Living in a country with such an abundance of sunshine, firing up the grill is always an ideal weekend pastime. But what wines are best when served up with grilled foods? Typically people choose red wines for barbecues as the umami and fat in meat balance well with the tannins in the wine; but it doesn’t all have to be red. Enologist Josiah Kahiu helps you navigate the complex world of grilled food and wine pairing and throws in some suggestions to keep things easy for your day in the sun.
All Around Winner
Sparkling wines pair well with most grilled foods. An affordable sparkling such as Prosecco or a French Blanc de Blancs is the perfect match. The Veuve Ambal offers fruity aromas with notes of lemon and lime creating a pleasant freshness to the wine. This also makes it a good pairing for grilled fish.
Salmon and Chicken
For Salmon and grilled chicken, a chardonnay is a good pairing. This is due to the buttery mouthfeel that is associated with chardonnay. The Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Pinot Noir has a good level of acidity with aromas of peach and lychee as well as red fruit aromas from the Pinot Noir.
Vegetable and White Fish
Rosé wines are always a favourite when it comes to barbecues. Served chilled they have a good amount of acidity to cut through the fattier elements of grilled meats. The Ortas Côtes du Rhône has notes of cherry and wild strawberry as well as white fruit aromas. This wine also offers a slightly peppery finish that make it a good accompaniment for grilled vegetables and fish.
If pork is on your BBQ menu, a good pairing would be a Pinot Noir. The smokey flavours from flame grilling play well with the smoky tea leaf flavours associated with Pinot Noir. The Bourgogne Pinot Noir offers pleasant aromas of fresh fruit with notes of blackcurrant and raspberry. This wine has an elegant and persistent finish.
When hamburgers, steak and barbecued ribs are on your grill, then big red wines are the perfect match. A Barolo, Californian Cabernet or Argentinian Malbec are the perfect match. If the food includes a slightly spice the Malbec is the perfect choice. The Alamos Malbec is quite full but still fairly soft in the mouth. This Malbec has aromas of ripe blackcurrants and raspberry with a slightly sweet spice and leathery aroma.