Rosenblum Cellars Zinfandel and Hearty Barbecue Make Perfect Summer Partners

Pairing the zesty flavors of barbecue with the spicy, fruity notes of Zinfandel varietals takes grilling from routine to remarkable.

This summer, fire up the coals, pull out the corkscrew and see for yourself how a hearty glass of Zinfandel from Rosenblum Cellars pairs perfectly with barbecued fare. The award-winning Alameda winery produces more than 25 different Zinfandels or Zin blends, each with a distinctive profile of bold fruit and spice with robust tannins. Zinfandel’s jammy, luscious character highlights the smoky char and tangy sauce of barbecue, and stands up to even the spiciest of marinades, whether your secret recipe hails from Texas, Tennessee or your own backyard.

At the urban winery tasting room just a ferry ride across the bay from San Francisco, pairing barbecue and Zinfandel has long been part of the Rosenblum Cellars culture and tradition. The winery even has an in-house barbecue specialist, Grill Master Sid Stafford. At harvest time, or any time the crew feels like breaking out the custom-made grill and smoker, Grill Master Sid selects several bottles of Zinfandel to pour the moment the meat hits the table.

His favorites? Try the Rosenblum Cellars Vintners Cuvee Zinfandel, or the juicy Rosenblum Paso Robles Zinfandel, or for a special gathering splurge on a bottle of intense Rosenblum Cellars Rockpile Zinfandel.

At various Rosenblum Cellars events, Grill Master Sid can be seen teaching Zinfanatics how to enhance their barbecue skills with lessons on how to marinate with a dry or wet spice rub. At his in-house “rubinars,” he teaches participants how to mix custom spice blends to enhance grilled poultry, pork or beef – even Shitake mushrooms.

Try it yourself. Spice rubs such as the five-pepper blend, below, add fiery flavor to hamburgers or steak – for a zip that’s best paired with the bold, robust fruitiness of Zinfandel.

Super Special Spicy Five-pepper Paste for Beef


Makes about three tablespoons of rub, enough for about two pounds of hamburger or steaks.

  • 1 Tablespoon coarsely ground black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon liquid hot pepper sauce


In a small bowl, combine the black, white and cayenne peppers. Stir in the minced jalapeño, honey and liquid pepper sauce until blended. Spread onto beef and let stand 15 minutes at room temperature, or up to 2 hours refrigerated.

Note: For freshest flavor, use a pepper mill to grind whole peppercorns as needed.

To reduce the heat of jalapenos, remove the seeds and ribs before use. To seed, cut off stem end; slice pod open; scrape out seeds with a small spoon or knife. Rinse under cold running water and pat dry.

About Rosenblum Cellars

Founded in 1978, Rosenblum Cellars grew from a home-winemaking operation into today’s internationally recognized, and locally revered, enological enterprise. Devoted to Zinfandel and Rhone varietals, and dedicated to making wine lots of fun, Rosenblum Cellars has developed a large and loyal following. Wine club members attend the club’s many events — wine tastings, cruises and open houses that feature 40 wines, food, live music — and even seminars on wine-friendly cooking. Rosenblum Cellars is part of Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines.

© 2011 Rosenblum Cellars, Napa. CA. Please enjoy our fine wines responsibly