For many years, my friend Paul and I have gathered on a Friday or Saturday night for the Three Bs: beef, booze, and bad B-movies. The definition has shifted a bit over time, with the quality of all three components increasing. Early on it might be hot dogs, Zima, and a film with the production budget equivalent to the cost of a used car. Now it's likely to involve decent wine, ribeyes, and something that at least got nominated for an Oscar, though a recent viewing of the Rutger Hauer grindhouse masterpiece Hobo With A Shotgun shows that we're always willing to enjoy the classics.
On a recent visit, the massive gourmet burgers you find on steakhouse lunch menus were on the menu. From top to bottom, my burger was as follows: bun, lettuce, tomato, Stilton, flame-grilled burger, pickles, Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, bun. Towards the end a fork and knife were necessary as the medium-rare preparation started to fall apart.
2008 Steak House Wine
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Columbia Valley, Washington
$15, 13% abv.
The wine has dominant aromas of blackberry and black cherry, medium tannins with a full fruit flavor, some smoke and coffee scents as it warms up, and a long, lingering finish. It comes from The Magnificent Wine Company, makers of this as well as Fish House (Sauvignon Blanc), House Wine (white) and House Wine (red--see below). While I'm not a fan of the label design, you can't deny that it's unique and easy to recognize. And true to its name, it is a delicious pairing with good beef.
On the next such occasion, Paul provided a pair of red wines and grabbed BBQ from the Germantown Commissary, a local joint that provides delicious 'Q in a small space. The restaurant was within walking distance of my high school and for a long time I lived and worked close enough to grab a sandwich there when I was in the mood. The movie for this night? The 1988 classic Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
2007 House Wine Red
Columbia Valley, Washington
32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Syrah, 30% Merlot, 3% Malbec, 2% Zinfandel, 1% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petite Verdot
$12, 13.5% abv.
Nose of blueberry and blackberry. Mild fruit profile with a light body and brief but present tannins. Fun flavor for such a broad range of grapes. Nice finish, and it held up well with the pulled pork.
One thing I've always loved to do is eat the sandwich over the beans. Over a few bites enough stray pork will fall in to make the slow-cooked beans even better. Hot sauce is also a must, but tragically interferes with enjoyment of a soft red wine like this. If you like your BBQ spicy, a sparkling wine is often a great choice.
After dinner with cleared palates, there was also the option to try a wine that Paul had opened up the previous night, a higher end Napa selection.
2008 Black Stallion Cabernet Sauvignon
$65, 14.5% abv.
Leather, licorice, coffee, black cherry, a touch of cigar and beautiful balance. The tannins have mellowed out well, though I imagine the wine would continue to improve for the next few years. Highly recommended if you get a chance.