Ah…I absolutely love grilling season. Chicken, pork, steak, a good juicy burger. Love them all. Plus, I can always rely on my husband to grill while I do everything else. Not to mention the clean-up is much easier.
With 4th of July almost upon us, I thought it was a good time to offer suggestions on what wines to pair with your cookout fare. I know you all have your own taste preferences so just consider this a guide.
Perfect Cookout Reds
Zinfandel is one of the most versatile reds because it pairs well with a variety of red meat options. It also works with zesty sauces like BBQ or steak sauce (for spicier sauces, try a Merlot). Its bold flavors of blackberry with hints of vanilla and coffee – yet medium body – make it a great option for burgers, ribs, hot dogs and grilled chicken. One of my faves is Cline, a California Zin.
Syrah/Shiraz, with its assertive fruit flavors and more mellow tannins, also is good with just about any red meat. Try Jacob’s Creek Reserve Shiraz from the Barossa Region of South Australia or any of Mollydooker’s Shiraz varieties – Blue Eyed Boy, The Boxer and Carnival of Love.
Pinot Noir is another great but lighter-style red that complements grilled fish, burgers and chicken. I like a few from California – Middle Sister Goodie Two-Shoes, Castle Rock and Irony Pinot Noir.
Riesling is an ideal white to have on hand at your upcoming cookout because it is so versatile. The balance of fruit and acidity with just a bit of sweetness make it a nice match for salads, hot dogs and brats, seafood and grilled veggies. I recommend Dr. Loosen “Dr. L” Riesling (Mosel, Germany) or Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley Reisling.
Grilled chicken and pork chops love an unoaked Chardonnay. Try Four Vines “Naked” Chardonnay, Toad Hollow Chardonnay or Kim Crawford Marlborough Unoaked Chard.
If you are grilling something with an herbaceous or citrusy marinade (think Italian dressing, lemon, fresh herbs), then go for a Sauvignon Blanc. Because these marinades have characteristics similar to a Sauv Blanc, the flavors will really come out. Some of my favorites are Oyster Bay, Brancott and Benziger Sonoma Lake Sauvignon Blanc.
Do have any go-to wines for your cookouts? Please share. I’d love to hear them.
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