Burgers, brats, and barbecue are all essential to a summer cookout. But even more essential? The beverages! While wine isn’t typically thought of as the go-to drink at warm weather get-togethers, the proper pairing can bring any grill-out to the next level:
Malbec & Cabernet Sauvignon
Pair with: steak, cheeseburgers
Why this works – Tannic red wines act as deliciously effective palate cleansers after taking a bite of a melty cheeseburger or fatty steak. Back in the day, these BBQ classics were often consumed with Coke so, choosing wines with bitter-sweet characteristics also pays homage to our favorite old school pairing.
Merlot & Zinfandel
Pair with: burgers, grilled chicken, brats, portobello mushrooms
Why this works – Both Merlot and Zinfandel lie in the middle of the red wine spectrum when it comes to acidity and tannins, making them super smooth and food friendly. Being inherently fruit-forward with hints of baking spices or black pepper (particularly in Zins), these wines were practically made for anything smothered in barbecue sauce.
Pinot Noir & Gamay
Pair with: brats, salmon, portobello mushrooms, veggie burgers
Why this works – Pinot Noir and Gamay are both light enough in body for grilled salmon, but complex enough in flavor to hold up to seasoned veggie burgers or brats. Pinot Noir is often described as having secondary flavors of mushrooms or earth, so pairing Pinot + Portobellos is a no-brainer.
Pair with: grilled chicken, brats, shrimp, salmon, portobello mushroom, veggie burger
Why this works – Rosé and Summer is practically a pairing in itself, so it only makes sense that this wine works well with most BBQ basics. Rosé is refreshing like a white, but often drinks like a red. Chill this varietal and serve it up with lighter meats, or sip it solo (we certainly won’t judge).
Chardonnay & Viognier
Pair with: grilled chicken, shrimp, salmon
Why this works – Both Chardonnay and Viognier are full-bodied white wines, ranging from smooth and buttery to citrusy and aromatic. Pairing either of these varietals with fatty fish, buttered shrimp, or grilled chicken (bonus points for fresh squeezed lemon) perfectly mirrors the white wines’ flavor and texture.
Pinot Grigio & Sauvignon Blanc
Pair with: shrimp, grilled white fish
Why this works – Lean white proteins call for light-bodied wines with zesty and refreshing acidity. The citrus notes of Pinot Grigio pair effortlessly with shrimp or fish and lemon, and the herbaceous qualities of Sauvignon Blanc compliment a dish like rosemary and thyme seasoned white fish.