Grilling season is in full swing! It’s time to light the barbecue, prepare one of these easy-to-make classic BBQ favourites, and pop open a bottle of wine to go with the dish. Pairings like these never disappoint.
What Are Great BBQ and Wine Pairings?
Beer is the classic BBQ companion, but a good glass of wine, served at the right temperature, can really elevate your grilling experience. What bottle should you pop open?
Sparkling Wine and Rosé Go with a Variety of Barbecue Dishes
If you’re going to serve veggies, fish and meat, you’re going to need an all-rounder wine. Opt for a sparkling wine. First of all, who doesn’t love bubbles? What’s more, sparkling wine matches various flavour profiles, whether you’re grilling, smoking, or using various rubs, marinades and sauces. We recommend this Cava from Spain or sparkling rosé.
Another versatile wine is a fuller-bodied rosé. Make sure it is well-chilled before serving. The Adrien Vacher Rosé or Giuliana Vicini Rosato are real winners.
White wines for BBQ Dishes
Simple grilled veggies or white fish (with herb butter) go well with a zesty white wine, such as a Greek Assyrtiko (a wine that pairs fantastically with any seafood, really) or Spanish Godello.
Fish that is a bit spicier and cooked directly on the grill could use a slightly fuller-bodied wine, such as this Chenin Blanc and Rousanne blend from South Africa. Oilier fish, such as cedar-planked salmon, needs fuller-bodied white wine, such as the Garnacha Blanco from Ritme Cellers. A Pinot Noir generally pairs well with smoky salmon as well.
Red Wine and Barbecue Dishes
Speaking about Pinot Noir, it’s an incredibly versatile red wine option. Great with smoked whole chicken, lamb and pork dishes such as pork tenderloin or pork chops.
Generally, we tend to pair barbecued meats with reds because the umami and fat in the meat balance out the tannin in red wines. A win-wine!
If you’re going heavy on the red meat, consider a fruit-forward, fuller-bodied red, such as a GSM blend (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre) or Malbec. Consider the preparation method: smoky flavours in food go well with smoky-spicy flavours in wine. This Tempranillo ticks all the boxes.
Also, consider the sauces: classic barbecue sauce adds acidity and sweetness to the dish. Try pairing your food with a wine with elevated acidity, such as a Sangiovese. If you’re having an abundance of herbs, such as Italian sausages with fennel, consider a juicy, herbaceous red, such as a Grenache, or this Syrah from Languedoc.
If you’re going big on spice, consider a wine with a hint of sweetness, such as a Zinfandel. Make sure the wine is not too tannic or overly oaked because the spicy will unpleasantly accentuate these flavours.
A Note On Wine Serving Temperature at Barbecues
If the temperatures outside are soaring, make sure to serve your sparkling, white and rosé wines well chilled (here’s a primer on serving your wine at the right temperature). Pop red wines in the fridge for about 15 minutes, because nobody wants to drink lukewarm reds when it’s hot out.
And, if you can, break out the real glasses and forget about plastic cups.
Now that we’ve given you some general recommendations, it’s time to reveal our own BBQ favourites. We promise they are a match made in heaven with our recommended wine pairings!
Grilled Snap Peas and Halloumi Recipe and Wine Pairing
Yes, you can grill your appetizer, too! Start your meal with these grilled snap peas with halloumi. They’ll hit the spot while your main course is on the BBQ. A nicely chilled Muscadet will set you up for success.
Wagyu Hotdogs with Sautéed Vidalia Onions Recipe and Wine Pairing
We hear you thinking: why make it so fancy? Easy answer: because it makes something simple and delicious even better. Trust us on this one, and also on the pairing: hot dogs and rosé all the way!
Pollo al Mattone (Chicken Under A Brick) Recipe and Wine Pairing
Grilling a whole bird with something really heavy (like a brick) on top is a way to get grilled chicken with the crispiest skin you’ve ever seen. All you need is the best quality poultry and a simple herb-garlic marinade. Pair it with a medium-bodied Pinot Noir.
Baby Back Ribs in Smoky BBQ Sauce Recipe and Wine Pairing
Making your own “secret” BBQ sauce is what will take this dish from “good” to “finger lickin’ great”! As for the wine, think “classic meets classic”: these ribs go exceptionally well with a good ol’ bottle of Bordeaux.
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