It’s September, and your grill has probably already gotten quite a workout this summer. But there’s still time for a few more backyard barbecues. Try these wine and food pairings to carry you through the rest of the season:
If you are grilling on cedar planks, or using a smoker box, pair the resulting dish with an oaky wine. Chicken or fish grilled will work with a lightly oaked Bourgogne Blanc, while Bordeaux or California Cabernet Sauvignon is a nice match for smoky pork ribs.
Nothing beats a seared steak coated simply in sea salt, fresh rosemary and cracked pepper. A big, bold spicy red like Malbec or Shiraz is the perfect pairing.
For more exotic fare like venison burgers or buffalo steaks, try South Africa’s funky red grape, Pinotage. Its aromas and flavors of smoked meats, among other things, is just the ticket for wild game.
Spicy dishes like Jamaican Jerk Chicken beg for something to tame the heat, like the bit of sugar in an off-dry Gewurztraminer, which will counter the spices and make you crave another spicy bite.
Don’t limit yourself to white or red—think pink! Barbecue flavorful bone-in chicken thighs, and serve them with a fruity dry rosé from France or Spain.
Choose Muscadet from France’s Loire Valley for a clambake. Locals know how well this white, with its hints of lemons and minerals, pairs with shellfish like oysters and lobster.
If grilled seafood is first marinated in citrus juice or vinegar, select a high-acid white like Gavi, Vinho Verde or Sauvignon Blanc to match the dish’s tartness.
Keep the grill fired up for dessert, and top grilled mango and pineapple slices with vanilla ice cream and toasted coconut. Sip a glass of demi-sec Champagne or late harvest Viognier and toast the end of summer.
Kelly Magyarics is a wine writer and educator in the Washington, DC, area. Kelly can be reached through her website, www.trywine.net.