Choosing wine to go with your barbecue can be difficult at times. There are many different flavours to consider and often there are elements that can be very dominant and put everything else, especially the wine, in the shadows. But there are a few things you can remember when finding a good wine to accompany the food. Because there are a lot of great wines that are made with the barbecue in mind. With that lets look at what you need to consider.
What’s on the grill?
The first is easily enough, but there are some things to consider here as well. Because you don’t have as much control with the heat on the grill as you do in your kitchen you will get more of a burnt crust on both the meats and the vegetables. And let’s be honest, that’s why we use the grill, we want that burnt hard, often caramelized crust that gives that extra spice to the dish. So, consider the burning.
Then of course there is the meat. Beef, pork, sausages, everything is used on the grill and they do get a different sensation when grilled.
Some try fish and that can be fantastic, but you must take more care to the fragile loins when grilling fish.
And then there is vegetables. Many like to change up the grill with some nice crisp vegetables to change the dish up a bit and have a more complete meal. Eggplant, squash, carrots, corn or pepper, there are many great vegetables that taste fantastic when grilled properly.
But know what we said in the beginning, with the delicate flavours of the meats, fish, or vegetable, you will get a burnt sensation as well and you will need to find something that complements this.
And let’s not forget about the sauce! Grill sauces tend to be quite sweet and full bodied and they have a lot to say when choosing the wine. Often it can be smart to start with the sauce when choosing a wine. Is it sweet and “American” or is it more of a savoury sauce, or maybe it’s very spicy! This will be particularly important when choosing a wine.
One grape stands out
When traveling all around the world we almost always find that the food and wine made in the place we are visiting are made with regards to each other. So, when choosing a good barbecue wine we should look to the countries with great barbecue traditions. USA, Australia, South Africa, and Italy have great barbecue tradition, but Argentina stands out even in this crowd. They lover their barbecue like we Norwegians love our skiing! If it isn’t barbecued it isn’t food might as well be the country’s slogan. And when drinking the Argentinian wine, you get a sense of this as well. Because the Malbec grape is perfect for barbecue. It has an inherent sweetness to it, much like the Riesling has in Germany. The wines are dry but feel sweet. And this sweetness is perfect with the burnt sensation that we get with food that has been on the BBQ. And being a Bordeaux grape, it also has some tannins, although they are finer than the ones we would find in France, so the wines can handle the fat from the meats or the sauce. It really is a match made in heaven.
Now a BBQ dish isn’t too refined most of the times. This is a meal that is meant for sharing and being among friends outside. So you don’t have to go for the most expensive and refined wines. Save those for another time. When barbequing you want an easy going wine that complements what comes of the grill.
But let’s not forget that there are other options as well. Of grapes that should suit BBQ very close to the top of my list you will find Cabernet Sauvignon. Most famous for being the main grape of the left bank Bordeaux wines a good Cab has a lot of structure and can have a lot of fine sweetness to it as well, especially in the new world wines. Mostly these wines will handle fatty meats and rich sauces.
And when in Italy, you will of course try and Italian wine. A good Barbera from the Piemonte or a Sangiovese from Tuscany will be perfect with a lot of BBQ’s.
And let’s not forget the whites. With the fish dishes you can use any of your favourite white wines, but I find that a good Chardonnay with finely integrated oak has the right weight to handle the burnt character of a BBQ.
The BBQ is a social happening so for the lazy days you will meet up with friends in a park or by the sea, get a reasonably priced wine. If you have invited someone over to you garden and are going to impress, like Finn-Erik likes to do, then you can splurge for a more pricy wine.
Alamos Malbec 2018 – 136,90
This is a safe bet at any BBQ. High quality and at a very reasonable price. It has the right mix of natural sweetness and good structure to handle most BBQ’s. Pop and pour.
Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 – 136,90
A little bit more structure as you would expect from the Cabernet, but still a fine choice with any BBQ. Try this with a good beef.
Catena Chardonnay 2018 – 179,90
Should you want a white, why not try this great buy. It fresh and fine and with a great fruitiness to it, but also finely integrated oak that gives the right amount of weight so that it can handle almost anything you throw on the BBQ
Achaval Ferrer Quimera 2013 – 400,00
When trying to impress, this is a great wine to find. A Bordeaux blend, but with 50% Malbec it has a bit more structure and weight to it, more refined and is more complex. This is the wine you choos when inviting guest over to use the newly bought Weber grill!