When you say BBQ...

Taking some of the guesswork out of summer wine pairings!


Yesterday we provided you with some suggestions regarding wines to pair with BBQ. The question was left intentionally vague, and the response that we received from our contributing wine writers were correspondingly all over the map. Today i just wanted to add my two cents worth, though with a little bit more of a focus.
I’m going to offer suggestions regarding my favorite types of wines served with the types of food that comes off of my grill. Notice I changed the questions a bit. While I do slow smoke some mean BBQ, most of what i do, and most of us do for that matter, particularly starting right about now, would be defined as grilling and has little to do with BBQ. So next time you fire up the grill and plan on dishing out some grilled shrimp, chicken, or yes even slow smoked memphis style ribs consider these wine pairing suggestions.

Grilled Shrimp

Shrimp are about the easiest things to grill. Yes you’ll overcook some of them, or some parts of some of them, but so what? They’ll still be delicious, and it’s so easy! Seriously, when you have a ton of folks to feed, marinate up some shrimp, fire up the grill, put all the shrimp ion one of those grilling cages and then go to town!
When you have a whole mess of these delightfully flavorful shrimp spread out before you you’re only thinking of one thing. How to keep most of them for yourself. Oh, and then your thinking about how to keep at least the fingers of one hand cleanish so they your wine glass doesn’t slip out of your hand. And then you surrender and drink with those dirty, oily, garlic fingers because, well because there’s no other way to do this. And what should you be drinking? Albarino, definitely Albarino!
Two to try:

Grilled Chicken

Chicken is an easy grilling fall back option. It’s inexpensive, most people will eat it, and it can serve as sort of a blank canvas for flavor explorations. I would suggest that you consider a rose with your grilled chicken, but that is both too obvious and too easy. instead get inspired by your creative side, or else peruse some of the recipes we compiled in our:
While that guide has more specific pairing recommendations I wouldn’t want you to walk away empty handed here. I’m going to almost go back on my earlier words and recommend a wine here that you might think of as a rose, but is in fact a red wine, just one produced from a very pale grape. Get out there and explore some Schiava this summer. It’ll make for a killer pairing with your simpler grilled chicken recipes, and if the recipe is a bit more involved, well just drink the Schiava as you’re grilling. it’s that delicious, and that refreshing!
Two to try:


Let’s face it, we grill up more burgers than anything else. Nothing to be ashamed about there, a great burger can be fantastic, but at the same time it’s also a wine pairing nightmare. Who knows what people will do with their burgers. Blue cheese or American, ketchup? onions? Green chilies? Lettuce, tomato, how about hot sauce? It’s out of control.
So for the wine pairing you’re going to have to try a wine that pairs with EVERYTHING. No such thing, I know, but as an easy fall back a rose, particularly one with a hint of sweetness, can be a wonderful option and it’s about time we start tasting some of the latest releases!
Two to try:


Steak is of course a broad category to try and tackle with a single wine suggestion, but that is sort of the point here. I’m just trying to give you guidance regarding wines that should work, and while i would suggest a different wine for a rib-eye or a flatiron steak, if you’re asking for a steak wine, I’m answering with...
A malbec blend. Go for something blended with bonarda for a more plebian steak. If you have to ask , this is the wine you should be shopping for. If on the other hand you’re going to get your hands on a dry aged porterhouse or NY strip, something more in the Bordeaux vein would be a better match.
Two to try:

Memphis Style Pork Ribs

Slow smoked, dry rubbed, tender on the bone but with a bit of a bite. That’s what cue really means to me. Maybe a bit of a mopping sauce, something with aq hint of vinegar and some pork stock perhap, can be added at the very end of the cooking time to add a bit of moisture, but keep your sauces to yourself thank you very much.
You need a wine that can stand the high smoke coefficient that these ribs deliver, but not something so big that they will end up crushing the nuance of the spicy dry rub. Zin and even Cabernet is a fine suggestion, but for my money this is the time to break out the Syrah. Something as bit old worldly could work, but something from Washington state might be better, bringing together the bacony and meaty notes of cool climate Syrah though with a little extra bit of zingy fruit. 
Two to try:
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