Whether you’re organising a big family event or simply having a few friends around for some grilled food, there is bound to be plenty of wine.
Sure, you can grab the first bottle you see on the shelf and call it a day, but choosing a wine that will go with your selection of grilled foods can elevate your get-together and make it more enjoyable for all guests. There are plenty of bag-in-box wines which can be good for catering to a bigger group of people, however, if you want better quality and variety a mixed wine case could be a better option.
But what wine is best to pair with all the delicious barbecued meats?
The types of meats you’re serving will be what determines the best wine to serve at your summer BBQ. Let’s have a look at some of the popular food and wine pairings to give you some inspiration!
If your menu includes different red meats then the simple answer is a rich red wine.
For summer barbecue classics such as burgers, steak or ribs glazed with BBQ sauce, your best option is a full-bodied red. Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux are a couple of the red wines that make an excellent match here. For dishes with a hint of spice, add accent to the flavour by choosing a red with spicy notes like a Malbec, Shiraz or Zinfandel.
The best wine pairings for pork sausages, gammon steak or other smoked meats are equally rich reds like the classic Pinot Noir. These richly flavoured meats benefit from the Pinot Noir for texture and richness as well as its smoky notes that can amplify the taste of the meat.
Red wines, Pinot Noir in particular, can also be a fantastic pair for grilled salmon or earthy, vegetarian dishes like stuffed portobello mushrooms or grilled mushroom skewers.
For white meat and seafood, the obvious choice of wine is a bottle of crisp white.
Grilled chicken as well as fish pair marvellously with a fresh, highly acidic white like Sauvignon Blanc. The peppery notes in the wine are the perfect match for any spice rubs you use on your chicken. If your chicken is glazed with a BBQ sauce then go for a wine with a sweeter profile like a Riesling or a Gewurztraminer.
With rich fish like tuna, you want to serve a buttery white such as a fully-oaked Chardonnay which can cut through the fat. Chardonnay is also a good pick for veggie burgers.
For other veggie meals such as halloumi or veggie skewers, a good choice of wine is either a fresh Chenin Blanc or Semillon.
To get the best flavour out of your white wine of choice make sure it is served chilled. Either keep it in the fridge until it’s time to open the bottle, or even better, put a bucket with ice in the garden to cool your wine while the food is being grilled.
Rosé is by far one of the trendiest wines to serve at a summer party and conveniently it pairs with a great variety of barbecued foods. With a bright acidity and a fruity flavour palette, rosé is the perfect wine to cut through the intense grilled flavour of the food.
A dry rosé pairs amazingly well with flavourful pork chops and vegetarian skewers, as well as BBQ chicken. Rosé champagne is also a fantastic drink to go with salmon.
Sparkling wines are refreshing to drink in the heat and pair well with most grilled foods, which makes them a fantastic choice for a barbecue. Light, playful sparkling wines are a top choice to drink with seafood, veggie meals and chicken burgers. The rule here is to stick to easy to drink wines such as Cava or Proscecco and save the vintage Champagne and Brut for special occasions.
Ultimately the secret to successful food and wine pairing for barbecues is to keep things simple. Stay away from fancy, over-complicated wines as the casual atmosphere at a barbecue doesn’t call for this type of beverage. While it’s important that the wine you choose matches the food, it should also match the nature of the event.
So now that you know how to choose the best wine for a barbecue, all that’s left to do is fire up the grill and gather friends and family for a pleasant evening of outdoor dining.