As a master sommelier at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Dallas, Barbara Werley knows her chops when it comes to matching wine with meat. She’s conquered even the pickiest of pairings. (White wine with filet mignon? Psssst, easy.)
Here, she shares three tried-and-true approaches to match your outdoor grill fests with the perfect pours.
When in doubt, choose medium-bodied reds.
“There are so many different meats you can put on the grill—four-legged, two-legged, wild, [farm-]raised—but Rhône varietals, Tempranillo and Bordeaux blends go with just about everything. They’re not very heavy, fat wines like the ones from California. They generally have a little more elegance.”
Don’t be afraid to break the rules.
“My approach to pairing? Generally, what the guest wants. I’m not telling everyone that they have to have something red with our steak off the broiler if they don’t like red. I have what I call ‘steak whites.’ There are certain Chards that work, Alsace whites, Rhône whites—they generally have a little more substance to them.”
Start with the wine.
“Grilled chicken is probably one of the most versatile meats for wine. I would slightly chill a Beaujolais for summer. It will pair well with most preparations that include sauces or marinades. For a more full-flavored meat such as brisket, there are several local blends that would be perfect: Inwood Estates Cabernet/Tempranillo, McPherson’s red blends (from Rhône varietal wines) and Fall Creek’s red blends. They all have good structure and delicious fruit flavors that complement the beef.”