Barbecues and subtle, delicate wines do not go together. To compete with the rich smells and flavours of barbecued food you need a wine with dark fruit and chocolate notes, so forget about whites and rosés – think instead of robustly-flavoured reds.
Red wines made with the red-berry tasting grape varieties of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tempranillo work best with barbecued meats. Their blackberry and cherry flavours in Italian and Spanish blends have enough strength to keep up with oily marinades and crispy cooking.
The typical slightly-burnt barbecued burger often comes topped with a fiery chilli-tomato relish. You’d think drinking a cold beer or chilled white wine with this would help soothe the tongue of excess chilli, but actually a room-temperature red wine is a better bet: your tongue feels cleansed enough for your taste buds to start registering again. Your burger will taste meaty and your red wine fruity.
Fruity tasting wines don’t happen by accident. Where grapes grow will affect a wines flavour. Warm southern Mediterranean countries tend to produce fruity wines and these typically have an alcoholic content of around 12.5 per cent. This level of alcohol gives the wine enough mouth-cleansing body without being overwhelmingly alcoholic.
American and Australian wines can measure a massive 14.5 per cent. Such high levels of alcohol leave a wine sickly-sweet and so intensely flavoured that it overpowers any food it meets. Not all southern-hemisphere wines contain so much alcohol. The Californian Gallo wines are typically a more manageable 10%. Read the small print on the wine bottle’s label before buying to be sure you don’t get more than you want.
PG Wine Reviews
‘M’ Grenache Noir 2016, France
Great value red that tastes of cherries with a touch of coffee and milk chocolate.
Andrew Peace Gold Reserve Masterpeace Australian Shiraz
£5.99 Wine Rack
Smooth and easy drinking Aussie red with smoky cherry flavours.
Anda Spanish Tempranilla Syrah 2015
Eye-catching gold label on a decent barbecue red: plum and redcurrant with a cocoa edge.
Tinto Historico Altaland, Mendoza Argentina
Another pretty label on a label containing a blend of oomphy Malbec and lighter Petit Verdot. The result are cherry and plum flavours with a hint of liquorice. A surprisingly light red.
Cave de Tain Crozes-Hermitage 2015, Rhone France
Lots of Crozes-Hermitage wines about from different retailers so take your pick. This one tastes of plum, blackcurrant and mocha. Nice and smooth red.