With summer just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about barbecues. While many people think beer when they think barbecue, I think wine! So the focus of today’s article is what wines go best with barbeques.
Guidelines for Choosing Great Barbecue Wines
Let’s start with a wonderful quote from Adam Perry Lang, owner of Daisy May’s BBQ USA in New York City. He says, “Wine is to barbecue what pickled ginger is to sushi—a palate cleanser.”
When you think of a palate cleanser, you think crisp, acidic and refreshing. Sparkling Wine fits the bill perfectly here, as do some acidic whites like Sauvignon Blanc and a dry Riesling.
Let’s follow Lang’s quote up with three rules from Wine Folly. They recommend that we:
- Look for a beer substitute – again, think Sparkling Wine;
- Chill everything – chilling a red brings out the fruitiness, which is a very good thing at a hot summer barbecue;
- Go cheap – you don’t want to force people to think harder than they need to at a casual summer get together.
Best Reds for Your Barbecues
If the weather isn’t too hot, Syrah and Zinfandel are two of the best red barbecue wines. According to Alexis Beltrami, you want “a young, bold, fruity and spicy red wine.” Syrah and Zinfandel, with their respective smokiness and pepper notes, are perfect here.
If you’re grilling steaks, you can go for a wider ranger of reds, including Cabernets. But if the weather is too hot, you run the risk of losing the wine’s aromas and having an un-refreshing experience.
Best Non-reds for Your Barbecues
According to Dick Rosano, “Sparkling wines beat the heat and play well with almost any grilled food. Stick to the quaffable wines like Prosecco or Cava, or maybe a light-bodied California bubbly, and leave the vintage Champagne in the cellar.”
If you’re not doing sparkling, go with a high acidity wine like Sauvignon Blanc or dry Riesling. If you’re serving fattier fish, a Chardonnay works well too.
Rosano also recommends Rosés, saying that they “add lift and ‘spirit’ to casual outdoor gatherings. Served brisk and cool, these wines have a bit more acidity than white wines to battle the grilled flavors of the food.”
Here’s to a delicious summer filled with barbeques, family, friends, good cheer, good fireworks, good food and good wine!
As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, would like to host a tasting, seek a special gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!
Betty Kaufman, WineShop At Home
Not to contradict Mr. Rosano (who certainly knows a lot more about wine than I do), but the description of rosés as more acidic than whites seems like an accidental misstatement. Red wines are generally less acidic than whites, not more. Rosés fall in between the two, i.e. less acidic than whites but more than reds.
But I certainly agree with his overall point – I enjoy rosés very much with BBQ and any other grilled dishes.
Yeah, I agree with you. But I liked his recommendation enough to include his quote 🙂