The thrill of the grill

Four great wines to pair with everything form Burgers to Duck!


Summer is my favorite season for many reasons but chief among them is the grilling the weather affords. Not only do I get to enjoy some of my favorite dishes but clean up is a breeze.

Of course, grilling is not without its own set of challenges, getting those burgers perfectly pink throughout, keeping that chicken moist while cooking it through, and mastering the challenging task of pairing rich, smoky, spicy dishes with wines that won't make you wilt in the heat of the summer. This past weekend I spent some time with my family and we grilled up a storm! It occurred to me that it's about time I share some of my favorite grilling wines with you so here are some specific recommendations that have worked for me. I hope you enjoy them!
Crios de Susana Balbo Syrah-Bonarda 2006
With a nice burger you really want a fairly fruity, simple wine with good acidity. Something that is fun to drink and rewarding without requiring too much effort to understand. The 2006 Crios Syrah/Bonarda, round and polished in the mouth with some aggressive, extracted tannins and nice acidity, is a slightly rustic wine making it the perfect Burger wine. Plummy, earthy and slightly peppery, it's simply delicious.

Domaine Parent Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2006
With grilled duck you need something with big acids to pair with the sweet fattiness of the duck. This Pinot Noir is crisp with mineral and acid tones yet has a lovely balance to the cedary red fruits that are juicy and tart recalling raspberries and cranberries, just perfect to pair with the slightly gamey grilled duck!

Parducci Petite Sirah 2006

Ok, so this might seem like a little bit of a stretch but I promise you it isn't. I like my grilled chicken spicy, in fact I like my grilled chicken to be Jerk Chicken! You really need a spicy, full wine to pair with Jerk Chicken but you also have to be careful not to over do it. I've found the balanced blackberry and peppery tones of this Parducci Petit to be just the ticket. Richly flavored but light on its feet and refreshing!

Carlisle Syrah Sonoma County 2005

With some smoky, spicy ribs you really need a big wine but one that is richly fruited and balanced, always a challenge. This Carlisle Syrah is intensely flavored and perfectly balanced with subtle chocolate, earth and vegetal nuances that will be the perfect compliment to the rich, deep flavor of your favorite rib recipe.

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