Paula’s Wines of the Week – 25 August 2020

Paula’s Wines of the Week – 25 August 2020

Wines for barbecues

Barbecues and delicate wines don’t go together. To compete with the rich smells and flavours of barbecued food you need a wine that tastes of berry fruit. So what’s needed are robustly-flavoured reds and fruit-flavoured whites.

Red wines made with the blackberry and cherry tasting grape varieties of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tempranillo work with barbecued meats.

The usual rather-burnt barbecued burger often comes topped with a fiery chilli relish. You’d think drinking a cold beer or chilled white wine with this would soothe the tongue, but a room-temperature red wine will cleanse the mouth better and enable your taste buds to start registering again. As a result, your burger will taste meaty and your red wine fruity.

But where are we white wine drinkers in this mass of red? The lighter tasting flavours of white wines go well with barbecued fish, chicken, vegetable kebabs and salads. These foods will often have picked up a smoke-laced tang and so need wines with a bit of individuality: gooseberry tasting Sauvignon Blanc or the honey tones of Viognier work well.

But why not go further with those honey tones by analysing the flavours and combine a barbecue with a home wine tasting? Buy yourself some large wine glasses (cheap supermarket ones will do) for capturing any wine aromas released when the wine is swirled prior to sniffing and tasting.

After you’ve made a note of the label (so you can remind yourself next week whether to buy the wine again) pour the wine. Give it a sniff so you can make a note of its aroma and then sip and taste. There are no right or wrong words for the aroma and taste – write down whatever you think the wine smells and tastes of even if that’s home-made custard or washing up liquid.

And don’t forget to keep those white wines cold while the sun shines and the barbecue radiates heat. Stand your white wines in a mixture of water and ice cubes, or for a quick and cheap solution, wrap your whites in newspaper soaked in water. As the water evaporates it takes the heat away, so keeping your wine cool for about half an hour.

Paula’s Wine Reviews from

Cotes de Thau rose 2019
£5.49 Aldi
3 star review
A pretty pink rose with light and sweet aromas of strawberry and peaches. More strawberry and peach in the flavours along with redcurrant, bubblegum and grapefruit. A sweet-sour rose.

The Black Shiraz 2018
£8 Co-op
4 star rating
This deep red Shiraz has attractive aromas of Parma violets and creamy plum plus some spicy almond essence. The drying taste indicates quite a bit of tannin and this is added too with espresso and blackberry flavours. The label does say this wine is an “extreme example” – I wouldn’t go that far but this quite a flavourful Shiraz but it’s not cloying.

Tesco White Burgundy 2017
£8.75 Tesco
3 star rating
This simple yellow-coloured wine has aromas and flavours of almond, apple, honey and lemon.

The wine rating system uses a maximum of 5 stars:

5 star rating (outstanding – the top rating given by
4 star rating (very good wine)
3 star rating (good wine but over priced)
2 star rating (a disappointing wine)
1 star rating (little to offer)

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© Paula Goddard 2020