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By Jackie Liu

Today, we’re launching a platform for our team members to write about basically anything they want. Let me explain why this matters…

We, the team at The Pollack Group, have so much more to share about our lives, personalities, and interests than what you read on our LinkedIn profiles. Some of us blog on the side; others do so under a pseudonym while maintaining successful careers. We have spouses, significant others, kids, parents and pets that shape us, drive us crazy, and love us in spite of our faults. We are musicians, novelists, gamers and artists. We have famous relatives. One of us used to be neighbors with Micky Dolenz.

Now more than ever, we need to elevate and celebrate diverse voices and lifestyles, but we will let our team members decide for themselves what they wish to share. I’m confident you’ll enjoy reading this group’s sharp and smart observations about a wider range of topics than we ever thought possible. I’ll spare you the suspense; I’ll be writing mostly about wine.

Last week, the husband took a “digital detox” from Instagram but ended his moratorium to post about his new smoker, a Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker 18. We’ve been watching way too much “Man Fire Food” on the Cooking Channel and because of COVID-19, our grocery shopping habits have changed slightly. Like many others, we worried about possible meat shortages so we started buying pork directly from Peads & Barnetts and we’ve never looked back. So we broke in the smoker with a rack of St. Louis-style ribs rubbed with John Henry’s Pecan Rub. We also wrangled a 13-pound brisket from a friend with a Costco membership.

You can drink just about any kind of red wine with grilled meats, but some pairings are tailor-made. For example, Santa Maria-style tri-tip pairs perfectly with a Central Coast pinot noir. It’s a leaner cut of meat so it works with a lighter-bodied red wine, but there’s enough fat to marry with the acidity. Also, it’s delicious. Should you find your way to The Hitching Post II restaurant in Buellton, California, you won’t be sorry.

I like my ribs with zinfandel and no one has ever been disappointed by Ridge Vineyards East Bench, which is 100% zin, affordably priced, and drinks much ‘bigger’ than pinot noir. It has an elegant quality that makes your meal feel much more expensive. It also makes an excellent wine for marinades and sauces. Our smoked brisket was seasoned with salt and pepper only and the high fat content was ideal for a Bolgheri wine, an Italian wine that’s usually based on the Bordeaux grape varieties. These are bold, tannic wines that can age for decades and stand up to fatty, savory meat dishes. Give it a try!