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best wine for NC style barbecue?

I wasn't sure if this was best posted to the 'south' board, but since I am asking for a wine recommendation I thought I'd try here first...

A friend is having a catered event where eastern NC style barbecue will be served. NC style barbecue is slow smoked, pork barbecue cooked and served with a vinegary-spicy pepper barbecue sauce. Around here this would traditionally be served with very sweet iced tea, but prohibition ended a long time ago, and they want to also serve beer and wine. What type of wine would be best? Looking for suggestions for both the red and white wine styles. Thanks!

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  1. I generally do beer (ale), but California Syrahs and fruit-forward but spicy Zins also work well.

    1. I live in eastern NC as well, and we do these things, so please don't think I'm putting the only real BBQ out there down.

      At our shindigs we serve bourbon in the morning, beer in the hot of the afternoon, and catawba or scuppernong wine in the late of the afternoon. Real Artillery Punch sits in a cooler, waiting for folks to imbibe. Generally a couple folks show up with a few different grades of moonshine they picked up in the last year so we can all check them out.

      I guess what I'm trying to say is that you should take what you personally like to drink - between the wood smoke and the pork fat and the vinegar sauce and the white bread and the slaw and whatever else they have to eat and/or drink, I'm not sure this is an event where you need to be worrying about a wine pairing, except to say to get something that will cut the grease.

      I will also note in passing that setting up the croquet sets down in front of the skeet traps is not a good idea.

      4 Replies
      1. re: fussycouple

        Wow.... Can I come to one of your shindigs? :-)

        1. re: fussycouple

          Well, actually...the event is a wedding. There will be other food and beverage, but I volunteered to solicit some input on the wine selection too!

          1. re: ncn8tive

            Make Clerico -- white wine sangria -- large plastic bins -- toss in the fruit (diced apple, sliced kiwi, strawberry, and whatever else you have ripe), into the container and cover with sugar -- let it set for a few hours.. then pour in reisling or any other sweet white wine.

            serve over ice.

          2. re: fussycouple

            fussycouple, that post evokes a lovely picture of a fun chow event! (save for the poor croquet players) thanks.

            btw, my "wine" of choice would be red hook esb (beer). wine at a Q? heresy!

          3. I've never drunk wine with my Wilber's, but had a bottle of Perrin Cotes du Rhone last night (with a curried lamb chop) that might suit the situation well, having just enough acid to cut through the fat a bit - $8.00 at Trader Joe's in NYC, but I think it's generally available at Lowe's and Food Lion down yonder.

            1. With the acidity of the vinegar sauce in eastern NC BBQ, it will be very difficult to pair the meat with any type of dry wine and I certainly wouldn't reach for a wine glass where BBQ was served. There is a reason why it is traditionally served with SWEET tea, remember.

              But let's try to tackle the request, anyway.

              The only sweet wines I enjoy are dessert wines, but I am not sure that any of those would go well with BBQ.

              Perhaps a German riesling would work.

              If you are in NC, you might try to experiment by getting some take out from a local BBQ joint and pairing it with a variety of wines. I think it might be a bit of a lost cause - good luck to you.

              1. Zin. You need something that will stand up to all the spice and vinegar. If it is a large event get something cheap like a Rancho Zabacho. It's drinkable enough for wine lovers and people who drink jug type wines might think it's something special.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Paul Weller

                  Would sherry go with NC BBQ? Port?

                  1. re: anewton

                    For a big group I would not serve sherry or port. That's more of a people like it or don't like it kind of thing. Port tastes sort of boozy to me. I don't like it with food, and I think sherry is just for cooking, but that's just my opinion.

                    1. re: Paul Weller

                      Vouvray, (maybe even a demi-sec) Riesling or a fruity Cotes du Rhone Blanc for white and for red I would say Cotes du Rhone, a grapey Spanish Grenache or Beaujolais...but I too think beer is the way to go.

                      1. re: bubbles4me

                        Southern France is my favorite region but some areas of the country it's not easy to find a cheap and decent Cotes du Rhone. That's why I suggested the Rancho Zabaco, it's cheap and most supermarkets will have it.

                      1. re: Paul Weller

                        zin would fight with the vinegar, imo. i like the reisling idea. or what about gewurztraminer?

                      2. It's a wedding, it's a pig-picking!

                        Consider Asti Spumante. It's sweet, sparkling, light, easily drinkable, and it's so inexpensive you won't mind drinking it at this kind of event. And since it's bubbly, it's celebrative. Any Harris Teeter will have perfectly drinkable inexpensive Asti, and you can be bringing it as much to pair with the wedding as the food.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: fussycouple

                          I was thinking sweet and sparkling as well, although I'm less optimistic about getting a good Asti in the grocery store. (although Harris Teeter left Greenville years ago...maybe I don't know what I'm missing)

                          I had an Italian sparkler w/ a dessert course at Babbo a few years ago that was so good I wound up ordering more on the 'net. Unfortunately I don't remember what it was.

                          I can't see any dry wine being decent w/ vinegar sauced bbq.

                        2. a inspiration: Long Island Iced Tea punch. Not beer, not wine, just sneaky booze! (i'd have to have some, even though i was quaffing redhook esb with my Q)

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: alkapal

                            It is always a bad idea to serve very strong, albeit quaffable cocktails with a meal.

                            1. re: FrankJBN

                              hmmmm. you are right. i didn't think about the tummy-quakes (and aftermath) that would invariably ensue.

                              why don't strong cocktails treat us so badly on a (not-so-empty) stomach?

                              1. re: alkapal

                                Actually, the Artillery Punch mentioned above is:

                                2 gallons Iced Tea, brewed Strong,
                                3 gallons Catawba wine
                                1 gallon rum
                                1 gallon brandy
                                1 gallon rye whiskey
                                5 lbs. brown sugar
                                2 qts. cherries
                                juice of three dozen oranges
                                juice of three dozen lemons
                                1 gallon gin
                                Mix all this in a cooler and set it aside for a day or two.

                                When it's time to drink, put ice in an Artillery punch glass, fill the glass 1/2 full with the punch, add maraschino cherries and cherry juice, then
                                fill with champagne.

                                For the above amount, keep on hand
                                12 quarts of champagne (we use the really cheap stuff)..

                                Tastes like fruit juice, hits like a slice of lemon wrapped around a brick.

                                This way we get the cocktails, the bubbly celebrating stuff, and all, wrapped into one. ....

                                Did I say don't put the crocquet set down in front of the skeet traps? I did, I'm sure I did...

                                1. re: fussycouple

                                  you sure did. that goes double, now....

                          2. I have had success offering a Californian Zinfandel and a South African or Austrian Gewurztraminer - in addition to beer, bourbon, and tea.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: cackalackie

                              i also thought of gerwurztraminer -- are there "drier" ones? most of the gewurz i've had has been in dessert wines.

                              1. re: alkapal

                                I always ask for the driest one - which in the past has been South African or Californian (not Austrian like I mentioned above - my mistake).

                                A very nice reasonably-priced one is called New Gewurz (North Coast) from Alexander Valley.

                              2. re: cackalackie

                                what is your opinion of ravenswood vintner's reserve zin for this purpose?