Firing up the ‘cue this weekend? Go beyond beers and burgers for some truly fabulous wine pairings with your charred, smoky, spicy and caramelized dinners.
Nine wines that make any barbecue better
BrisketBrisket seems to be the mark of a die-hard ‘cuer and hot debates over temperatures, cooking times and smoking levels ripple throughout the BBQ pit. Whatever, just pass me a glass of Cabernet and a slab of slow-cooked, tender beef and I’ll be fine. TRY: Chateau Ducla Bordeaux Superior 2011, France, $15.95 Thinkstock/Chateau Ducla
ChickenWhile many would opt for a white wine with grilled poulet smothered in sweet barbecue sauce, and there’s nothing wrong with that, I think the sweet charring can stand up to a moderately spicy Shiraz. Give it a try and let me know what you think. TRY: Are You Game? Shiraz, Australia, $16.95Thinkstock/Are You Game?
FishRacy, fruity, sauvignon blancs really measure up to the smoky weight of grilled fish. No matter if it be white-fleshed halibut, or oily, grilled sardines, the wine’s naturally higher acidity cuts through the richness of the fish — just like a squeeze of lemon. TRY: Casa Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Chile, $15Thinkstock/Casa Lapostolle
MediterraneanBarbecued lamb with rosemary? Chicken kabobs with tzatziki? We’ve only listed two dishes and I’ve already got about six wines lined up. Luckily, a sparkling rosé is a great switch hitter when embarking on a Mediterranean culinary cruise. TRY: Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Rosé Brut, Ontario, $24.95Thinkstock/Henry of Pelham
Pulled porkPulled pork is all about the sauce: some are sweeter, some are spicier, but generally there’s usually a balance between sweet, tangy, juicy and fatty (sorry, but it’s true). Dry rosés, with crisp acid and red berry flavours, really do the trick here. TRY: Cave Spring Dry Rosé 2013, Ontario $14.95Thinkstock/Cave Spring
RibsTender, juicy, smoky ribs work best with a juicy, fruity red wine that’s easy on tannins. I typically like zinfandel, but if you’re already tiring of that pairing (it’s only June!), try a Barbara d’Alba from Italy. TRY: Ascheri Barbera d’Alba 2012, Italy, $15.75Thinkstock/Ascheri Barbera d’Alba
SausagesFor simple fare like grilled hamburgers, franks and sausages, you don’t need to get too complicated. In fact, it’s probably better that you don’t. An easy going Côtes du Rhône, that still has some weight and structure is my pick for laid back barbecued meats. TRY: E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2012, France, $17.95Thinkstock/Guigal Côtes du Rhône
ShellfishSweltery summer nights at the cottage were made for seafood feasts. Inherently rich, with a natural sweetness seafood is a great pairing for Chardonnay. TRY: Mission Hill 5 Vineyards Chardonnay 2012, British Columbia, $15.95Thinkstock/Mission Hill 5 Vineyards
VegetablesVeggies take on a smoky-sweetness when grilled. Heartier items like onions, mushrooms, peppers and zucchini usually get the charcoal treatment, which match really well to a slightly earthier red, like Tempranillo, that balances fruit with wild herb and earth flavours. TRY: Radio Boca Tempranillo 2012, Spain, $10.95Thinkstock/Radio Boca