Wine vs Grill: Which Wine with BBQ Wins?

August 9, 2013 Blog » Wine Tips & Tricks » Wine vs Grill: Which Wine with BBQ Wins?

My friends are hosting a barbecue and they gave me the option to bring booze. Beer and gin would be the classic summer choice (and tequila when applicable). But I am a wine person and they know this. So, how do I serve wine with bbq without looking ostentatious?

Also, what are classic barbecue wine pairings?

Shed some light on wine pairing with barbecue because with a few tricks in addition to finding a great wine. Here are 3 tips and 13 wines to drink at a barbecue.

Barbecue with Wine

Brisket Burgers Chicken Sausage Mushrooms
Sparkling Wine
Sauvignon Blanc
Dry Riesling
Dry Rosé
Pinot Noir
Cabernet Franc
Touriga Nacional
Classic outdoor barbecue wines. Most of these varieties can be found around the $10-$15 mark.

barbecue grill on fire


perfect with a bendy straw

TIP 1: The Wine Substitute for Beer

Beer is the standard choice for barbecue because it acts as a palate cleanser. Drinks like this scrape out richness and fat on your palate with acidity and coldness.
Looking for the same effect with wine? Sparkling wine has the same palate-cleansing effect. There are also several high-acid white wines like dry Riesling, Grüner Veltliner and Sauvignon Blanc that will work nicely. Pommery Pop (pictured right) is expensive. Instead get a $10-15 bottle of Cava and buy a longer straw…
Compare different wine substitutes for common beers

TIP 2: Hot Outside? Serve It Chilled

It was nearly 95 degrees out when I just randomly decided to throw a bottle of 2004 Reserva Rioja into the fridge. Wine aficionados may shiver in their boots but the fact of the matter was, that under those circumstances, it tasted better. When you chill a wine with big tannins it acts more like iced tea: extremely refreshing.

Chill your red wines. Don’t think, just do it.

When the president of Portugal’s largest independent wine company hands you a glass of Sandeman Founder’s Reserve Port on the rocks, you try it. You’ll never see Port wine the same again.


Hands down, cheapest/best Sangria recipe ever.

TIP 3: Think Cheap

Forget splurging that extra $3-$10 for the perfect bottle of wine and use the money for barbecue accoutrements like chips. Also, if your wine selection is super limited and you’re going to buy something under $6, check out this Instant Sangria Recipe. We’ve tested it against the Sangria in Rioja, and still think it’s less-sweet and more delicious. Or make the season’s current fave: Kalimotxo.

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By Madeline Puckette
I'm a certified sommelier and creator of the NYT Bestseller, Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine. Find me out there in the wine world @WineFolly