Wine With Your BBQ
For many people the 4th of July and barbequing go hand in hand. With the 4th just around the corner, I got to thinking about pairing wine with BBQ. Your wine pairing really depends on what you are throwing on the Grill. A good rule of thumb is bold goes with bold; strong flavored food needs a bolder, richer wine. Delicate goes with delicate; a more delicate, lighter flavored food usually pairs well with a softer, more delicate wine.
For a lot of BBQ items you want a pretty bold wine. The smokiness and spice of BBQ can overpower lighter wines. You also don’t need an extremely complex wine. The nuances of a complex wine can get lost among the spices of grilled meats, especially if you are using a lot of spice (think BBQ sauce or dry rubs). This means that a lot of wines in the $10 range will work well with your meal.
If you want to play it safe, Zinfandel, Merlot or Rose go well with almost all BBQ items. Reds are easier to pair with BBQ than whites and almost any red will work with hamburgers and hot dogs. It is usually a good idea to steer clear of Chardonnay because it is harder to pair with grilled items.
For BBQ chicken and baby back ribs a Zinfandel or Chianti are good red options. Gewurztraminer or Riesling work well if you are looking for a white (the residual sugar in these wines help temper the spice).
For marinated meats like chicken, where the spice is not quite so intense, you can go for a more delicate or complex wine – maybe a Merlot or Sangiovese on the red side and Pinot Grigio on the white side.
For seafood and veggies a nice Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Noir will work well.
If you are grilling steak, you enter a whole other ball game as far as wine pairing is concerned. A good cut of steak goes great with a rich, complex red. A nice steak and that expensive bottle of red you’ve been saving for a special occasion probably will be amazing together. Cab Franc, Pinot Noir, Bordeaux and Amarone will all pair well with steak, but most full-bodied reds go well with steak. I wouldn’t pair a steak with a white wine so I can’t recommend what white might work nicely.
As always, these are just suggestions. Wine is all about personal preference. In my opinion there is no right or wrong way to pair your food and wine as long as you enjoy it. Have a safe and happy 4th of July!