Summer Wines With Memphis Style Slow Smoked Ribs #WinePW

Primo grill with ribs and Famiglia Meschni red wine

A relaxing summer evening with the grill and a beverage

Summertime and the Grillin’s Easy
Our Wine Pairing Weekend assignment this month was a natural for the summer, the grill. Take a look at all the other enthusiastic grilling posts farther down on this page! My #WinePW buddies always have some great ideas to share.

Truth be told, I grill year-round. However, in the summertime, it is SO MUCH EASIER! No shoveling off the deck, no putting on a jacket and boots to simply go out and check on the grill. On the other hand, no mosquitoes in the winter, hmmm…..

Primo Ceramic Grill in the Minnesota winter

I grill year-round, but I don’t miss this when summer rolls around!

In the summer, grilling is a whole different sport. One can set up the grill for a long, slow smoking session, along with an easy chair, a suitable beverage, music playing on the outdoor speakers, and you’re set for a relaxing afternoon. Topped off with a moonlit dinner, what more could you want?

Sunshine Harvest Farms smoked pork ribs

Memphis style ribs involve a tomato based spicy-sweet sauce in addition to any dry rub used on the ribs

Memphis Style Smoked Ribs
There are a variety of spices and sauces within the lexicon of American barbecued pork ribs. Memphis style typically means pork smoked slowly at low temperature with a dry rub. Rubs generally involve a combination of sweet and spicy. The ribs can be left dry or finished with a tomato and vinegar sauce with some sweetness. Even dry ribs can be served with the same sweet/spicy sauce on the side.

Primo grill smoking food

Slow smoked at 250° F is the ticket!

Wine Pairing with Memphis Style Ribs
As much as I love old world style wines (bone dry and savory more than fruity), I have found they are simply a mismatch with sweet & spicy American barbecue. For sweet & spicy ribs, I lean heavily on Argentine reds and American Zinfandel. Their rich flavors, bold fruit and moderate tannins make them a great match.  I am careful to serve them with just a touch of a chill, not cold, just a bit cooler than room temperature.

Trediberri rosato and Famiglia Meschini Pacifico red blend wines

You have a variety of good wine choices for those BBQ ribs

Sometimes, though, it’s just too hot for red wine, and then I pull out the rosé. Bright fruit and lively, refreshing acidity just seems right on a hot summer night. I think about pairing the wine more with the coleslaw and corn as compared to matching the ribs. It doesn’t hurt to have a rosé a bit deeper in color and fruit than a typical Provençal rosé, and many Italy rosatos take this approach.

Our choices today both tasted great at dinner, with some similarities and some differences. Both featured bold fruit flavors, which was a nice match to the sweet & spicy ribs. The rosato offered bright, crisp refreshment to offset the rich, meaty ribs. The bold flavors in the red wine highlighted the rich meatiness of the ribs.  Try serving one of each at your next barbecue!

Famiglia Meschini Wines
We think of Famiglia Meschini as our local Argentine/Italian heritage winery here in Minnesota, quite a convoluted story! The Meschini family had emigrated from Italy after the world wars to Argentina, where they made wine. Eugenio Meschini, son of Pacifico, came to Minnesota for college, where he met his love, married and settled in Minnesota. So, while Eugenio and his family live in Minneapolis, they own vineyards in both Argentina and Chile.

Teresa and Eugenio Meschini

Teresa and Eugenio Meschini at a recent wine dinner in Minneapolis

The Pacifico is a limited edition wine – only 100 cases produced – named in honor of Eugenio’s “Papa” Pacifico Meschini. It’s a blend of Cabernet, Malbec, Syrah and Tannat. While it is ripe, it isn’t as ripe and rich as many typical Argentine reds, probably why I like it so much!

Famiglia Meschini Pacifico Malbec blend

This is Famiglia Meschini’s flagship blend, Pacifico


Famiglia Meschini “Pacifico” Gran Reserva Blend 2012 ($30 at South Lyndale Liquors)
Eye: Clear, deep ruby with a warm toned edge.
Nose: Clean, medium intensity, ripe black fruit, blackberries, ripe plums. Stops short of being raisiny or overripe. Black pepper and a little smoke. Not overtly oaky.
Mouth: Dry, medium acidity, medium tannins. Deep, ripe black fruit, verging on sweetness but not sweet. The oak came out in a very nice way in the presence of the sweet BBQ sauce and meaty ribs.

Nick Oberto of Trediberri showing vineyard techniques

Nick Oberto showing Julie the finer points of dropping fruit a few weeks before harvest

Trediberri Wines
Our friend Nicola (Nick) Oberto is one of the principals in the Trediberri winery in La Morra, in the heart of the Barolo wine region in Italy. If you snoop around this blog, you’ll see they are one of our favorite Langhe region winegrowers. In addition to bringing wines back from our trip to the region, I have been able to order their wines regularly from the east coast. Imagine my surprise when I found their rosato in a local shop in Minneapolis this spring, what a treat!

