We get the feeling it’s going to be a lively summer. Be the life of the party with these 12 suggestions from our wine buyers for your next barbecue or beach day.
Get BBQ ready with generous Cabs that stand up to fat and char and aromatic Grecos that can’t be beat with grilled veggies. These wines are all 12 to be served alongside your grill creations.
BBQs aren’t all about rich reds. If you haven’t tasted the whites from historic Ch. Simone, their Palette Blanc with notes of peach, apple, poached pear, and chamomile, could be a revelatory pairing for pineapple barbecue. Tacos al pastor, anyone?
However, Cabernet is the ultimate pairing for grilled steak. Angwin’s special bottling nods to classic Napa styles. With 8 years on it now, tannins are gorgeous and cut. Full-bodied with notes of spiced currants, forest underbrush, sweet tobacco, and subtle oak.
Rosés with a deeper hue, like Quinta do Montalto, Medieval de Ourém, are often more structured, richer, and more versatile at the table than their fairer counterparts. Try with pulled pork.
Greco is an aromatic white grape that creates wine with great texture and clear minerality. The notes of pineapple and heady floral aromas of Fatalone’s Bianco Spinomarino make it a match for grilled vegetables.
Real Rioja from a traditional-minded producer (who’s not afraid of some innovating) is a treat when paired with smoked or grilled meats. Rioja Crianza “Viña Real,” Cune is delightfully crisp, with Tempranillo’s habitual elegance demonstrated by fresh red berries, vanilla, and subtle spice.
A charmingly, deliciously, fruited Merlot, Ch. Peybonhomme-Les-Tours’ “Les Vacances de Monsieur Merlot” brims over with farm-stand fruit and cool acidity. plummy Bordeaux brims over with farm stand fruit, ripe berries, and cool acidity. Couples nicely with grilled chicken or tarragon chicken salad made from leftover grilled chicken.
If you forego the backyard for the beach, pick up cage-top or twist-cap options for light packing or bottlings that elevate coastal fare.
Grillo “Sensale”, Sibiliana is a great white to pack in your tote. Native to Sicily, the Grillo grape makes aromatic, dry, and slightly spritzy wines that are best enjoyed young. And at under $10, you can grab a few bottles to really make your beach day count.
Don’t let the majority Sémillon distract you; Sauvignon Blanc steals the show in this Bordeaux Blanc. “Clos des Lunes” opens with notes of Meyer lemon, lime, and honeysuckle. Try alongside a lobster roll, Connecticut-style on a hot buttered bun.
If you’re packing a picnic, complete with cheese and charcuterie, go for Costières de Nîmes Rosé, Victor. The intense rosé from Southern France is full of dark-berried fruit and lively minerals. Serve chilled.
To please a crowd, bet on Pinot Noir from The Loire Valley and Torrontes from Mendoza. Les Deux Moulins makes a pinot that’s easy-drinking and full of flavor. Chinchero’s Torrontes is a floral white that’s tangy, yet dry.
For occasions that require a bit more pomp, Guy Larmandier’s Grand Cru Cramant “Signé François” Blanc de Blancs is endlessly satisfying with great finesse, excellent balance, and complex notes of minerals, white flowers, honey, citrus, and apple. Suitable for classic pairings of oysters, caviar, or light fish.
A half-bottle of Clos Haut Peyragué, Sauternes presents an intriguing experiment. While Sauternes is a decadent dessert wine, we recommend trying it next to savory dishes, especially shellfish. Yes, this is a sweet wine, but the outstanding acidity keeps it feeling fresh on your palate.