Is your grill clean yet? Are you ready for the first barbecue of the season?
Glad to hear it.
There's plenty of well-priced wine to go with the red meat, the chicken -- even the hot dogs once you've run out of lager. And these recommendations come in at $20 or less.
One hot dog of a wine is the 2008 Torres Coronas ($15), a gutsy crianza, which has spent a year in oak. It's a meaty, plummy, red blend from Catalunya, with tempranillo and cabernet sauvignon. Very good with burgers, too.
So's zinfandel. The 2009 Edmeades Mendocino County Zinfandel ($20) is a potent red that will stand up to the sharpest sauce. Good fruit, plus some petite sirah and syrah to even things out. The 2010 Artezin Mendocino County Zinfandel ($18), a full-bodied, easy-drinking red, has red fruit, black pepper and spice notes -- ideal with hearty dishes.
The black-fruit-driven 2009 Peter Lehmann Portrait Barossa Shiraz ($17) really works with a steak, lamb chops and, just in case, pizza with all the toppings. It also could ripen for a couple of years.
If you're grilling fish or pork or putting together an Asian or Mexican theme, try sauvignon blanc. The 2010 Mount Nelson Sauvignon Blanc ($19) from New Zealand is up to it, with hints of citrus and tropical fruit. Likewise, the Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc ($19), a zesty, medium-bodied choice, with an affinity for shrimp.