As the weather gets warmer in these parts of the worlds, the cooking moves from the indoor kitchen to the outdoor patio.
No one is really sure where the term barbecue originated. The conventional knowledge is that the Spanish, upon landing in the Caribbean, used the word barbacoa to refer to the natives’ method of slow-cooking meat over a wooden platform. The practice of barbecuing in America came as a result of the introduction of domesticated livestock by Spanish and Europeans settlers in the 15th and 16th centuries. This technique involves putting meat in an iron cast grill and put directly on a fire. It is something very common to find in Latin American and Spanish Gastronomy.
The best Parrillas are made in Northern Spain. It is not surprising since most of the livestock that ends up in a grill comes from those parts.
I came to know the gas bbq when I moved to Canada. Up to the age of 15, I only BBQ with the coal system. In Venezuela, this cooking method is called La Parrilla. This was a very social thing, since it was done with a group of family and friends on a weekend. It involved large quantities of meat and some organs too. It also involved large quantities of booze involved. During those years, I was not a wine drinker. In a Parrilla, it is custom to have beer or scotch. There is not really a wine culture in Venezuela
When choosing a wine for La Parrilla, you need a full body red wine with bold flavors and maybe a bit of oak. Otherwise, the charred and smoke impregnated flavours will dominate everything. My top choices for Spanish wines, include wines from the two R’s, Ribera del Duero and Rioja. I also very fond of Garnachas from Calatayud specially with blood sausages or morcilla .
The latest SAQ Cellier offers some excellent Spanish wines, to get you in the mood to start barbequeing.
Bodegas Balbas Ardal Reserva Ribera del Duero 2010. SAQ # 12806984. $31.50
Decadent fruit on the nose, showing lots of depth and concentration. On the mouth, very structured with savoury animal, mineral and smoke flavours. Hefty tannins, this wine with get more civilized with a few years on the cellar. Perfect with a charred T-Bone steak. 93/100
Celler la Muntanya Negre 2010. SAQ # 12818109. $20.45
This wine is a blend of Monastrell with some 25% Garnacha, 20% Garnacha Tintorera and a hint of the local red Bonicaire, an almost extinct variety they are recovering from 40-year-old, head-pruned vines vines. Big nose, bringing to mind lots of earthy and herbal characters such as mountain scrub, ripe black fruits and aromatic fresh herbs. On the mouth, the wine is full body, with a restrained balance and a interesting elegance. A very nice. 90\100
Burgo Viejo Rioja Crianza 2012. SAQ # 12848308. $17.00
Red ruby hue with violet tones. On the mouth, it is a well-balanced with old style black fruit, vanilla and coconut flavors. Powerful, complex and silky smooth. Traditional Rioja with a friendly pocket price. 91/100