(Four minute read)

The time for barbeques and gatherings has arrived, or at least is fast approaching depending upon what part of the country you’re in. Pairing simple foods with wine is always hard. The easiest meals to assemble often pack a punch on the flavor scale, yet can be easily drowned-out by a bad wine-pairing. We talked to Oak Ridge Winery about its edgier label, OZV, and how to make the right wine the kind of friend everyone is glad you brought along.

Photo by Paul Herman @plhrmnn

Fruit Salad + OZV 2018 Rosé

Maybe it’s the rose petals, or the hint of strawberry that you find in OZV’s 2018 Rosé that makes me want to pair this wine with a strawberry-melon summer salad. It could equally be the cranberry or pink grapefruit that lands gently on your palate that inspires me. Whatever it is, this wine which, by the way, retails for only $12, is the perfect fruit salad accompaniment.

OZV’s 2018 Rosé contributes to the fresh fruit experience. It doesn’t battle the fruit with contrary notes. Instead it matches up, without building on sweetness or sugar. This combo just works! Next time you bring the fruit salad, manage the pairing too, or even better let someone else bring the fruit salad and you score points for showing with the perfect wine.

Photo by Paul Herman @plhrmnn

Grilled Steak Salad + OZV 2016 Red Blend

The grill isn’t all about hamburgers and drumsticks. Char some prime steak, mixed it up with some leaves, olive oil, avocado and sesame seeds and you’ve got something healthy and light that you can munch on. The task? Finding a fresh wine, big enough to handle the steak but smooth and subtle enough to allow the other, lighter flavors to come through.

OZV’s 2016 Red Blend is a Zinfandel with cherry, blackberry and jam-like fruit that can stand up to a tasty steak but its soft tannins won’t drown out the salad part of the meal. If you’re going to a barbeque pick up a bottle of this at Total Wine or BevMo on your way. The best news—it’s only $15.

Photo by Miguel Andrade @sr_taquito

Street Tacos + OZV 2017 Zinfandel

The sublime balanced acidity and soft tannins of OZV’s 2016 Zinfandel make this our top pick for pairing with good old street tacos. Chicken, pork or beef, guac, onions and cilantro are simple ingredients, but together they pack a lot of flavor. OZV’s 2016 Zinfandel is as balanced as this Mexican staple, and seems to draw out the guacamole and cilantro flavors while maintaining its own notes of raspberry and blackberry.

This is one of those super handy wines to have at the ready, and for only $13 per bottle you can easily buy a few to keep on standby. We also loved this wine with pork chops, taco dip, chile, black beans and anything including chorizo.

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