Shannon Ridge High Elevation Zinfandel
Written by: Kendall W.
Thanks to Zinfandel’s popularity both for home wine making and as communion wine, many vines were able to survive prohibition, leading to the abundance of “Old Vine” Zins. These low yielding vines produce wines that are complex and elegant.
Shannon Ridge is a family owned vineyard and winery, founded in 2001 in Lake County California. Located on the southeast edge of the High Valley, the vineyards sit at elevations from 1200 to 2400 feet. The Winemakers are passionate about preserving the land so they have integrated a flock of sheep that clean the vineyards, remove excess canopy, reduce the need for chemicals all while providing natural fertilizer.
Joy Merrilees the director of wine making has been making wine since 2002. After graduating from Humboldt State with a degree in plant science, she then moved across the globe to New Zealand and studied the wine industry for a year at Lincoln University before returning home and honing her skills under Jed Steele, an Iconic California Winemaker. She has spent time making wine in Willamette Valley Oregon, Marlborough, New Zealand and Margaret River in Australia. She is continually educating herself at UC Davis and Sonoma State University in California.
The High Elevation Collection is a blend of three appellations within Lake County. It consists of High Valley, Red Hills and Big Valley. Each appellation contributes its own unique characteristics. Juicy fruits of blackberry and cherry, with hints of herbs and spices and sweet oak notes are the essential components of this wine.
This wine pairs great with Burgers, Lasagna, and BBQ. My favorite recipe to pair with it is some BBQ Ribs on the grill. For a great backyard BBQ, grab some Shannon Ridge High Elevation Zinfandel and pair it with this recipe for Bourbon Whiskey BBQ Sauce Ribs!
- 2 racks of pork Loin Back ribs
- Apple juice
- For the Dry Rub
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon dry yellow mustard
- 2 teaspoons pepper
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- For the Bourbon Whiskey Sauce
- 2 cups ketchup
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup cola (Coke or Pepsi)
- ¾ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup Bourbon whiskey (Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam)
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 2 teaspoon granulated onion
- 1 teaspoon dry yellow mustard
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- To make the dry rub in a medium sized bowl add the brown sugar, salt, mustard, pepper and garlic. Mix to combine well.
- Peel the membrane off from the back of the ribs. Apply an even coat of the dry rub to the back and top of the ribs. Cover and let rest for at least 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
- To make the Bourbon Whisky BBQ sauce, in a medium sized stock pot over medium heat, add the ketchup, Worcestershire, cola, vinegar, brown sugar, bourbon, tomato paste, espresso powder, garlic, onion, mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine well. When the mixture begins to bubble, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 1½ -2 hours or until sauce begins to thicken.
- Cooking option one: Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Place the ribs, bone side down on a cookie sheet. Pour ¾-1 cup of apple juice to bottom of pan. Cover tightly with tin foil and place in oven. Bake for 1½-2 hours or until the internal temperature of the ribs reaches 201 degrees.
- Baste the ribs liberally on both sides with the sauce. Transfer to a preheated grill bone side down. Cook for about 10 minutes per side. Baste again a repeat one or two more times or until you have reached the perfect BBQ crust to your liking. Let sit for 10 minutes. Cut the ribs into serving sizes to your liking and serve with additional sauce.
- Cooking option two: Preheat your smoker to 180 degrees. Place the ribs, bone side down and smoke for 3 hours. Spray the ribs every 45 minutes or so with apple juice.
- Remove from smoker and raise the temperature to 225 degrees. While the grill is heating up, place the smoked ribs on a large cookie sheet and place about ¾ of apple juice in the bottom of the pan. Cover tightly with foil and place back on the grill. Cook for 2 hours. Remove from heat.
- Raise temperature on grill to 350 degrees. Liberally coat the ribs with the sauce and transfer to a preheated grill bone side down. Cook for about 10 minutes per side. Baste again a repeat one or two more times or until you have reached the perfect BBQ crust to your liking. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Cut the ribs into serving sizes to your liking and serve with additional sauce.