Burgers, brats and barbecue are essentials to any Fourth of July cookout (along with the fireworks of course). 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 wine and food pairing can bring any grill out to the next level:
MALBEC & CABERNET SAUVIGNON
Pair with: steak, cheeseburgers
Why this works – Tannic red wines are delicious and surprisingly effective at cleansing your palate after that hefty bite of your melty cheeseburger or fatty steak. Back in the day, these cookout classics were often consumed with Coke, so choosing wines with bittersweet characteristics 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 tannin level, making them both 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 or hot off the grill. Just be sure to have a few napkins around.
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 with earthy undertones, 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 like chicken, 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 freshly 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 seafood and lemon, and the herbaceous qualities of Sauvignon Blanc compliment a dish like white fish seasoned with rosemary and thyme.
Whichever wine you uncork for your Fourth of July festivities, keep these pairings in mind for a guaranteed success, on and off the grill.