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On and Off the Wagon in New York

Posted: Oct 11, 2006 2:05pm ET

I am in Manhattan and just got back from lunch with the senior editors of the magazine. We went to a place across the street called Blue Smoke. It’s a barbecue joint and always provides good-quality eats. I thought I wouldn’t have any wine for lunch because we had a heavy night with the editors last night, which included 2004 El Molino Chardonnay, 2000 Masseto in magnum, 2001 Aldo Conterno Barolo Colonello and 1996 Mouton-Rothschild.

I was on the wagon, as one might say. I had a slight headache, which I attributed to the change in the weather and certainly not drinking. I was sitting next to my buddy, James Laube, and he was not going to eat his pork sandwich with anything but a decent glass of red. So he ordered a bottle of 2003 Hendry Ranch Hendry Block 7 Zinfandel. It looked dark and yummy when it was served. I looked at his glass of wine as I was drinking a glass of iced tea. I took a couple of sips of the tea, and I soon realized why I never drink the stuff in Europe. Or just about anywhere else in the world.

I was off the wagon after about 4 minutes and 35 seconds. And the Hendry Zin was delicious with lots of blackberry and chocolate aromas and flavors, medium body and a soft, round, textured finish.

A good meal without a good glass of wine is always a letdown … even if it's a simple lunch of barbecue.

Karl Mark
Geneva, IL. —  October 11, 2006 8:16pm ET
Speaking of the weather. Have you heard anything else on the harvest in Bordeaux? Thanks.
Guest Guest
New York —  October 11, 2006 11:34pm ET
Funny you should ask. I just had dinner with some people from Bordeaux and they said it was mixed. It was really a question of who worked well in their vineyards and picked at the right time. In other words, it is not going to be a great vintage.
Alvaro Esquivel
Miami, Fla —  October 12, 2006 1:34am ET
Hi James, I couldn't agreed with you more, nothing better than a nice glass of wine with a good meal and that Zin + Barbecue = Perfect Combo.Ice Tea with Barbecue after a heavy night and very likely an upset stomach for the rest of the day!
James Laube
Napa, CA —  October 12, 2006 9:15am ET
Marchesi, If you ever quit drinking wine the market will collapse. Great seeing you...lots of fun!
William Fyke
NYC —  October 12, 2006 9:37am ET
Zin and BBQ is such a fun pairing. A bunch of wine geeks and I are getting together at Virgil's (Mid-Town Manhattan) in November for the 2nd semi-annual Zin-A-Palooza. Last time was so much fun, with Turleys, Outposts, and many other goodies to sample along with the delicious slippery food. It was a great change of pace from the Burg, Bordeaux etc. dinners. (Not that there's anything wrong with those)Cheers!
Alan Vinci
springfield, n.j. —  October 12, 2006 9:45am ET
James, a glass of iced tea with a meal may quench the thirst, but a good glass of wine with a meal quenches the soul! I for one would go for the wine...
Katy Law
NY —  October 12, 2006 10:19am ET
What were your thoughts on the El Molino Chard?
William Newell
Buffalo, NY —  October 12, 2006 11:00am ET
Iced tea with barbeque? Zin sounds best, but if not, at least a Coke, in Southern tradition, would have more flavor.
Edward Forrester
Franklin, TN —  October 12, 2006 11:21am ET
James, your first mistake was to order iced tea in New York. (Shudder) A New York BBQ joint?! Here the always freshly made, cane sugar sweetened, elixir known as sweet tea is the "house wine of the South." I enjoy Zinfandel as much as anyone but real BBQ should only be served with cold beer or sweet tea or a Coke if you're in Atlanta. Maybe NY BBQ (another shudder) can pair with wine but our stuff is spicy and smoky enough to kill most wines.
Neil Koffler
New York, NY —  October 12, 2006 12:15pm ET
Of course, many of the legendary southern BBQ spots offer only sweetened iced tea because they are in dry counties. The horror!!I've been to Blue Smoke once and opted for beer, which went great with the food.Do any of you (reviewers) ever drink beer?
Jeffrey Ghi
New York —  October 12, 2006 1:46pm ET
Not a fan of blue smoke at all, Dinosaur BBQ tho, http://www.dinosaurbarbque.com/nycIndex.php

Is definitely a tops in my book. Get it with some nice ale and I can nap the rest of the day happy. What I love about the bbq down south, is the molasses they use in the sauce, can't find a stickier sauce elsewhere!

As with TN bbq, you don't know spicy or smokey till you get one of em Buffalo wings from Buffalo, NY where it's so damn cold in the winter time you'd need the HEAT to stay warm =)
James Suckling
 —  October 12, 2006 4:59pm ET
Katy. I would order the El Molino Chardonnay again. I thought it showed a wonderful richness but was also balanced in a flashy sort of way. Yummy.
Michael Tracy
trabuco canyon CA —  October 12, 2006 10:34pm ET
Off the wagon for 4 minutes and 35 seconds?....Your a better man than I Mr. James

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