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BBQ Wine: Great bottles to drink with classic barbecue dishes

From juicy Zinfandel with burgers to rosé Champagne with salmon and Chardonnay with your BBQ chicken, here is some inspiration on the styles to choose if you're lucky enough to have sunshine and outdoor space this weekend.

BBQ wine suggestions at a glance:

Here are some wine pairings for classic barbecue dishes. For ease of use, we’ve overlooked the uses of marinades and sauces.

  • SteakMalbec, Syrah/Shiraz
  • Burgers – Zinfandel, Grenache blends (like Côtes du Rhône), Cabernet Sauvignon
  • SausagesTempranillo, Gamay, Pinot Noir
  • BBQ chicken – Warmer climate Chardonnay
  • Pork chops – Valpolicella, Barbera, Riesling, dry rosé
  • Salmon – Rosé Champagne, Pinot Gris, Chilled Pinot Noir
  • Sardines – Albariño, Picpoul de Pinet
  • HalloumiSauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, Assyrtiko
  • Veggie Skewers –  Chenin Blanc (fresher styles), dry rosé, Gamay

What kind of wine goes with a BBQ? 

There are few things better than a barbecue in the sunshine with a delicious glass of wine.

Choosing a good bottle for your bbq wine can really elevate the occasion, although you could also look to a new wave of canned wines or bag-in-box wines, as well.

Forget those days of washing down a burnt burger with warm Chardonnay or ‘cooked’ red served in a plastic cup, because you have a lot of wine options to suit different tastes and foods.

If you’re going big on the spice, then you could lean towards fruitier reds or whites with a touch of sweetness, such as off-dry Riesling, for example.

Pinot Gris from Alsace might work better if your salmon has Southeast Asia-inspired flavours.

Sausages with lots of herbs, such as fennel or sage, could be fun with a juicy red. A Grenache blend from southern Rhône could be a winner, particularly if you can find one with herbal hints of ‘garrigue’.

Do you know somebody who wants to start learning about how to pair, taste and serve your favourite wines? Pairing & serving wine: a guide for the real beginner is a new online learning course from Decanter designed to introduce the basic principles and start beginners on their journey through the fascinating world of wine. Find out more… 

All-rounder BBQ wines

Of course, it’s unlikely that you’re going to purchase 10 types of wine and impose strict pairing regulations on the occasion.

There are some great all-rounder wines that tick many of the boxes needed for a great barbecue.

Styles to consider include:

  • Malbec
  • Pinot Noir
  • Gamay
  • Dry Rosé
  • Riesling
  • Champagne and other traditional method sparkling wines

Best rosé wines – 20 under £20

Top tips for serving wines at a BBQ

If it’s above 20°C, 68°F, outside then it’s perfectly acceptable to chill your red wines.

Even the most powerful red wines are best at ‘room temperature’, which is no more than 18°C, or around 65°F.

Also, and this almost goes without saying these days, but avoid plastic cups if possible.

First published in August 2016, with original copy and pairings by Harry Fawkes. Editing and wine reviews (below) added by Chris Mercer in May 2021.

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