Summer Grilling Part 1: What Wine Do I Pair with Chicken, Seafood, Veggies & BBQ?
By: Allie Albanese and Melissa Diaz
Summer is officially here and we couldn’t be more excited. The days are longer, the sun is brighter, and BBQ season is in full swing! And with July 4th quickly approaching, it’s time to get your grills fired up and your refrigerators stocked with wine for the holiday. But what wines go best with your favorite grilled foods? It depends on what you’re cooking, but no matter what you throw on the grill, we guarantee that there’s a wine to go with it
So to help you put the finishing touches on your 4th of July menu and to aid you in hosting your next summer cookout, we’ve put together some pairing recommendations to arm you for the peak of grilling season ahead. While many of these wines can be paired with more than one item, we’ve listed our selections for the foods with which we think they work best. Just remember that unless otherwise noted, these suggestions are based on simple, grilled preparations—adding sauces or spices can change the pairings dramatically, so keep that in mind when you’re deciding on a wine.
BBQ CHICKEN, PORK & RIBS
Pairing wine with BBQ is tricky because there are so many different styles and flavor profiles of BBQ found across the country. The sauces and spice rubs you choose make all the difference when it comes to pairing, so let that be your guide when picking a wine. Our choices: Riesling, Shiraz and Zinfandel.
WINE: 2012 XYZin Old Vine Zinfandel, California
VARIETAL: Blend of Zinfandel, Carignane, Alicante Bouschet & Petite Sirah
TASTING NOTES: Aromas and flavors of blackberry, raspberry compote, blueberry, black pepper, vanilla and caramel
PAIRING NOTES: Although lighter-bodied than Shiraz, Zinfandel has similar fruit and spice notes that will work well with either a sweet or savory sauce/rub. However, the XYZin is high in alcohol and has relatively strong tannins, so avoid pairing it with hot, spicy flavors because high alcohol and tannins make spicy foods taste even spicier.