A useful tool to have on hand while tasting, the wine flavor wheel is a visual glossary of wine terms organized by where they come from. It’s summertime. It’s hot. And, it’s time to fire up the grill! But what type of wine is best to pair with those foods you’re cooking on the barbie? It’s important to understand the reasoning behind why a certain style of wine fits well with different types of food, so that you’re able to select a wine based on what’s available. Typically, when we grill, we grill meat (meat is anything other than poultry and fish). As a general rule, red wines pair excellently well with barbecue-grilled meats. Why? Well, it’s because the umami and high fat in the meat will balance out the tannin in red wine.
For pork barbecue, you’re often seasoning with sweet, spicy, smoky, and tangy flavors and matching sauces. In this case, you can use your wine to balance the smoke and spice of your grilled pork with something fruity that has similar smoky-spicy flavors. For example, a Zinfandel that’s medium- to full-bodied with plenty of backbone will do the trick. However, you also have another option. Do as the Italians do: use your wine as a “sauce,” to the meat.
For example, you could serve a glass of Ruby Port on ice alongside your slow smoked pork, which will easily serve as the sweet “sauce,” and provide you with an exceptional explosion of flavor – don’t forget the slightly pickled sweet slaw on the side. A nice, dry Riesling (Trocken) might even do the trick here too.
Barbecue Meat Wine Pairings
For example, you could serve a glass of Ruby Port on ice alongside your slow smoked pork, which will easily serve as the sweet “sauce,” and provide you with an exceptional explosion of flavor – don’t forget the slightly pickled sweet slaw on the side. A nice, dry Riesling (Trocken) might even do the trick here too. In the realm of red meat, such as burgers or steak on the grill, think about another full-bodied option, such as Tempranillo, Cabernet-blend, Sangiovese, or even a good GSM Blend (Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre). These wines will enhance the the peppery and tobacco flavors in the dish.
“Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know.”
Spinning things differently on the grill, basic salt and pepper, maybe a few tomatoes, or even lime and cilantro for fish tacos, you’ll want to play off of the citrus and minerality in a nicely chilled Sauvignon Blanc, Fumé Blanc (slightly oaked Sauvignon Blanc), Grechetto, Grüner Veltliner, or Verdejo.