Trediberri Rosato from our friends in La Morra

Trediberri Rosata 2016 ($17 at France 44)
This is a rosato made from Nebbiolo and Barbera grapes, spending about 12 hours on the skins before being pressed off for fermentation.

Eye: Clear, bright strawberry pink color.
Nose: Clean, medium+ intensity. Fresh flowers and barely ripe strawberries
Mouth: Dry, medium+ acidity, medium- body. Bright under-ripe strawberry flavors, very fruity and refreshing. The fruit balances the acidity very nicely.

Smoked ribs, Primo Grill, and two wines to pair

Even though the corn isn’t local (Florida), we can’t resist as soon as the warm weather arrives! Ribs, slaw, beans and corn just shouts SUMMER! in Minnesota.

See What the Wine Pairing Weekend Crew Has Going on the Grill This Weekend
Take a look at all the great ideas for wine pairing at the grill, I’m sure you find something to try.  If you see this post in time, please join our chat on Twitter on Saturday, June 10 at 10am. Just search on #WinePW.

smoked ribs with classic summer sides

4 hour smoked ribs with classic sides for a Minnesota summer dinner

Slow Smoked Pork Ribs

Having just acquired a grill well designed for low and slow barbecue last year, I still consider myself a novice. I have not started the process of creating my own rubs and sauces, so you can feel free to use your tried and true. Note that you can make ribs on just about any type of grill. You just need to learn how to set up indirect heat at a relatively low temperature.

Here’s the rub I use: NMT basic BBQ rub  and my sauce is from the grocery store: Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue sauce


  • 2-4 racks of ribs, depending on the size and cut, and how hungry your crowd is.
  • Kosher salt
  • Mustard
  • BBQ rub of your choice
  • 8 oz. apple juice
  • BBQ sauce of your choice – you’ll want a sweet red or sweet & spicy red sauce


  • Several hours to the day before:
  • Remove any silverskin from the outside of the ribs
  • Salt the ribs, cover loosely and place in the refrigerator for a few hours up to overnight.
  • Day of the cook (about 5 hours in advance of meal time):
  • Rub a thin coat of mustard over the surface of the ribs, this allows the rub to stick
  • Apply the rub to the ribs, sprinkling generously over both sides
  • Preheat your grill for indirect heat and 250° F
  • Place the ribs on the grill, either flat or in a rack. Turn or move them every 30 minutes
  • After 2 hours, remove the ribs from the grill
  • Wrap each rack of ribs in a double layer of aluminum foil. Before sealing the foil, pour in about 2 ounces of apple juice into each rack packet.
  • Return the ribs to the grill for 1 hour
  • For the final hour, remove the ribs from foil and return to the grill. Baste with barbecue sauce during the final 30 minutes if you want “wet” ribs.
  • Total time on the grill: about 4 hours.
  • Serve with your favorite summer sides and enjoy!

Wines to pair with slow smoked ribs details at


16 Responses to “Summer Wines With Memphis Style Slow Smoked Ribs #WinePW”
  1. lgowdy says:

    You are a grill monster! Interesting story about the Meschini family. And the Trediberri Rosé, and other wines (I peeked at their website!)- have to put them on our list for an upcoming visit.

    • Monster – yes! Like many overgrown boys, I have a permanent fascination with fire. If you go to the Langhe, please do visit Trediberri and send my regards to Nick!

  2. Jeff, another outstanding post. Thanks for joining me this month. I always learn something – many things, often – new from you. And you always make me want to stick a fork in my monitor. Cheers!

  3. Now I’m hungry for ribs. I totally agree with you about Zinfandel and ribs with sauce. Cheers!

  4. Wendy Klik says:

    Oh my…..what a perfect dinner.

  5. Looks delicious Jeff. I am not a rib eater but I think your wine pairings are on point. Love that you have your own Argentinian wine maker right in Minnesota. I also love your River Burch tree in the background. I am a sucker for trees!

    • Thanks, Michelle. I always smile thinking of our local Argentinian/Italian/Minnesotan winemaker! The river birches are also a favorite of mine – fast growing!

  6. Jill Barth says:

    I have set aside smoked foods for restaurants & lucky invites…we don’t have a smoker, but I would love to try this and in fact have ribs in the freezer.

    Great pairing and superb photos as always! Cheers Jeff!

  7. crynning says:

    What outstanding wine choices to pair with your amazing rib recipe! Thanks, Jeff!

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