Food Stuff

Illustration By Conrad Garcia

The neighborhood is in bloom, which is our cue to get outside and dust off the grill. Time also to look to Spain and southern France for wine inspiration. Consider carignane (“care-in-yawn”), a grape blended in many of the muscular red wines of those two wine-loving nations, and perfect with meats off the grill. Some California vintners have moved carignane to center stage, showing off the distinctive character it can achieve when handled respectfully. The Jewel Carignane Lodi 1999 (about $10) comes from low-yielding vines that deliver concentrated flavors. The winemakers have avoided the one-dimensional, jammy quality that characterizes many wines from Lodi, crafting a balanced, multi-layered vino. The wine exhibits a nose of cedar and spice and an appealing, dusty earthiness below spicy black fruit. Medium-bodied but no wimp, the wine features enough acidity to stand up to the grill. Try it with marinated lamb, barbecued ribs or peppery tri-tip.