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Many of the old vines of Lodi produce a big sun-ripened zin that can be very dark and sweeter than most and give a big mouthful of berry fruit from black to loganberry. These are a perfect match for much of which I have tasted throughout Asia. As the sesame oil of Japan on their barbecue can add a new direction in your pallet with zinfandel, the spiciness of the Hoison-style ribs of Singapore duels wonderfully in your mouth up against all the big berry fruit.

Over to the east and up in the Sierra foothills, we get some of the first vines planted in the state and remarkable old-vine results. This region, home to the 100-plus-year-old vines of the gorgeous Cloud 9 Zinfandel, beckons you get to a good outdoor grilled burger in any of the old mining towns that adorn the base of this majestic mountain range. Take in some mountain and feast with a big sip to follow.

In the legendary Sonoma Valley, home to some very old-vine zins, we work into our applications an American style, old-fashioned barbecue sauce. Sure, we?ll throw in some grilled lamb, zucchini, and asparagus with our spareribs but this is where we need to add grandma?s homemade barbecue sauce to our spareribs and blackened chicken. This heavier, citrusy-orange sauce (you can find usable versions in local grocery stores) is easily made into a kissing cousin with the amazing zins from, for example, the Pagani vineyards.

Trekking north and west into the Russian River Valley or Dry Creek Valleys, curious barbecue zin enthusiasts will encounter yet another platform of what zinfandel has to offer in its incredible versatility. Amazingly deep and silky cherry fruit characteristics from the Russian River Valley and the unique creaminess of zins from Dry Creek like Acorn highlight this part of the state. Other beauties include Robert Rue, Sapphire Hill and the very allocated Lake Sonoma Russian River Zin. This picnic table shall be adorned with ribs with a more fruit-base barbecue sauce, spicy chicken kabobs, and one of our favorites, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus with, yes, a touch of Old Bay Spice and grilled to perfection.

Fortunately, we have both the ability and access to all the different methods and ingredients for these recipes from Singapore to Japan to Hungary ? all just outside our back door. Barbecue is easy and with a little effort you can capture styles made around the world in your own backyard ? or across the street at you best friend?s house. With this, we are blessed with the ever-so-versatile and vagabond of grapes, zinfandel, made in so many different ways and available everywhere. On top of that, a good zinfandel, whether it be from the valley, the foothills, Sonoma, Dry Creek or the Russian River, is very affordable.

(Jason Jenkins and Christopher Sawyer are the co-owners of Vine and Barrel, a wine shop at 143 Kentucky St. They offer Wednesday night wine education classes from 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturday tastings from 4 to 7 p.m. They can be contacted at 765-1112. Their Web site is www.vineandbarrel.com)

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