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3 Wine Pairings for Your Next Al Fresco BBQ

3 Wine Pairings for Your Next Al Fresco BBQ

Jul 03 2017

With all this gorgeous weather we've been having recently, it's the perfect time to enjoy some al fresco dining at home with friends and family. Although there's plenty of barbecue dishes you can think of to throw on the BBQ grill, what type of drinks are best served with barbecue food? Believe it or not, there's plenty of wines that'll pair perfectly with a freshly grilled meal straight off your custom BBQ island. Regardless of the dish, you'll want to include a refreshing and crisp selection to go with your grilled feast. 


As our friends at the CA Wine Club say, “Having fun, and experimenting is the ultimate secret to creating a magical food and wine experience.”



Traditional BBQ chicken and lemon garlic asparagus

For a traditional BBQ chicken with a side of lemon garlic asparagus, you’ll want to go with a white wine for sure. If you want a smoother, refreshing taste, serve a chilled, lighter-bodied Italian Pinot Grigio in a small wine glass with a rim that tapers inward to enhance the bouquet. We recommend such a glass for all wines, especially white wines. You can do a comparison yourself and see the difference. Pour the same wine in two glasses, a larger and a smaller glass with a tapering rim, and you’ll be amazed at the difference in smell and taste. 


If you want something more interesting, spicier, and more conspicuous on the tongue, go with a lightly-chilled Sauvignon blanc made from grapes grown in a warmer region like California.


Grilled BBQ pork ribs and seasoned potatoes

If you're interested in mixing it up with some grilled ribs and seasoned potatoes, be sure to serve something that will stand up to the meaty goodness of the entrée like a rich Syrah or fruity Zinfandel. Go for a loud full-bodied Zinfandel with high acidity and moderate tannins, something jammy, briary, and brambly, with sweetly aromatic notes of fruit and berries. That would contrast best with spicier ribs, though you could also go with a complex, high-tannins Syrah to add some grip if you prepare your ribs a little less spicy.



Grilled shrimp and sautéed veggies

If you’re cooking grilled shrimp and sautéed vegetables, pair a rich, medium-bodied white wine for a really zesty combination. Pick a well-balanced Chardonnay with notes of lemon to add some bright, perky, acidity and rounded out with subtle hints of buttery flavored notes.


Of course, any fresh, light white wine will serve just about any kind of grilled seafood well, included grilled salmon, or tuna, or grilled lobster. But something bright, crisp, and zingy really adds something special to the meal.


A primer on how to enjoy wine

As with any wine, to really enjoy your wine the most, instead of just pouring and sipping away, take your time and get to know the wine (and your own tongue) as you pair it with your meal. Let it aerate by swirling it gently around the glass. Before drinking, put your nose right into the glass. This is an acceptable way to test and enjoy wine. All of he variations of wine smells absolutely wonderful and often judged by their scent and its potency.


Take a deep inhale with your nose in the glass and let the bouquet overwhelm your olfactory senses. Before you drink, go for another deep inhale, and if you’d like— a third is more than fine. Then tilt your glass and sip some wine and let it roll slowly backward from the tip of your tongue. If you pay attention you will notice the flavor change from sweeter to more astringent as it traverses the gradient of taste buds on your tongue.



Now it’s time to enjoy the wine and the meal with friends and family on the outdoor patio. Continue to enjoy slowly and thoughtfully. Drinking wine is one of the most underrated pleasures in life.

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