At the risk of being summarily ejected from the cellar, we would like to insist that there are very few colours, kinds or styles of wines that are not just fine with barbequed foods.
While today’s wines are all red, under the appropriate circumstances and considering the lucky wine lovers’ personal preferences, white wines and rosés can be wonderfully suitable, too.
Currently available in select stores marked down $3 - $5 below its regular price Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery ‘Major Allan’ Merlot (158139) $9.99 is a barbeque bargain. Light enough to pair with salmon, it is rich enough to pair with chicken, pork or even beef. This is BC’s most widely planted red wine grape in a smooth plum, cherry and cassis disguise.
Regardless of what fish, fowl, meat - or even vegetable! - you toss on the barbeque, the best wine pairings match the herbs and sauces that you choose… not necessarily the main ingredient.
Lightly dressed main dishes will be buried by full bodied red wines. Lighter foods like chicken will overpower medium bodied red wines if the chicken is sauced with a rich marinade of soy, tomatoes, brown sugar and molasses.
A dark blue-black grape with thick skin, Tempranillo is Spain’s main red wine grape and ripens earlier than most Spanish red grapes. Garnacha (Grenache), Bobal and Monastrell (Mataro or Mourvèdre) mature later. Often light and ‘leathery’, wines made from Tempranillo can also be very fruity.
From grapes grown on mature vines – 25 to 25 years old - in Castilla La
Mancha’s Manchuela, El Valiente Tempranillo (988634) $12. 99 is a blend of 85 per cent Tempranillo with 10 per cent Garnacha with a splash of Shiraz! More richly fruited than many Spanish reds, it features dusky plum and bright blueberry aromas and flavours and a sprinkling of white pepper in the finish.
In most cases, medium bodied reds are the one-style-fits-all choice for barbequing. Dry wines often seem fruitier from interactions with bbq sauces and marinades. Jammy, fruity reds can suddenly turn quite dry and elegant matched with richer sauces.
Exceptionally elegant – with fascinating floral overtones! - Paxis (4083) $13.99 is a medium bodied red from Portugal. A blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz, it is full of mixed berry fruit aromas and flavours. Awarded 90 points, this wine was #5 in Wine Enthusiast’s 100 Best Buys in 2016.
With a long history of chimichurri sauce, cattle and gaucho cowboys, Argentina’s reds are naturals for barbequing. Luis Segundo Correas is a 150 year old winery in Argentina, with vineyards that are more than 85 years old.
A very traditional Argentine red, Luis Segundo ‘El Cipres’ Malbec (263236) $17.29 has dark and earthy notes of tree bark and
mushrooms overlaying dry blackberry and almost salty, smoky liquorice. Unlike fruitier ‘modern’ Malbec, this densely built wine has more in common with the old fashioned ‘black wines of Cahors’.
Based in Australia’s Riverland, north-east of Adelaide in South Australia, Kingston Estate Wines won the Australian Shiraz Winery of the Year award at the Berlin International Wine Competition in April 2017. And is their wine best BBQ Shiraz of the year, too?
Sourced from vineyards in different districts Kingston Estate Shiraz (749804) $18.40 blends Shiraz from the warmer Clare Valley with Shiraz from cooler Mt.Benson to produce a red wine that combines bright red berry flavours with lush dark berry fruit. Aging in French and
American oak barrels adds notes of spicy cloves, caramel and coffee.
An entirely different take on Shiraz is common from vineyards in the south of France. In its southern regions, the Côtes du Rhône vineyards extend onto terraces and alluvial plains. Altogether 95 communes make up the more favoured vineyards of the Côtes du Rhône Villages.
From the esteemed French producer Louis Bernard, ‘Louis’ Côtes du Rhône Villages Cuvée (31375) $23.99 marries 80 per cent
Grenache with 20 per cent oak-aged Syrah. The result is a smooth and earthy wine overflowing with peppery spices and luscious ripe, red fruit – blackcurrant and black pepper predominate, with a hint of fresh dug earthy minerality.
It may seem criminal but… Don’t be afraid to chill your reds a little if is warm out of the deck or patio while you’re barbequing. Keep a bucket of ice water on hand!
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