Tis the season for the Barbecue!
July 4th is fast approaching (wait, what?!?!?).
And the barbecue season is in full effect.
For most, beer is the “go to” for barbecue food because it’s cold and acts as a palate cleanser. But we here at BRUT think differently, and while beer is fine . . . we are a bit partial to our vino!
So, what to pair with barbecue foods? Have no fear, we have some suggestions for you.
Because everyone barbecues differently, here are a few suggestions based on the type of protein you will be grilling up at your BBQ:
The classic American “go-to”. Best to start with red wine for this classic, no matter how you grill them. Two of the best to consider would be a Malbec from Argentina or, if feeling a bit adventurous, Touriga Nacional from Portugal. Rich and fruity, Argentinian Malbec is simple enough to find in most retailers and is always a crowd favorite. Touriga Nacional is the red grape variety of Portugal. It's their “Napa Cab”, so to speak. Touriga is grape variety used in the production of Port. It is full of dark fruit character and tannin to pair well with a fatty burger. You will not be able to find a wine that is 100% Touriga, but most table wine from Portugal these days are blends with Tourga as the highest percentage of grape variety in the blend.
Other strong considerations -- Zinfandel from Califonia, Carmenere from Chile, Cabernet Franc from Michigan, Tempranillo from Spain and Syrah from the Northern Rhone.
For lightly marinated chicken, we have two strong suggestions. First, Sparkling Wine. Prosecco is recommended over Champagne and Cava because of it’s slightly fruitier profile, but all three would be outstanding. A sparkler cleanses the palate during the meal allowing the food to shine as well as inviting guests to want more because of the acidity in the wine. And you always serve sparklers cold!
For a suggested red, try Carignan. Most right now are saying what? Who? Yes, Carignan. A red grape variety found mostly in the southern part of France and known for it’s lighter body and delicately fruity characteristics, Carignan pairs wonderfully with chicken lightly marinated in barbecue sauce. Look in the Languedoc or Rhone wine aisles in your local wine store.
Other strong considerations -- Dry Rosé (always should be a consideration especially appropriately chilled), Pinot Noir for is lighter body and bright red fruit components, Sauvignon Blanc if your chicken is marinated with citrus flavors, and a Dry Riesling for it’s great acidity.
Ribs or Lamb --
Ribs or lamb on the grill call for a wine from the Southern Rhone -- Cotes du Rhone, or if you have the budget, Chateauneuf du Pape. Southern Rhone wines are blends; typically, Granache, Syrah and Mouvedre (“GSM”). Most are Grenache-heavy. What does that mean for you hosting family for a barbecue? It means an earthy, elegant red wine, with bright red fruit characteristics, silky tannins, and acidity to pair perfectly with ribs and lamb. Well made Southern Rhone wines are balanced food wines perfect for the barbecue.
Other strong considerations -- none, we feel that strongly about this ;-)
If you are vegetarian and grill only vegetables, one white comes to mind. Grüner Veltliner. This crisp, acidic wine just has a knack for pairing well with vegetables -- especially asparagus for some reason. Grüner is a white grape variety that grows well in cooler climates, mainly Eastern Europe. We would really recommend you try one and soon. Some Michigan wine makers in Traverse City are also starting to find “GruVee” as strong option, so look local to try one too!
Other strong considerations -- a Dry Riesling from Germany, a dry Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley in France and a Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux or Sancerre.
Last word about summer wines --
Chill them! Do not be afraid. It’s hot out and warm wine is no fun. Even the reds need a slight chill. But . . . . do not over chill. In a fridge -- chill white wines about 40 minutes and reds a short 15 minutes. In ice, much less.
Enjoy your summer barbecue creations!
We at BRUT DETROIT hope you all have a safe and wonderful 4th of July!!!