Summer is just around the corner, and with rising temperatures comes one of the most nostalgic of summertime traditions; the backyard barbecue. And with it, the ideal bbq wine pairings. While hot dogs and hamburgers certainly have their time and place, we strive to raise the bar. From pork chops to prime rib, nearly any cut of meat can be perfected on the backyard grill.
In addition to the regard that comes with cooking a premium cut to mouth-watering perfection comes a rediscovery of the (nearly) lost art of butchery. We’re celebrating barbecue season with The Whole Animal, premiering June 3rd on SOMM TV. The latest film from the award-winning team behind the SOMM film series weaves the craftsmanship of butchery with how animals and meat incorporate into our culture.
In honor of The Whole Animal, here are six bbq wine pairings to bring to your next summer barbecue that will go with just about any cut of meat.
Ricci Vineyard Sparkling St Laurent Pétillant Naturel
Carneros, Sonoma, CA
Cruse Wine Company describes their pet-nat as “a wine that tastes of watermelon agua fresca and Cara Cara oranges. Fresh cut grass and strawberry tart add to a vibrant and clean palate.” Sign us up!
A pet-nat is a great option for pairing with grilled poultry or seafood. Its versatility ensures that you have the perfect companion in your glass that’s up to the challenge no matter what you’re eating.
Like a pet-nat, this wine pairs beautifully with a range of lighter fare – from poultry to seafood to grilled vegetables.
A blend of 70% Carriccante and 30% Catarratto, Graci’s Etna Bianco hails from – you guessed it – the slopes of Mount Etna.
This focused, acid-driven sipper gives all of the flinty minerality of a wine made on the side of an active volcano. Along with notes of lemon zest, sea spray, white flowers, and beeswax, this wine is sure to do the trick when trying to keep things light.
Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce
Emilia Romagna, Italy
When enjoying something as low maintenance and unpretentious as a classic burger or hot dog, you need a wine to match. It doesn’t get more approachable and easy-going than quality Lambrusco.
Lambrusco gets a bit of a bad wrap because – let’s be honest – there are a lot of bad versions on the market with a reputation for being sticky sweet, with weak acidity and structure.
But, when you pop this Saetti Lambrusco, prepare to have all of those misconceptions thrown out the door. It is bone dry and bursting with juicy berries and a hint of cracked black pepper. The frizzante bubbles add an extra layer of quenching freshness, perfect for a hot summer barbecue.
Sta Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, CA
One of my favorite wine regions in California is the Santa Rita Hills AVA of Santa Barbara. Close to the ocean, it experiences a climate similar to the Northern Rhône. Like the famous Mistral, powerful coastal winds carve through the vineyards. The region is regarded for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but I have consistently been blown away (pun intended) by the area’s Syrah.
Melville’s Estate Syrah has an elegant structure that frames an intoxicating nose of plum, eucalyptus, black olive, fig, and violet. This is a wine to open when a pork shoulder, ribs, or belly are roasting on the grill.
Vina Bosconia Reserva
A lamb roasting on the grill with fragrant herbs and seasonings begs for a perfect pairing. One of the most classic lamb pairings is an exquisite Tempranillo from the Rioja.
Vina Bosconia Reserva, from legendary producer Lopez de Heredia, is full-bodied and rustic with notes of rich black cherry, dark plum, baking spices, leather, wild herbs, vanilla, and tobacco. They also age their wines significantly before bottling, so you can trust the wine is in an excellent place to be opened and enjoyed alongside your lamb.
Lytton Springs Zinfandel
Dry Creek, CA
In the expert hands of legendary producer Ridge Vineyards, Zinfandel finally shines in the spotlight where it belongs, alongside one of the most popular cuts of meat – the delectable steak.
From 100-year-old vines, this wine brings focus and power to the palate, standing up to the lofty standards of a tender steak. Notes of dark red plums, ripe blackberries, cocoa, liquorice, white pepper, tobacco leaf, and orange blossom dance in the glass.