This summer has had a very slow start but that won’t stop us from making the most out of a sunny day, which often includes enjoying food and drinks with friends outside. And while picnics and beer garden pints are both lovely, summer’s main al fresco occasion is the barbecue.
And whether you’re planning or attending one, the right bottle of wine enhances the enjoyment of both the food and the company.
If you’re going for the classic, meat-packed BBQ, choose red wines with moderate or high tannins and intensity of flavours… They’ll need them to cut through the meat’s fat and to stand their ground when matched with rich and smokey dishes. You can look for some oak ageing, but no need to go Gran Reserva, a Crianza or a Reserva will give you the happy medium between youthful and mature.
If you’re BBQing chicken or root vegetables, a white wine with a rich texture might be the one for you, especially if there are creamy dips on the table. A Chardonnay with a little bit of oak ageing or a white Rioja are two sound options.
For lighter grills, especially seafood, you can explore white wines from coastal regions. This is a good time to apply the old sayin’, what grows together goes together. Delight yourself with Albarino from Rias Baixas, Touraine or Sancerre (or a zesty New World Sauv Blanc) or keep it light and mellow with a glass of Soave from Italy.
Looking for some inspiration? Check out ten lovely wines that will pair nicely with BQQ foods…
Bodega Classica Hacienda Lopez de Haro Crianza
€17 – Available at Green Man Wines, Jus de Vine, Fallon & Byrne
This balanced and mouth-filling Rioja is a blend of the traditional regional varieties: Graciano, Garnacha and Tempranillo.
It combines ripe cherry and blackberry notes with a mellow spiciness (vanilla, cinnamon, a touch of pepper) as well as a soft hint of toast and cocoa.
Enjoy its firm tannins with some asado cuts or smokey ribs.
Los Coches Syrah
€9 (on offer from €9.95) – Available at O’Briens Wine
A plump and fruity, medium bodied Chilean Syrah at an estelar value.
Notes of ripe blackberries combine with a pinch of pepper.
It had a brief rest in oak barrels, enough to give it a bit of structure but not to overpower its fruity character.
Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon
€21 – Available at Wineonline.ie, Worldwide Wines
One of Chile’s international superstars, this elegant and powerful Cab Sauv hails from the prestigious Colchagua Valley.
Firm and structured, with strong tannins and a richness of flavours to back them up.
Expect notes of ripe blackcurrant, plums, liquorice, cocoa nibs, cedar and a herbacious background.
La La Land Tempranillo
€16.95 – Available at O’Briens Wine
This wine is playful from the label to its last drop.
It is a smooth Tempranillo from the warm lands of Murray Darling, Victoria, in Australia.
It’s bold, with moderate tannins, juicy texture and filled with ripe blackberry and cherry notes, wrapped in with a gentle touch of toast.
Primanero Organic Primitivo
€9.99 – Available at Aldi
Organic Primitivo grapes from the Italian region of Puglia star in this velvety meat-lovers’ red.
It’s full bodied and with the pleasant bittersweet kick of dark chocolate.
Very ripe cherries, plums and dry cranberries blend in with vanilla notes into a juicy, plump sip.
Andean Vineyards Malbec
€14.99 – Available at Martin’s Off Licence, The Corkscrew, wineonline.ie, Jus the Vine
This multi award-winning Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina is a classic example of its style and as such, it pairs wonderfully well with meats.
It’s rich and intense, with big tannins and plenty of ripe blackberry and cranberry fruitiness to balance them up.
A crowd pleaser, and a very versatile red that will go well with beef, burguers, ribs and of course, Argentinian style asado.
Cave Saint Désirat Septentrio Saint-Joseph
€27.99 – Available at Martin’s Off Licence
An Old World take on a grape variety often associated with BBQ.
This Syrah-dominated blend from the Saint-Joseph appellation within France’s northern Rhone Valley offers a more restrained and sharp rendition of the variety.
Very intense, lean body but with medium tannins and with plenty of black and white pepper notes and some black fruit preserve.
Clos del Portal Negre De Negres
€37.50 – Available at The Corkscrew, Martin’s Off Licence, Fallon & Byrne
A dark and powerful red from the Spanish region of Priorat.
It has a fresh start on the palate, but soon its complexity takes over and offers you a balanced combination of very ripe blackberry, dark chocolate, liquorice, pepper and a floral hint in the background.
The tension between its high acidity and its full tannins makes it feel smooth and lean despite its alcohol level, it is one to bring out if you want to treat yourself and your guests.
Salentin Barrel Selection Cahrdonnay
€19.50 – Available at Celtic Whiskey Shop
Aged Chardonnay from Argentina’s Valle de Uco is one of South America’s best kept wine secrets and this full bodied bottle shows why.
Buttery and with a silky texture and moderate acidity, it combines notes of ripe limes, lemoncurd and green apple with a touch of vanilla and cream biscuit.
This white will please non-red drinkers in your crowd and it will be wonderful companion to chicken wings, sausages and even hot dogs.
Saint Jean des Sources Picpoul de Pinet
€14.95 – Available at Searsons Wines
This zesty French white wine is your friend if you’re throwing white fish or shrimp in the grill. It is also a fantastic aperitif and a good companion for salads.
It has a high acidity and a lean body, with sharp citrus fruit leading the flavours, followed by crisp nectarines and an almost sea salt-like touch in the finish.
FEATURE BY GABY GUEDEZ