Barbecue Wines: 6 Matches for Summer Food Heaven
Forget Insta-worthy fusion tasting menus, Pinterest-inspired centrepieces and piles of carefully coiffed meringues. The beauty of the Great British Barbecue lies in a relaxed attitude to eating: sticky fingers, ants in your salad and sausages charred on the outside but 'rare' in the middle are all part of the fun (seriously though, don't touch the sausages).
Similarly, pedantic barbecue and wine matching has no place here, and while the golden rules of food and wine matching will stand you in good stead we've gone one better in solving your barbecue and wine matching woes. Read on for our guide to the ultimate barbecue wines and what to serve with them for maximum barbecue brownie points, plus a special mixed case for truly fuss-free summer eating.
An exceptionally fine fizz bursting with zingy lemon freshness. Gorgeous nutty notes add complexity and will win over Champagne-loving friends with its classy toasty flavours and food-friendly appeal.
Eat: This is the perfect pre-barbecue aperitif served with Spanish-inspired snacks, such as dangerously moreish ham and cheese croquetas, or paired with vegetable tempura which makes the most of cava's affinity with crisp, salty batter. Goat's cheese whipped up with chives and black pepper, then wrapped in parma ham, or dolloped on crunchy bruschetta is a heavenly pairing too, as the bubbles help to cut through the richness of the cheese.
When it comes to charring Fred Flinstone-worthy hunks of meat over open flame, you can trust the Argentines to come up with the perfect wine match. This intensely-flavoured red, packed with ripe black-fruit flavours and boasting a beautiful floral bouquet blends muscle and elegance with serious finesse. And if you want to know more about the art of the asado – barbecuing Argentine-style – read about it in Travels in Wine.
Eat: Juicy barbecued burgers, sticky glazed sausages and slow-cooked, marinated beef make an inspired match with this bold wine. Meaty doesn't have to mean carnivorous though: the robust fleshiness of an aubergine grilled to crispy-skinned, melting perfection is a joy too.
A vibrant, succulent Spanish garnacha from dynamic young winemakers on the much-loved Zorzal estate in Navarra. Packed with juicy red-fruit flavours, this charming wine is a real people-pleaser.
Eat: The easy-going nature of this wine means it takes the usual barbecue suspects in its stride; think sausages, burgers and spiced spatchcocked chicken. The aromatic spices of the middle-east – cumin, coriander, mild chilli – mixed with oil and slathered on veg before grilling also make this sunshine-ready favourite sing.
This vibrant pink rosé isn't just gorgeous on the outside; packed with cherry-fruit flavours (courtesy of Italy's very own corvina grape) and refreshing acidity, this is a very cheery glassful that's bound to get everyone talking.
Eat: This rosé is all about the side dishes: garlicky olives, Greek salad spiked with salty feta, pesto-drizzled tomatoes and the king of salads, classic chicken Caesar.
This white Burgundy is always a hit with our members and it's no surprise; full-bodied, rich yet refreshing, it's as delicious a match with soft creamy cheeses as it is with roast chicken. The perfect unoaked white for winning over your ABC (anything but chardonnay) friends.
Eat: Gooey baked camembert (probably safest done in the oven!) or rather than a roast, try barbecue spatchcock chicken instead. Mix some olive oil, garlic and lemon juice with chopped fresh herbs, brush over the chicken and allow it to marinate for 30 mins in the fridge before cooking. Baste regularly and allow to rest covered in foil before serving. Just add sunshine.
With its opulent tropical-fruit aromas and citrus-freshness, Marlborough sauvignon blanc is sunshine in a glass. Wonderfully uncomplicated and deliciously refreshing, this is a great everyday fridge-door favourite for impromptu barbecues on the beach.
Eat: Fresh seafood such as grilled prawns and white fish work especially well for a beachside barbecue, or match with avocado side dishes such as guacamole, which tastes wonderful with sauvignon blanc's fresh, green flavours.
Try: Smoked chicken and avocado salad as a vibrant side dish.
Find more barbecue recipes here >