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Tips & Tricks

Wine vs Grill: Which Wine with BBQ Wins?

- Updated

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

TIP 1: The Wine Substitute for Beer

Popular Cava Producers Brands
Sparkling wines like Cava are often cheaper than beer per serving.

Beer is the go-to for barbecue because it acts as a palate cleanser. Drinks like this scrape out richness and fat on your palate with acidity, carbonation and coldness.
Looking for the same effect with wine? Sparkling wine has the same palate-cleansing effect. A great, wallet-friendly sparkler is Cava; it’s like the Spanish equivalent to Champagne. There are also several dry, high-acid white wines like dry Riesling, Grüner Veltliner and Sauvignon Blanc that offer a similar effect.
Compare different wine substitutes for common beers

TIP 2: Hot Outside? Serve It Chilled

Port Wine Cocktail - Ruby on the Rocks
“Ruby on the Rocks” Port wine cocktail

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.

TIP 3: Think Cheap

Hands down, cheapest best Sangria recipe ever.

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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AboutMadeline Puckette

James Beard Award-winning author and Wine Communicator of the Year. I co-founded Wine Folly to help people learn about wine. @WineFolly

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