Beer may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think typical barbecue fare, but the right wines can be amazing with smoky barbecued meats and grilled fish. Here’s our guide to finding the perfect BBQ wine for your summer festivities.
Zinfandel and Shiraz [wines-for-backyard-barbecue]
When it comes to reds for barbecue you need a wine that is not going to be overpowered by intense flavors like smoke and barbecue sauce. With fattier red meats there is no need to be afraid of tannins, as the tannic effect is softened when it reacts with the protein and cuts the fat. In this case, zinfandels are the perfect BBQ wine. This vibrant and full-bodied varietal offers hints of black cherry and black pepper. This wine does not shy away from spicy, saucy meats like ribs, but is equally well suited to chicken or burgers.
You also can’t go wrong with a shiraz or syrah for barbecue. A Northern Rhône syrah like Côte-Rôtie, Cornas,or Saint- Joseph will stand out as a flawless choice. Heavy tannins and flavors of pepper, tobacco, and berries make it the perfect accompaniment to meats, especially smoked meats. That being said, a shiraz will also be the perfect companion for portobello burgers and other vegetables.
Dry and off-dry rieslings both pair beautifully when it comes to barbeque as well. Spicy food and off-dry riesling play off each other in a way that enhances both flavor profiles. Off-dry riesling pairs especially well with barbecue chicken, grilled vegetables, and even grilled pineapple! A dry Alsatian style riesling will perfectly compliment pork dishes, sausages, and hot dogs.
People tend to shy away from chardonnay when it comes to barbecue, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Normally baked chicken and fish do not go hand in hand with chardonnay, however, changing the preparation of the meal changes its wine pairing. Grilled chicken or fish pair well with a bigger style New World chardonnay (e.g. a California Chardonnay) as they can stand up to the flavor of the charred food.
Rosé is not just perfect for summer, it also happens to be an incredible BBQ wine. Rosés should be crisp and dry with hints of summer fruits, and should always be served chilled. these wines have a bit more acidity than white wines which give them the ability to stand up to the bold grilled flavors of the food. California rosé’s have the ability to hold their own with saucier meats, but if you’re going sans sauce with fresh veggies, a Provencal style may better suit your needs.
Do you have a favorite BBQ wine? You can comment here (on our blog,) on Facebook or in the store. We are excited to hear from you!
–Pauline Fink, Staff