3 Reasons to Pair Zinfandel and BBQ

I’m married to a man who was born and raised Kentucky, so to say he likes his Southern cuisine is an understatement. Lucky for us, there’s actually quite a few Southern BBQ joints in Sonoma County, and one we particularly like in our home town of Santa Rosa called Sweet T’s. And if a Kentucky boy turned California man approves of this place, then you know it’s got to be good.


Whenever we go out to dinner, I’m always perusing the wine list for the best pairing experience. On a recent visit to Sweet T’s, I opted for a Ramazzotti 2011 Ricordo Zinfandel from Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley appellation—a region quite touted for its Zinfandel. With aromas of pepper-spiced cherry and raspberry fruit, and an elegant but hearty palate full of black pepper, black cherry cola and blueberry, I couldn’t help but love the way this Zinfandel pleasantly partnered up next to the pork ribs smothered in BBQ sauce:

  1. Zinfandel’s classic peppery aromas and flavors pair well with the smoky, peppery characteristic of BBQ sauce.
  2. Being a heartier varietal that tends to exhibit a high alcohol content (usually 14-16%), Zinfandel loves meat. You don’t have to worry about the wine being overpowered by the food of vice versa.
  3. The ripe fruit flavors in Zinfandel complement the tangy, sweet and savory flavors of BBQ sauce.

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