Hosting weekend barbecues with friends is one of the best ways to enjoy summer at a social distance. We can’t think of a better way to savor the season than by gathering around the people you love (six feet apart, of course) and sipping stellar juice with a variety of grilled foods. However, the long-standing question remains: Which wines pair best with summer barbecue fare? The options are endless, so we’ve put together six strategies for building a go-to case of wine that covers all of your bases. Simply follow the tips below, sip what you love, and get ready to have your thirst quenched.
Acid Is Key
When it comes to food and wine pairings, acid is key. The natural acidity found in wine cuts through fatty foods, complements salt, and above all, keeps your palate salivating between bites. During warm weather months, seeking out high-acid wines is the perfect way to stay satiated throughout the duration of a barbecue. For mouthwatering white wines, we recommend saline-tinged Albariños (particularly those from Alberto Nanclares and Raúl Pérez), peppery Gruner Veltliners, and/or bone dry Rieslings.
Keep Your Reds Varied
Red wine and summer are not mutually exclusive, especially when grilled foods are the topic in question. We can’t imagine pairing juicy burgers and smoked meats with anything but a chilled glass of savory red wine. For meat-based favorites, we particularly love sipping a glass of earth-driven Syrah or an ashy pour of Etna Rosso. Vegetarians, fear not. There’s a chilled glass of red wine in your future, too. For grilled portobello mushrooms, eggplant, and vegetable skewers, reaching for a peppery bottle of Cabernet Franc or thirst-quenching pour of Pinot Noir is always a good idea.
...But Not Too Heavy
However, it is summer after all, and powerhouse reds aren’t always the most hydrating option. We tend to steer away from wines with excessively high ABVs and aggressive tannins, as both of these factors can be a bit unpleasant on warm evenings. For a red wine that’s certain to satisfy no matter what’s on the menu, sticking with a ‘chillable red’ is always a good idea. Chillable red wines have high levels of acid, low levels of tannins, and are insanely fruit forward -- think wines produced from Gamay, Pinot Noir, Trousseau, and more.
Rosé Is Your Friend
Looking for a bona fide crowd pleaser? Rosé is a solid pick. Call it the Goldilocks of wine, if you will, but we can’t think of a time where a solid pour of something pink is anything but just right. When crafted by excellent producers, rosé wine is both acid-driven and structured, meaning that it can stand up to an array of hearty dishes yet remains bright enough to be enjoyed solo.
Don’t Forget the Bubbles!
When the right bottle is popped, sipping something sparkling becomes a celebration in itself. We always have a bottle or two of bubbles in our go-to barbecue cases for a few reasons: they stimulate the palate, prepare you for a big meal, and pair perfectly with a variety of foods/snacks. For a fun and frothy start to the evening, snag a bottle of pét-nat. For a solid bottle of bubbles to get you through a variety of hearty dishes, look no further than a delicious bottle of Champagne. And for a post-dinner treat with a bit of residual sweetness, Patrick Bottex Bugey-Cerdon ‘La Cueille’ NV is where it’s at.
Drink What You Love (or Ask For a Rec)
Believe it or not, the number one food and wine pairing rule is actually more simple than you think: Drink what you love! Here at Verve Wine, we believe that wine is meant to spark joy and create special (albeit, socially-distant) moments amongst friends and family -- and nothing brings a group of people together like a delicious bottle of wine. When it comes to picking wines for your next go-to barbecue case, be sure to include something you love. Not sure where to start? Our staff’s got plenty of current favorites to get you started.