based sauces, these two food and wine gurus suggest a cabernet sauvignon from either Napa Valley or Chile.
Now there’s a number of Napa cabernets that we’d love to recommend (Frog’s Leap is just one that comes to mind), but in most cases the wines are priced higher than we’d typically recommend in this column. So we went a little south and east of Napa to the Lodi region of California.

Here you can find the Noble Vines wines. You might know the label — all black with just a number in bright red. In this case we’re recommending the 337 Cabernet Sauvignon. The “337” is the name of the clone from France’s 337 cabernet sauvignon vine.

The 2010 has aromas of black cherry, ripe currant and lightly roasted coffee. Tannins balance well with acidity, making it a great match for the brown sugar-based barbecue sauce. The wine exhibits flavors of black cherry, blackberry and cassis, with sweet herbs and black pepper spice accents.

Another nice thing about this wine? Unlike the Napa cabs that tend to start around $40 and go up from there, this wine can be found at the grocery store between $10 and $15.