Our 11 Favorite Wines (and Spirits!) for Grill Season

To us summer means laid back evenings with friends. Gathering with the people you love almost always involves food, and in summer that means barbecue. It’s hard to beat spending time with friends outside eating and drinking in the long summer sun. Bring the right wines to the party, and you’ll be in heaven. Here’s what our wine consultants Nora Ganley Roper, Laura Mooney, and Eric Guzinski will be swigging and sharing this grilling season.

 

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Whites:

Grüner Veltliner, Meinklang-2013

It is light, crisp, and refreshing! Tasty ice-cold as well as at room temperature, I can’t imagine an easier (and better!) wine for warm weather and well-seasoned foods like spicy sausages. This wine could also be lovely with grilled vegetables like peppers and summer squash. – NGR

Matchbook Chardonnay, Dunnigan Hills 2013

Matchbook is soft yet rich style of Chardonnay that was aged in oak and shows aromas of spice and apples. This wine would be lovely with grilled shrimp or chicken. – EG

Adele Chardonnay, Russian River Valley-2013

This is another great value Chardonnay from the Russian River. It shows Apple and quince notes on the nose followed by a hints of butter, vanilla, and pear. Try it with lighter grilled fare, you won’t be dissapointed! -EG

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Red:

40ème Rugissants, Estezargues

This Grenache is reasonably light in body so won’t overwhelm on a warm day. It is fruity (but not jammy) with a bit of spice so will pair well with anything coming off of a grill! – NG

Six Hats Pinotage

I always go for pinotage with bbq! This example from Six Hats it full bodies, with red fruits and spices that highlight all the best flavors of BBQ. -LM

Scholium Project “Gardens of Babylon”

The first time I tried this wine I was on the phone with my favorite BBQ joint placing a delivery order for a 1/4 rack of smoked ribs and a side of baked beans with brisket. The timing couldn’t have been better! This is a full-bodied red with intense tannin and spice that can really stand up to sweet and smoky BBQ. After about 30 minutes in the decanter, the dark purple fruit really popped and the wine was noticeably smoother.

Marietta Old Vines Red, Lot 61

This is an uncomplicated but well-balanced Zinfandel blend that’s warm and comforting. Make no mistake, this is a big wine, bursting with ripe fruit, and it performed beautifully with our sweet-and-sour barbecue sauce and buttered corn on the cob.- LM

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Spirits:

Greenhook Ginsmiths Dry Gin

If you like a martini or a gin and tonic with your barbecue make sure you try this nuanced gin!It’s made in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and has a delicate, fresh, fruity nose with hints of juniper, yellow citrus, and elderflower. On the palate the juniper leads and is followed quickly by citrus, ginger, sweet cinnamon, and chamomile. -EG

Very Old Barton 6yr Straight Bourbon

Smoky bourbon for smoky barbecue! A forgotten gem in the formidable Sazerac stable of American spirits, Very Old Barton is a relic of a different golden age of bourbon when the whiskey was always good and unbelievably affordable. This six year is bottled at 86 proof and, at twenty dollars for the liter, calling it a bargain doesn’t say the half of it.-EG

 

Dessert: 

If your BBQ plans include grilled fruit don’t miss out on these perfect pairings!

Riesling Feinherb, Müller-Catoir-2013

This slightly sweeter style of riesling would be amazing with grilled fruit. You need a touch of sweetness to bring out the flavors of the fruit, and this off-dry riesling is completely delicious!-LM

Clairette de Die “Cuvée Impériale,” Jaillance

This sparkler is a great pairing for grilled fruit! The bubbles will cut through the smokiness and its slight sweetness will stand up to the deliciously caramelized fruit.- NRG