Summer is a time to take to the coals, when the sun is shining and the weather is sweet.
Friends and family gather al fresco bringing an array of salads, sides and condiments to accompany the classic, yet varied, barbecue choices.
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Wine plays a central and important part in rounding off the perfect barbecue, but are all too often served incorrectly or with completely the wrong food – you should count yourself lucky if you have escaped holding a plate with a burnt item resembling meat holding a plastic cup of warm Chardonnay.
What are classic barbecue (BBQ) wine pairings?
Here are some of the top matches for classic barbecue dishes. For ease of use, we’ve overlooked the uses of marinades and sauces.
- Steak – Malbec, Syrah/Shiraz, Zinfandel
- Burgers – Touriga Nacional, Syrah, Zinfandel, and Côtes du Rhone.
- Sausages – Beer, Malbec, Southern French, Tempranillo
- Chicken – Warmer climate Chardonnay
- Pork Chops – Cider, Valpolicella, Barbera, New World Pinot Noir, dry rosé, Riesling
- Salmon – Rosé Champagne or Cava, New World Pinot Noir, Gamay, dry rosé, New World Riesling, Pinot Gris
- Halloumi – Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, Chenin Blanc, Chablis, Friulano, Verdejo, Assyrtiko, New World Riesling, dry rosé, Prosecco
Of course it would be simply impractical to purchase so many different types of wine.
There are some good all-rounders that tick many of the boxes needed for a great barbecue; it can match a multitude of foods, it’s easy to find, in-expensive, can be chilled yet with enough punch to push through any food that has been above the white hot coals for a length of time.
- New World Pinot Noir
- Vins de pays whites and reds
- Dry Rosé
- New world Riesling
- Methode Champenoise sparkling
Top tips for serving
A cooler red offset against piping hot, flamed meat, is the only way to serve wine at a barbecue. And avoid plastic cups if possible.
Great BBQ wine picks, tasted by Decanter experts
First published in August 2016. Wines have been updated in May 2019.