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6 Wines to Serve at Your Next Barbecue

A backyard barbecue doesn't necessarily mean you have to serve beer with your burgers. Wine expert Tara Devon O'Leary has 6 wonderful wines that will pair with food and are delicious to drink on a warm day.

By
Tara Devon O'Leary
August 30, 2013

There's still a little summer left to enjoy, so get out there and fire up the barbecue! 

No matter whether you’re a hot dog or hamburger lover, you’re going to want the perfect summer wines to wash it down with.

When you’re outside on a warm, sunny day, you want something cool and refreshing in your glass. These are 6 wines that will see you through any barbecue and have your friends thinking you’re a wine genius!

Wine #1: Gavi from Piedmont, Italy (grape variety: Cortese)

Gavi is the Pringles of wine – you can’t have just 1 (bottle), so do yourself a favor and grab a handful!  Bright, with notes of tropical fruit and good levels of refreshing acidity, this medium-bodied wine is the ideal thirst quencher and will pair with your herbed chicken or grilled haloumi cheese.  A great one to try is the Le Marne Gavi from Michele Chiarlo.

Wine #2: Riesling from Oregon, USA

You may know Pinot Gris from Oregon or Riesling from Germany, but Riesling from Oregon is a well-kept secret (until now). These wines have all the alluring Riesling characters of citrus fruit, minerality, and a touch of spice, and would be fabulous with grilled Cajun snapper, grilled corn, and tex-mex bean salad. With an average alcohol of 12-13%, they won’t have you snoozing under the umbrella while the burgers burn! A super example is the Montinore Estate Reserve Riesling.

Wine #3: Rosé from France

Rosé lends itself to a sunny day with friends. Rosé isn’t meant to be serious, it’s simply meant to be drinkable.  It also happens to pair really well with grilled meats – just keep it cool and it will look after you. Tavel is an appellation in the Southern Rhone of France dedicated to producing dry rosé from Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, and Mourvedre. These wines have more body than their cousins from Provence and are brimming with aromas and flavors of summer berries and will go perfectly with your chicken parts, salmon fillets, and pork sausages. I like the Chateau D’Aqueria Tavel Rosé.

Wine #4: Beaujolais (grape variety: Gamay)

Stick this red wine in the ice bucket for 10-15 minutes (or in the fridge for 20) before you open and the fruit will burst from the bottle.  The wines of Beaujolais are sadly underrated and often associated only with the fruity and frivolous Beaujolais Nouveau, but these wines are so much more.  Fresh, light, and cherried, they’re all too easy to drink. For something with a bit more complexity, without pomposity, try one of the 10 Beaujolais Crus (villages), 3 of which are: Morgon, Fleurie, and Brouilly.  Pair them with your rosemary chicken, veggie skewers, and juicy burgers.  A few producers to look for: Château Thivin, Arnaud Aucoeur, and Domaine Dupeuble.  Louis Jadot is a good and inexpensive Beaujolais.

Wine #5: Nebbiolo from Piedmont, Italy

Nebbiolo is the revered grape of the Barolos and Barbarescos.  It’s a fascinating variety that combines delicate flavors of tart cherries with often substantial tannins – an ideal pair for sausages and steaks. There are several regions around the world giving the Italians a run for their money with this grape – one of which is Virginia in the U.S.  You’ll be blown away by the Breaux Vineyards Nebbiolo. It's layered with dark fruit and cinnamon, good acidity and length for days. 

Wine #6: Moscato d’Asti from Italy

Once you’re done with the main meal and cakes and cookies make an appearance, you’ll want something sweet to go with them. Moscato d’Asti is lightly sparkling, delicately sweet, and totally irresistible. After the big barbecue flavors, this wine will liven up your palate and awaken your sweet tooth. Look for the label with the orange sun coming through the clouds and pick up a few bottles of the Nivole from Michele Chiarlo.

Here’s to trying something new, learning something new, and enjoying every glass a whole lot more!

Cheers!

***

Tara Devon O’Leary knows that wine can often be confusing and overwhelming, but with just the right information it can also be one of life’s greatest pleasures. Tara is a sommelier, author of the popular blog WinePassionista.com, and co-host of the online wine show “The Punch Down.” Tara holds a Diploma certification from the world-renowned Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) where she is also a Certified Educator. She is accredited by the Society of Wine Educators as a Certified Specialist of Wine, is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers, and has served as judge at major annual international wine competitions. Tara's advice is delivered with a dash of flair, heaps of enthusiasm, and zero snobbery.

Connect with Tara on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Barbecue and wine and steak image from Shutterstock.

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