Ahh summer! Between the bugs and the heat, it's never been MY favorite season, with one exception: delicious, delicious barbecue! Naturally, beer is a perfect pairing, as well as sangria, margaritas or any lively, fruity cocktail, but did you know there is a plethora of fabulous wines that compliment BBQ dishes as well?
Here are some specially-selected suggestions for your next grill session:
Barbecued seafood always presents a conundrum: how can you compliment the bold, smoky grill notes without overpowering the delicate seafood flavors? Simple solution: dry rose! The refreshing acidity cleans the palate, allowing wave after wave of delicious flavor to dance across your tongue without any lingering heaviness, and the pretty red fruit flavors compliment the tangy spices beautifully.
Obviously, this is a pretty wide open category; anything can go on a burger, and, of course, you want to pair your wine to the key toppings. Try something rich and earthy, like a good Cotes du Rhone, with mushroom and swiss, something fruity and flavorful, like Australian Shiraz, with peppers and onions or something light and mellow, like Beaujolais, with turkey burgers.
The beauty of chicken is that it takes on the flavors of everything it's cooked with, so when pairing, always remember to match the characteristics of the wine with the flavors of the sauce. In Buffalo, this means Chiavetta's! That tangy, vinegar-and-spice marinade is a staple of every backyard in Western New York, and its ubiquity means you'll always be safe bringing a crisp, fruity white, like a Riesling, Albarino or Vouvray, to any picnic.
Messy, yet delicious, my number one reason for taking the time to slow-cook barbecued ribs is so I can have an excuse to drink the jammy, juicy reds that completely engulf most other foods. Petite Sirah, Amarone, Chateauneuf du Pape: this is YOUR time to shine!
No need for your veggie friends to be left out...there are tons of yummy wines you can serve with grilled tofu and veggie kebabs. Cab Francs and Carmeneres tend to have bold herbal undertones that always work well with vegetarian dishes, and light-bodied bright reds such as Bonarda or Garnacha are super versatile and pair with basically any kind of tofu barbecue marinade.