We keep getting asked about great wine and barbecue pairings. So, with spring inching closer, it’s time to remove the grill cover and clean the grates. And, yes, while sipping a cold brew over a sizzling grill is irreplaceable, I highly recommend wine be given a chance this season. Whether you’re grilling meat or produce, there are delectable vino pairings that will turn just another cookout into a lasting memory. Grilled, smoked or barbecued meat is one of those things in life that we just simply take for granted so let’s cherish it alongside a glass of wine.
Indulge me for a moment. It’s a scorching day and the sun beats down with intensity. A rack of ribs have been smoked low and slow for eleven hours and you and your friends have refused to eat anything all day so as not to spoil appetites. As you finally sit around the table and pick up your portions, the meat tenderly slips off the bone and an eruption of umami flavors bombard your palate. It’s succulent and rich with lingering smokiness, even caramelized notes are in attendance. Is a beer going to satisfy and/or enhance what you’re experiencing - probably not - but a wine with a complementary profile can and will.
Barbecue and Wine Pairings | Our Top Choices
The wines listed below are not limited to the above-mentioned dish. They will work on most red meats: juicy hamburgers, barbecued lamb or pork, standing rib roast, the list goes on and on. Word to the wise: the only key here is to moderate, even eliminate the heat component to whatever marinade or seasoning you concoct. Spicy foods do not get along with high alcohol and tannins.
If you want a ripe, fruit-driven wine exploding with freshness without entering jam-like territory, be on the lookout for the offerings from these non-flashy wineries.
Wine and Barbecue Pairing | Bigger Wines
Now I know some of you are looking for more. Something bigger, bolder, richer. A high octane wine drinking like a jam bomb that coats your tongue and makes you feel fuzzy after the first sip – or guzzle. Fear not, I’ve listed some below:
Stag’s Leap Petite Sirah – A tiny, thick-skinned grape unrelated to Syrah. It produces juicy, dark fruited wines that coat your mouth and stain your teeth. Have a toothbrush handy.
Linne Calodo “Outsider” or “Problem Child” - both are Zinfandel-heavy blends and they are done exceptionally well. Huge, brooding wines with creamy yogurt and peppery undertones.
Law Estate “Intrepid” or “Sagacious” – The former is 100% Syrah, a massive black-fruit beast. The latter is a modern take on a Chateauneuf-du-Pape, a GSM blend (Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre) that is thick like oil and richer than Bill Gates.
Wine and Barbecue Pairings | We Love Grilled Veggies Too
Hey – I haven’t forgotten you herbivores. There is always a place for grilled veggies like eggplant, artichoke, brussels, and corn. Mmm. Corn. As far as pairings go, it’s quite simple. Vegetables tend to take a sweeter, almost tangy profile when grilled so we want something that will match that without being overbearing. I tend to lean toward racy, acid driven wines that have been housed in partial oak to round out the mouthfeel, but if you want to butter up your grilled corn and slug a fully oaked and opulent Napa Chardonnay like Rombauer, Pahlmeyer, or Darioush then, by all means, go for it. You came to party and you deserve to let loose.
If, however, you are looking for a more moderate offering, check out Grgich Hills Fume Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc) or Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc if you want more richness. Don’t be afraid to play with sweetness either. An off-dry Riesling or Pinot Gris would have the acidity, body, and a touch of refreshing sweetness that would be perfect with green, grilled veggies.
If you exhaust your options or seek more adventurous pairings, feel free to drop me a line and I’ll happily recommend others. In the meantime, happy grilling and drinking. Salud!