Summer is one of the best times for relaxed entertaining, whether you are hosting a neighbourhood cookout or an intimate gathering for a few friends. While beer has long been the drink of choice for summer BBQs, why not add a little extra class to your next party with some great chilled wine?
Whether you’re having a vegetarian cookout or reveling in grilled meats with steak and burgers, it’s not hard to find a great wine to go with any BBQ. Your best bet is to choose something fruity and light, though don’t be afraid to go with a hearty red with your next steak or burger.
In general, choose sweeter wines to go with spicy foods and crisp, tart wines to pair with sweeter BBQ sauces. Cheaper bottles work great with BBQ, as the heavy barbecue flavours go well with inexpensive wines.
We’ve highlighted six choices that taste great chilled (except the Shiraz) and are bold and versatile enough to pair with ribs, salmon burgers, hot dogs, or anything else you want to serve. Even better, they’re all moderately priced so you won’t be afraid to uncork another bottle.
Rosé is the emblematic wine of summer. These blush coloured refreshing wines are best served ice cold. This fruity Canadian rosé offers flavours of cranberry, strawberry, and cherry. It is medium bodied but with a slight acidity that adds a sense of freshness. The finish is dry and the nose offers an aroma of raspberries.
Some Chardonnays are too oaky and heavy for summer grilling, but this one is just perfect. Another fruity choice, with flavours of cantaloupe, pineapple, and lime, this wine is fantastic with grilled vegetables. Pair with veggie kebabs, grilled zucchini, and aubergine. It’s also good with chicken or seafood.
This blend of Grillo and Viognier grapes from Sicily tastes wonderful with seafood, especially a meaty fish like swordfish. Grillo grapes offer an intense flavour combination of mango, stone fruit, and white flower. Viognier is a little oaky and more subtle, with hints of citrus, apricots, and peaches. Together you get a flavour combination that pops.
Give this light, refreshing wine a spin next time you’ve got burgers on the grill. Made from the Gamay grape grown in southern France, beaujolais is earthy but with a fresh berry flavour, making it the perfect pairing for a seared beef patty.
Terras Gauda 2013 Abadia de San Campio Albarino
We’ve talked about Italian, U.S., and French wines, but we can’t forget the fabulous Spanish whites. Albarino grapes produce an intense flavour and aromatic intensity, with notes of peach and apricot. It also has hints of apple and pear to cut the sweetness and add an invigorating freshness. It’s good with just about any kind of BBQ, but especially delicious with chicken.
This Australian Shiraz offers a combination of fruitiness and herbal notes that let it be paired with sweet BBQ sauces as well as more savoury dishes. Tastes of blackcurrant, spice and a hint of chocolate coupled with an oaky finish make this a great wine to pair with lamb or steaks.
Rule number one should be to drink wines you enjoy. The suggestions above are meant to help you branch out and maybe try something new, but choosing and pairing wine should not be a daunting task.
Don’t be afraid to experiment, and keep notes about what works for you. For outdoor cooking the best thing you can do is to find a few refreshing, unpretentious, and inexpensive wines that are casual and meant to be enjoyed.