With 4th of July Celebrations just a few days away, it’s time to fire up the grill and uncork a few bottles. You can’t lose with the old standbys—Cabernet Sauvignon with steak, Merlot with lamb, and Chardonnay with fish—but this summer try throwing a few new varietals into the mix.
While most people head straight for the reds, a few good whites deserve a place at your next barbeque alongside a platter of grilled seafood, pork, or chicken. Look for full-bodied, complex whites like an elegant Pinot Gris, Marsanne, Roussanne, or Viognier. Grilled scallops accentuate a lush Marsanne or Roussanne, while a lively Gewürtztraminer or Chenin Blanc will contrast with a spicy sauce or fruit salsa. Complement a platter of grilled vegetables with a grassy Sauvignon Blanc or a crisp, peppery Grüner-Veltliner. (Steer clear of the lighter whites; they’ll be overwhelmed by the bold flavors of the grill.)
Young, vigorous red wines are a natural with grilled meats, and for good reason: the fruit, oak, and tannins can stand up to more pronounced grill flavors. A big, tannic Malbec sings with grilled meat, as does a spicy Petite Sirah and rugged Grenache. A fruity Zinfandel makes a seamless pairing with barbequed chicken while a peppery, smoky Syrah is the best burger wine. Grilled vegetables will hold their own with certain reds: Rioja and grilled eggplant brings out the earthy qualities in both. Don’t forget the rosé; it’s the go-to wine when the temperature’s rising that will enhance everything you’re serving.