Wine & Your Backyard BBQ

As we wrap up June and head into July, we are fully immersed in BBQ season. Offer your guests an explosion of flavor by enhancing your foods with the perfect condiment, wine!

Smoked Meats

Red wines that show significant oak, spice, or smoke lead me to immediately think smoked meat, for obvious reasons! The oak and/or spice of many Syrahs, for instance, will enhance the smokey flavor of the meats beautifully, as will its fruit forwardness. My pick is DeLoach Private Collection Russian River Valley Syrah.

Grilled Red Meat

Many California Red Blends such as Full Rack and The Prospector are crafted to be quintessential backyard BBQ blends. Both of these particular blends combine some notorious big reds that will make grilled red meat like burgers and steaks shine!

Grilling adds a bitter charred taste to foods, and the fruit forwardness of Full Rack and The Prospector will contrast that bitterness.

BBQ Sauce

When I consider foods with BBQ sauce, my mouth waters when I picture a big jammy, juicy Zinfandel in my glass. Pulled pork or pulled chicken, BBQ ribs, burgers smothered in BBQ sauce.

The blackberry, raspberry, and plum notes of Zinfandel will compliment the tangy and often sweeter flavors of the BBQ sauce, and whether lightly or heavily oaked will enhance a smoky flavor. My current pick, Saints and Zinners Zinfandel from Paso Robles.


Summer seafood is often dipped or drenched in melted butter, and nothing pairs better with buttered seafood than a nice Chardonnay! Whether you prefer the vanilla notes and creamy, buttery texture of an oaked Chard, or you prefer the crispness of an unoaked Chardonnay, you will find a home run with either wine at your clam bake or crawfish boil. Francis Ford Coppola’s Cafe Zoetrope Chardonnay is simply divine.

Antipasto Salad

“If it grows together, it goes together!” When serving Italian meats, cheeses, and olives, think Italian wine, either red OR white! The fat and salt components of the meats, cheeses, and olives in antipasto salad will smooth out the acid in any white, allowing the wine’s fruit to come to the forefront while still offering a crisp zestiness. I suggest Il Poeta Gavi from Piemonte or Saracosa Vermentino from Toscana IGT.

If you prefer a heavier wine and deeper fruit flavor, you will find Italian reds such as Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Chianti Classico (such as Lornano Le Macchie Chianti Classico), Nero d’Avola, or Barbera (such as Casa Taurini Barbera d’Asti Superiore) to be magical with this dish!

Pasta and Potato Salads

Pasta and potato salads, whether dressed with a vinaigrette or light mayonnaise, pair deliciously with crisp, fruity white wines, such as Zapapico Torrontes from Argentina or Sonnenstrahl Gruner Veltliner from Austria. Matching the medium bodied weight of the wines with the medium weight of the salad will ensure one doesn’t overpower the other’s flavors.

Green Salads

Pinot Grigio (such as Paolo Valle Pinot Grigio from Colli Orientali del Friuli DOP) and Sauvignon Blanc (such as the Chilean Riversong Sauvignon Blanc) are particularly pleasing with lemon drizzle. Pairing a green salad with a lemon vinaigrette would be refreshing to the palate while enhancing the flavors of a variety of crisp vegetables.


What’s a backyard BBQ without s’mores? You can really pair these with a variety of wines. Bigger, bold reds such as A Tavola Cabernet Sauvignon, or lighter, fruitier reds such as The Arch Pinot Noir, and even sweet and fruity if you choose.


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