Summer is here! After a nice (cold and rainy) winter, the sun has finally shown up. At the first glimmer of a hot day, what’s better than a barbecue with friends and neighbours? But pairing your favourite meat, fish and vegetables with wine leaves you clueless. Your cousin Freddie once assured you that you should always pair red meat with red wine and white wine with fish and veggies. Wondering if that’s true ? Let us give you our top (secret) tips for the best wine and BBQ pairing!
The first rule to remember is: simple wines for simple food. Keep your cellar aged bottles for other occasions, a middle price bottle of wine to accompany your grilled food will be perfect!
What to have with beef?
Juicy, unadorned barbecued beef goes perfectly well with full bodied, fruity and oak aged red wines. The woody aromas of the wine given by the oak aging will match to perfection the grilled flavours of the meat. Try it with a Cote du Rhone or an Australian Shiraz as red wines from hot regions tend to be fuller bodied and richer.
If you’re having burgers, try them with a glass of Californian Zinfandel or an Italian Primitivo, it’s always nicer than a coke!
What to have with pork?
Pork is a thinner and more delicate meat than beef and will be best with younger, fruitier and lighter red wines. However, it’s more the marinade that needs to be taken into consideration rather than the meat when you want to pair it with wine.
If you like it spicy or with chutney go for a Beaujolais, the fruity notes of the Pinot Noir will match the sweetness of your dish. For white aficionados, a Pinot Gris will work well too. If you’re a fan of heavily grilled pork, you can easily go for a more robust wine. Young reds from Bordeaux will work well!
What to have with sausages?
Rosé wine. Keep your light and fresh rosé for the aperitif or whilst staring at your meat slowly cooking on the barbecue and opt for a heavier one to accompany your dish. Côtes du Rhône and Languedoc produce heavier rosés. For the white wine lovers, a southern white will also work perfectly well, especially with herb sausages. Go for a new world chardonnay or Sauvignon blanc !
What to have with chicken?
It’s summer, you’re longing for a refreshing glass of white or rosé, but you’ve heard that meat always needs to be paired with red wine? False! Chicken works really well with either a white, a rose or a red. If you’re opting for a white, go for an Australian viognier.
If you’re more of a pink wine fan, try your chicken with a heavier rosé. Spanish rosés made from Tempranillo and Garnacha are fuller-bodied and sweeter and will perfectly match your dish, especially if you like your chicken with a sweet mango salsa!
Heavily grilled chicken will work best with stronger and more aromatic reds. Try it with a New World peppery Syrah!
What to have with fish?
The general rule is: white wine for white fish and red for pink fish. A fresh and dry white wine will work best. Go for an Alsatian Sylvaner, a white Cotes du Rhone from St Joseph or a German Riesling. If you’re opting for seafood skewers, go for a heavier and rounder white like a Chardonnay. Grilled salmon will work well with a young, light-bodied red like a Pinot Noir from Burgundy: the delicate red fruit and earthy flavours are a perfect counterpoint to the oily, savory pink grilled meat of the salmon.
What to have with vegetables?
To all vegetarians (and vegetable lovers) who were reluctant to go for a barbecue thinking they will end up having a salad bowl and a glass of tap water (or a lemonade if you’re lucky), let me prove you wrong. Grilled vegetable skewers are perfect with a glass of Pinot Blanc or Gewurztraminer, especially if you’re cooking your vegetables with spices. If you fancy red wines, you can also have them with a light and fruity red. For richer vegetables roasted in oil, a slightly heavier red will suit best as the tannins will cut through the oiliness of the dish. Why not have with a Spanish Tempranillo or an Italian Chianti?
For a simple salad, go for a New Zealand or Chilian Sauvignon Blanc.
Now that you have your wine stocked in your fridge and your meat gently roasting on the barbecue, lie comfortably in your garden with your feet up and enjoy your afternoon (lucky you)!