The tag line on Sledgehammer Wine’s website reads: “No Sipping” and “No Swirling”. To a wine snob (like me), the concept of a ‘quaffing wine’ may at first appear to be a mortal sin. Wine is to be appreciated, revered, and admired-to ask us not to ‘sip or swirl’ is like turning filet mignon into chopped steak.
However, with a bottle of both their Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel in hand, my sense of humor took over and curiosity was piqued. Sledgehammer website is worth a look for it’s comedic value, but the comedy ends when it comes to wine making and producing a quality product.
Inspired by the sheer ‘manliness’ promoted on the website, we paired both wines with the manliest of meats. Is there anything more manly than a T-bone steak? How about some baby back pork ribs?
All we needed now was a pit for fire, some sticks, and perhaps a club to defeat our prey. With all of those being rather difficult to procure, we opted for the grill on the back patio.
Our meat of choice was a T-bone steak, marbled nicely, and fresh from the butcher.
I grilled the steaks at 700 degrees on an infrared grill, shirt off (ok, not really) and a glass of the Sledgehammer Cabernet in my hand. Infrared grills are an amazing method of cooking delicious meats and if you are interested in having one of your own, you can check out a website for them to make this a reality. The ‘women folk’ requested a vegetable along with the T-bones, so I threw a few asparagus on the grill. Grilled asparagus are a perfect side, simply seasoned with salt, pepper, and crushed garlic. They also hold up to high heat well-this makes a manly choice in my book.
This Sledgehammer Cabernet was fruit forward and had some spice notes on the nose. It was structured, full bodied, and well balanced. For the price (under $12.99 retail), this is a good Cabernet wine-not over the top fruity or candied. It was very smooth, drinkable and can be enjoyed sans hunks of meat. The finish is semi-dry, and when eating a well marbled steak typically I prefer something more dry. Next time, I’d pair a filet mignon with this smooth, rich, well balanced cabernet.
It took about a week and a half of eating fish, chicken, and salads before the woman in my life was in the mood for my cocoa rubbed BBQ baby back ribs, paired with Sledgehammer’s Zinfandel.
Holy cow, this was such a great pairing! I really enjoyed this zinfandel. It has hints of pepper, black cherry, blackberry and some vanilla as well from the six months aging in oak. This paired perfectly with the cocoa and spice dry rub on the ribs.
It has a strong bold finish that stood up the the fattiness of the ribs. I really enjoyed taking a sip this wine and a bite of the caramelized dry rub, and home made BBQ sauce I basted on the ribs. Sorry Sledgehammer, I did indeed sip it. However I made a huge manly mess eating those ribs, and practically ate the whole rack myself.
I recommend decanting this wine, because my girlfriend noted that it tasted even better the next day as she finished what was left in the bottle.
It seems to me that Sledgehammer is heavily marketing their wines towards men, women will also enjoy these wines just as much as the rest of us. So guys, keep Sledgehammer wines on hand to pour for your ladies, but unless you look like Daniel Craig, you might want to keep the shirt on.
Well played Sledgehammer, well played.
Photo credits: BeSportier.com, and Flickr.