It's barbecue season! It's the time of the year when the backyard becomes our kitchen, we fire up the grill, and scoop, spoon, or shake a bag for our favorite summer side dishes. While you might turn to beer and lemonade for a classic summer barbecue, don't forget the wine!
Whether you like a dry rub or a marinade, make pairing wine and barbecue foods an adventure!
Lo Nuevo Sorbo a Sorbo Old Vines Garnacha (Spain, $10) allows those big, bold flavors in your BBQ chicken to come through. This wine is elegant and balanced, matching up to almost any meal.Chicken - Chicken benefits from a good barbecue marinade, adding flavor and preventing chicken from drying out on the grill. Whether a spicy, zesty marinade or a tomato-based one, choose a wine with intense cherry flavors and a lingering finish. A glass of
Ribs - There's nothing like a messy, tender, juicy barbecue rib, where the meat falls off the bone, and there's nothing like washing it down with a glass of Mountain Door Malbec (Argentina, $12). Vines up to 60 years old produce this powerhouse red that tastes like magic in the mouth. Rich and fruity, you'll be hard-pressed to find a red wine with this much punch at a better price.
Salmon - Not everyone thinks about salmon when they barbecue, which is why so many people are missing out on the Hahn Winery Pinot Noir (California, $14). The wine has bright fruit flavors and a refreshing taste sensation. For salmon, choose a wine that offers a contrasting fruitiness to the meatiness of the salmon and the spiciness of the marinade. Next time it's barbecue time, think salmon and Hahn Pinot Noir.
With all due respect to the meat, the side "fixins" are what make a barbecue a meal.
Esporão's Monte Velho Branco (Portugal, $9) is a crisp, smooth white wine that is refreshing by the glass and doesn't mask or overpower food flavors. The wine's acidic backbone balances the creaminess of the sauce.Cole Slaw and Potato Salad - Both of these side dishes come in a variety of recipes, but if the mayonnaise-based sauce is your thing, then pair with a wine that can handle the creaminess.
Baked Beans - Baked beans are as American as apple pie, hot dogs, and baseball. This is why an all-American wine is called for, like the Stinson Vineyard Rosé of Mourvedre (Virginia, $12). Baked beans are usually made with brown sugar and bacon or ham; earthy, sweet and smoky flavors reach a pinnacle with a wine that has the substance of a red wine but the freshness of a white wine. Our forefathers would be so proud of this pairing.
Chips and Sour Cream Dip - The crunch of the chip, the tang of the sour cream, the yum of Line 39 Lake County Sauvignon Blanc (California, $10) washing it all down: you gotta have the chips and dip to quell the hunger pangs while you patiently wait for the first serving to come off the grill. This crisp white wine with its citrus flavors pairs nicely with almost any chip/dip combination, and it's cool, refreshing and perfect for summer afternoon sipping.What is your favorite wine to pair with summer foods?
Cecelia Messina is a certified sommelier. Her travels have allowed her to experience the wonders of wine, beer, spirits, and food. She first learned about wine in Argentina, fueling her desire to open a small, neighborhood wine boutique in 2001 and to share the world of wine with others.More from this contributor: