Our Wine of the Week, Bogle Vineyards 2012 California Essential Red ($11), is a great quaffer to keep on hand. You can’t beat the cost. It’s engaging, approachable and can easily hold its own with wines triple its cost.
The wine’s aromas are rich, earthy and rather heady, qualities that transform into flavors of black raspberries, Bing cherries and black plums that in turn give way to little sparks of sweet spice and dried herbs. The lingering finish suggests dried licorice root, vanilla and sweet pipe tobacco.
There’s a surprising elegance to this wine. Although it is a bit burly, it is not the enormous fruit bomb it could have been, given its composition of syrah, old vine zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon and petite sirah. It is soft enough to enjoy with, say, grilled wild Pacific King salmon, especially if you slather the fish with a robust barbecue sauce.
This wine is a great match with pretty much anything off the grill, from burgers and sausages to leg of lamb or goat, skirt steak, tri-tip, New York steak or a juicy rib-eye. Add grilled corn on the cob and roasted sweet peppers alongside and the match soars.
For today’s recipe, I’ve adapted a dish from my book “Polenta” (Broadway Books, 1997) that is lovely in the summer as a light main course or as part of a barbecue.
Summer Polenta with Fresh Corn and Red Pepper Butter
Serves 6 to 8
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
2 cups coarse-ground polenta
4 ounces (1 stick) butter, at room temperature