Barbecue, wine and a boss | May 29, 2009 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Living - May 29, 2009

Barbecue, wine and a boss

by Don Colman, the Everyday Wine Guy

Given these economic times it is always wise to make sure that upper management knows how much you love them. It is called "managing up." I figured the time was right to invite my boss' family over for a BBQ.

There are two things you need to know about my boss. First, he is a great guy - very friendly and honest. He has no problem with telling you that you are doing a great or terrible job. Second, he loves wine. I knew this meant if he did not like the wine, he would have no problem telling me to toss it. Not an ideal outcome!

So here was the plan. He is from the East Coast and not used to West Coast food yet. I thought I would wean him onto some western red meat. Tri-tip is unknown back east, so a teriyaki tri-tip was perfect, served with a balsamic vinaigrette salad and marinated/roasted vegetables. The stumbling block was the wine. I came across the 2006 Quivira Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley (available at BevMo for $20) and thought I'd give it a shot.

This was not my typical tasting environment. Normally, I sit with a pen and paper, write notes and look at a variety of factors with respect to the wine. This taste would be based on two things.

First, my boss' reaction to it. In this case, it really did not matter how I felt about the wine, but rather job security comes from upper management's positive experience. I think it is safe to say that he liked it. After the first couple of sips he looked at his wife and said that she could drive home and immediately filled his glass (whew!).

Second, my memory of the wine after a long night of entertaining. This Quivira was flawless. Right from the start, it had a nice deep ruby red color yet was clear as could be. The nose of the wine was loaded with vanilla and blackberries, exactly what Zinfandels are supposed to smell like.

This Zinfandel is a beautifully dry wine, that is medium to full-bodied. It is not overpowering with tannins, but has just enough to allow it to pair nicely with a heavier piece of meat. The wine is very flavorful, loaded with oak and a sweet, long finish. Pairing this food with any grilled red meat would be ideal and which makes this the perfect summer grilling wine.

At $20, this is a very reasonably priced wine that makes a very good impression. It is nice enough to be served to important guests, but cheap enough that it can be bought for everyday consumption. Know that you can purchase this as a gift wine, as most discriminating connoisseurs will keep reaching for more. I hope you enjoy the wine as much as I did (and more importantly as much as my boss did). Until next time, cheers!

Don Colman, the Everyday Wine Guy lives in Danville and can be reached at