While I was looking over the Sunday brunch menu recently at Lon’s at the Hermosa in Scottsdale, Ariz., one dish caught my eye. It paired a braised short rib with grits and topped them with a sunny-side-up egg. There had to be a red wine on the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence-winning list to drink with it.
Red wine for breakfast? Isn’t Champagne the usual choice for brunch? Yes, but for a dish like that (which was every bit as hearty and good as it sounds), only a red would do. I polled the table, and all four of us agreed on red.
I spied Peter Lehmann Clancy’s Barossa Valley 2005, which had a couple of extra years’ bottle age and was priced on the list at a very fair $35. A blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this wine has consistently earned scores of 88 to 91 points from me in other vintages. The sleek style plays against Australia’s image for big, heavy reds. I seldom taste this wine with some extra age on it, and the 2005 vintage showed a pleasant savory edge to the cherry and tobacco flavors against polished tannins on a lithe frame. 90 points, non-blind.
How did it do with the short rib and egg? Perfectly. Not bad with a shrimp omelet either. Balanced reds can be more versatile than many think.