Harney Lane – When Big Flavors Need Big Wines

Big food flavors call for equally bold wines!

Tender Minnesota Palates Sometimes Call for Big Flavors
For my personal tastes, I tend toward elegance, subtle flavors. I’m an old world (approach) wine lover first and foremost. I don’t cook a lot of super spicy foods, or big 3 layer hamburgers with cheese and chili and bacon and and and…..

Low and slow, smoke and heat makes for juicy, tender ribs. Yum!

HOWEVER, I do love slow smoked barbecued pork in all its’ incarnations. The ribs spend the entire afternoon smoking away at a low temperature. We finish them with a typical American sweet/spicy tomato based barbecue sauce. At these times, a subtle, elegant wine will just get lost. Enter Lodi and Harney Lane.

Harney Lane Winery in Lodi
We visited Harney Lane during the 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference (now Wine Media Conference). We learned so much about Lodi Wine during the conference. Throughout California, wineries are pulling out old vines, to replant with more profitable varieties. Lodi is one region standing strong, keeping and defending old vines. Wineries like Harney Lane are doing what it takes to preserve and indeed, celebrate the wonderful wines possible from centenarian vines. We toured the Lizzie James Vineyard during our visit, the same vineyard source for the wine we’ll be enjoying with our ribs today.

(click on any photo for a full size slide show, hit “escape” to return to the post)

Disclosure: Harney Lane provided these wines as samples. No other compensation was provided, all opinions expressed are mine.

Harney Lane Old Vine Zinfandel "Lizzy James Vineyard" 2015

Harney Lane Old Vine Zinfandel “Lizzy James Vineyard” 2015

Harney Lane Old Vine Zinfandel Lizzy James Vineyard 2015 Lodi, CA (sample, $36 SRP or online here)
15.7% abv, whoa! The Lizzy James vineyard was planted in 1904, and the vines are still producing today.
Eye: Clear, medium ruby with a cool, purple edge. Colored viscous legs
Nose: Clean, medium intensity. Dark, brambly fruits: ripe blueberry and blackberry. Fresh herbal background, like being out in the garden trimming back the bushes. Oak influence is there, but well controlled, with vanilla and baking spices behind the fruit. I so appreciate a light hand on the oak, thank you Harney Lane!
Mouth: Dry with medium+ intensity flavors. Medium acidity, medium- tannins. Full body, high alcohol although it doesn’t read as “hot” to me. Nice, medium+ length finish. A nice choice with smoked ribs dressed in a sweet/spicy barbecue sauce. A good partner for foods full of sweetness, spice and big, big flavors.

Harney Lane Lodi Chardonnay 2017

Harney Lane Lodi Chardonnay 2017

Harney Lane Chardonnay Lodi, CA 2017 (sample, $28 SRP or online here)
14.5% abv
Eye: Clear, medium lemon with green highlights, viscous legs
Nose: Clean, medium intensity. Aromas of ripe tropical fruits: pineapple, cantaloupe, with nicely controlled touches of vanilla in the background.
Mouth: Dry, medium+ intensity flavors. Medium acidity, full body, high alcohol (though not “hot”). Flavors of ripe tropical fruit, pineapple, cantaloupe, peach, with rich texture and a bit of vanilla. While it’s a big bodied wine, it’s not overly buttery. Like the Zinfandel, a big wine, but nice restraint with the buttery character and oak. A nice choice with big flavors of BBQ ribs. I thought it was at least as good a pairing as the Zinfandel.

American Barbecue with Harney Lane Wines
Smoky pork ribs slathered in a spicy/sweet barbecue sauce call for big flavors in the wine, and Harney Lane delivers. Thankfully, both the Zinfandel and the Chardonnay winemaking exercised restraint in the new oak. The flavors were big, but authentic to the grapes in a warm climate. Both wines were at home with the big flavors of meat, smoke, and sweet/spicy tomato based barbecue sauce.

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