Remember when celebrity super couples had super cute nicknames? Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck became “Bennifer,” as did Ben Affleck and his second Jen, Jennifer Garner (kind of weird, when you think about that, now). Until very recently, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie ruled the red carpet as “Brangelina.” Well, did you know that Paso Robles has its own super couple? Enter: Brock and Michelle Waterman, aka “Brochelle.” Together, these two passionate winemakers and farmers craft über small lot wines with Old World elegance.
Located on 20 acres of steep West Paso hillside, Brochelle Vineyard enjoys warm days, cool nights, and plenty of love from its doting parents. The winery’s 2015 zinfandel is a perfect example of the Watermans’ deep love of crafting simple, pure wines that shine with natural character. This zin (perfect for spring and summer barbecues) showcases a fantastic 2015 harvest that brought forth deliciously ripe fruit. The wine opens up with herbal aromas of pink peppercorn and dried sage and features a lush, full-bodied texture. Be prepared to experience layers upon layers of flavor and aromas, luring you in with softer scents of rose petals and creamy vanilla. Time in the glass will unleash cranberry notes and the exotic fragrance of baking spices.
Of course, don’t take the tasting notes at face value. Try this bottle for yourself with a rack of baby back ribs or a burger. As “Brochelle” is known to say, “Grapes are always encouraged to speak for themselves, and if you treat them with the utmost of care, they will always quietly reveal from where they came.”
• Brochelle Vineyards 2015 Zinfandel—$35 a bottle; brochelle.com.
DIY zinfandel barbecue sauce
Need a fun barbecue sauce to match that easy drinking zinfandel?
I love Food and Wine’s recipe by Steven Raichen, which actually features a drizzle of zinfandel in the mix. Here’s the lowdown: Melt 5 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan and add a few handfuls of chopped shallots and garlic cloves (the more, the better, if you ask me). Let those aromatics dazzle your nose as they brown, stirring frequently. Splash in just under 3 cups of zinfandel and bring it to all to a rapid boil. Allow this mix to reduce until the contents shrink to about half a cup liquid. Now, turn down the heat and add a cup of ketchup, 1/4 cup brown sugar to taste, and about 1/4 cup honey. Let simmer five minutes, then add a few tablespoons more wine and let it go for another five minutes. A few cranks of black pepper, a pinch of salt, and a dash of liquid smoke finishes off this finger-licking sauce.
Extra credit: Snag some wet naps from your fave barbecue joint so you don’t get that wine glass all sticky.
Hayley Thomas Cain is looking for a wet nap. Send picks to firstname.lastname@example.org.