Summertime and the drinkin' is — or should be — easy.
This will help. The Wine of the Week, Joel Gott 2011 California Zinfandel ($17), will get you through hot, lazy days effortlessly.
The wine is engaging and approachable yet not simplistic. Layers of fruit unfold on the palate, with delicate raspberries and fragrant blueberries followed by ripe black cherries and succulent blackberries. Cinnamon, clove, black pepper and white pepper rise from this foundation of fruit and linger pleasantly on the wine's long finish.
It is an easy guest at almost any table and especially welcome when a grill is involved. As you might suspect, given its heritage — this is the same Gott as Gott's Roadside, formerly Taylor's Refresher, in St. Helena — the wine is a happy companion to a good hamburger. It is also ideal with ribs, grilled salmon, barbecued chicken and almost anything with bacon. You can enjoy it with pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, polenta with sausages and, soon, with ripe summer tomatoes.
You might even want to save a bit for the end of a meal and enjoy it with blueberry pie or ice cream topped with blueberry sauce.
For today's recipe, I've taken inspiration from blueberries, now in season locally. Blueberries make an excellent barbecue sauce that enhances the wine's connection to grilled foods and is especially good with wild salmon and pork tenderloin.
Blueberry Barbecue Sauce
Makes about 3 cups
3 tablespoons bacon fat, olive oil, coconut oil or grapeseed oil