It’s hard to argue with the restorative power of enjoying a glass (or two) of wine on a warm day along lip-smacking BBQ fare. From creamy white wines to spicy, berry forward reds, the right glass can make it easier to forget — even for a little while — that traditional Memorial Day beach and backyard parties are a no-go as New York City continues to fight the novel coronavirus. Whether you're just making kebabs on a grill pan beside a sunny window, or cooking up burgers in the backyard, here are our tips for wines that will fire up your holiday barbecue.
Tannins and rich meats complement each other, so bold, powerful reds are tailor-made for hefty, flavorful meat preparations such as ribs, steaks, and burgers. Look to Cabernet Sauvignon from California, Washington, or Bordeaux, Nebbiolo from Northern Italy, or Argentine Malbec or Shiraz. If adding a hot or spicy sauce, consider a California Zinfandel or spicy Australian Shiraz with bright red fruit, lively acidity, and spice notes that can hold their own against a tangy sauce.
Lighter and smoked meats, such as pork or hanger steak, and heartier fish, such as salmon, bluefish, or tuna, sing alongside light reds such as Pinot Noir, Gamay, Portuguese Baga, and even Blaufrankisch. In these pairings, the rich flavors are complemented by ripe, snappy red fruit without being weighed down.
Bright, Zesty Whites
The mouthwatering acidity, apple, pear, citrus, and floral notes in Sauvignon Blanc make it a great overall partner for grilled or blackened chicken, fish, and veggies. Chardonnays from Burgundy, California, or even Washington State are bold enough to stand up to fattier fish like salmon, tuna, or trout. Mushroom burgers? Earthy, crisp Chenin Blanc is ideal.
Served very cool, cross the boundaries between white and red wines and present a great solution when craving something with more structure and depth than white wine, but less body and richness than a red. Rosés easily match smoky and vegetal notes in veggie burgers, potato salad, grilled poultry and fish, and even grilled cheese! From the ethereal pink wines of Provence to more complex roses from Bandol or Tavel, there are as many styles of rosé as there are approaches to picnic fare, and something to please everyone.
The truth is, bubbles have the fruit, texture, and acidity to go fork-to-fork with any grilled or fried food (we love it with fried chicken!). Light-bodied and crushable, Cava, Prosecco or French Cremants are budget-friendly and great for drinking alone or in a spritz.