Wines for Grilling: Food Pairing BBQ

Wines For Grilling

Grilling is more than a culinary activity. It brings people together and facilitates the celebration of important occasions like holidays and birthdays. Just as grilled food can enhance a celebration, the right great wine pairing can elevate food and add a new dimension of depth to the experience. Here are nine pairings to make your next gathering around the grill even more special.

Wings – Prosecco

Chicken wings come with a wide array of sauces, many of which feature flavors spicy, sweet, or both. Fortunately, spicy and sweet foods both pair well with fruity wines that have a touch of sweetness. Prosecco, a sparkling wine from Italy, makes for a great choice because it’s very crisp and has a touch of sweetness. It cuts the heat of spicy wings and refreshes in hot weather.

WTSO Wine Recommendation: Prosecco Superiore Serre Colsentà Valdobbiadene NV

Bass – Sauvignon Blanc

Grilled bass features a combination of hearty, smoky, grilled flavors with delicate seafood and fresh tasting garnishes like citrus and herbs. The dry, crisp, white wine, Sauvignon Blanc, will enhance the taste of the fish without covering it and will also complement fruits, herbs, and vegetables used in the preparation and seasoning.

WTSO Wine Recommendation: Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc 2021 by Wagner Family of Wines

Shrimp – Provence Rosé

One approach to wine pairing emphasizes the matching of wines to dishes from the same place of origin. The region of Provence in the South of France sits on the Mediterranean coast and is a source for both wine and amazing shrimp dishes. Rosé from Provence is dry and light and usually contains a blend of red grapes such as Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault. It matches the flavor of grilled shrimp, as well as the color, making for a striking combination.

WTSO Wine Recommendation: Provence Rosé 2022 Les Quatre Tours ‘Classique’

Bratwurst – Dry Riesling

German sausage and wine go hand in hand. The salty, fatty, goodness of brats is balanced by the clean, lean brightness of the wine. Riesling also has enough acidity to stand up to sauerkraut, the nearly inevitable side item with brats. Try to find a dry Riesling, which is very fashionable at the moment in Germany – delicious examples can be found at a good price.

WTSO Wine Recommendation: Dry Riesling Trocken Korrell Nahe 2021

Corn – California Chardonnay

Whenever a dish is described as “buttery,” consider pairing with Chardonnay. In California, Chardonnay often goes through a process called “malolactic fermentation,” which transforms the tart, fruity acid in the wine to soft, buttery lactic acid. The flavors of the corn, butter, and wine will fuse together into a fantastic whole.

WTSO Wine Recommendation: Bridlewood Estate Winery Chardonnay 2019 Santa Barbara County

Portobellos – Red Burgundy

Grilled portobello mushrooms aren’t just for vegetarians. When paired with the right wine, they will tempt anyone who loves grilled food. Red Burgundy has an earthy flavor that matches the taste of the mushrooms and a light body with a silky texture that won’t overwhelm the dish.

WTSO Wine Recommendation: Domaine Sirugue Marsannay Rouge ‘Les Champs Perdrix’ 2020

Hot Dogs – Côtes du Rhône

Wines from the Côtes du Rhône appellation can originate anywhere in the Rhône Valley and normally feature Grenache as the dominant grape in their blend. Côtes du Rhône is food wine with acidity enough for condiments like ketchup and relish, as well as enough flavor to balance spicy mustard or chili. You would be hard pressed to find a better pairing for hot dogs.

WTSO Wine Recommendation: 95 Pt. Château Courac AOC Côtes-du-Rhône Red 2020

Burgers – McLaren Vale Shiraz

Americans may love our grills, but we’re not the only ones. Australians cook out so often that it’s no wonder so many of their wines are meant to suit grilled foods. Why not pair the iconic American burger with a Shiraz from the McLaren Vale in Australia? Shiraz is spicy and full-bodied, with deep fruit flavors and a dark color. There is also a smoky character in the wine that will work beautifully with the meat.

WTSO Wine Recommendation: 93 Pt. Kay Brothers Hillside Shiraz 2019 McClaren Vale Australia

Steak – Saint-Émilion

Arguably the most regal of grilled foods, steak is a magical expression of simplicity. Cabernet Sauvignon is the classic pairing with steak, but why not add a twist by looking to the region where Cabernet first became famous? Red Bordeaux is usually made from a blend of Cabernet and Merlot, with the possible addition of Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. Saint-Émilion is a sub-region where Merlot is normally dominant in the blend and produces wines of incredible complexity and structural balance. Keep a bottle on hand for the next time you grill up a steak, and you won’t be sorry.

WTSO Wine Recommendation: Château Palais Cardinal Saint-Émilion Grand Cru 2018

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