At the time of writing, the UK is experiencing the hottest April temperatures for some years, and it’s reminded everyone to dust the barbecue off and get set for al fresco dining.
And just as important as the food is the wine. It’s often an integral part of the perfect barbecue, but we’re not just talking about serving up a random wine with your burger. It is possible to serve it correctly and with complementary food when you’re eating outside.
Classic wine pairings
Here are some classic BBQ/wine pairings, that will tantalise taste buds and improve the food – even if it’s a blackened sausage!
- Steak – to enjoy your juicy, barbecued steak match it with a Zinfandel with its spicy, brambly flavour. Malbec or a Shiraz works well too.
- Burgers – the perennial barbecue favourite is enhanced with Cotes du Rhone, Zinfandel again, Syrah or Touriga Nacional, which is a dark-skinned, rich Portuguese wine.
- Chicken – a good old Chardonnay works best, ideally from a warm climate.
- Sausages – Malbec, a Southern French wine or the Spanish favourite Tempranillo all work well.
- Pork chops – choose a dry rose, a Riesling or a New World Pinot Noir to complement your pork. Obviously, a crisp cider also works well.
- Salmon – a chilled Cava or Rose Champagne will hit the spot with this rich, oily fish. Or try a Pinot Gris, New World Riesling or the Beaujolais grape Gamay.
- Halloumi – this sharp cheese works well on a barbecue, and even better when paired with a Sauvignon Blanc, Chablis, Prosecco, Semillion of Chenin Blanc.
We’ve named many choices here, and even for the poshest barbecue, we know it’s not practical to buy every single one. So, here is a list of excellent all-round wines that match a variety of foods, are easy to find in the supermarket and not too expensive. Choose from:
- New World Pinot Noir
- Vins de pays reds and whites
- Dry Rose
- New world Riesling
- Sparkling Methode Champenoise.
All of these are light and enjoyable when chilled but have enough punch to cut through the strong flavours of whatever you have on your barbecue.
To chill or not to chill?
If it’s hotter than 20°C outside, then chilling your red wines is the way to go. Red wines are always served best at room temperature, which is anywhere between 13 and 18°C. The cooler red wine will offset the hot meat beautifully, and it’s the very best way to enjoy al fresco dining. If possible, only serve in traditional glasses and avoid plastic cups, as this improves the flavour.