BBQ Reds

As this popular pastime approaches us, Jonathan looks at red wine pairings ready for the barbecue season…

The question is, are we going to get an amazing summer like last year’s? So far its been a bit mixed, one day nice and hot, the next drizzly and cold. You could argue its not quite summer yet, but it will be upon us very soon.
As soon as it does arrive, we tend to brush off the dust and the rust from our outdoor grills and slap on a few burgers and sausages along with whatever else we fancy and enjoy a bit of alfresco dinning with friends and family.
Every year I am asked about wines that are perfect for summer drinking. Generally, wine is very seasonal with dry crisp whites and rose when it’s hot and full-bodied oaky reds in the winter, but you can enjoy any wine at any time of the year.
The classic BBQ cuisine is what I have mentioned above, burgers and bangers, bit of chicken maybe a few prawns? Quite a mix when you think about, so what is going to pair perfectly with that mix?
Warm weather tends to require lighter reds, something that you may also want to chill. But those meats can be quite filling and spicy depending what type of sausages you go for so this may require a red with a little more body. The grape variety Shiraz has that spicy fruit character so would go nicely. But that also depends on which country you choose. Shiraz from warmer countries tend to have much more jammy, black currant fruit but can also be high in alcohol. If you grab one from France for example, they can be drier, and more spice driven. Both gorgeous but different in style. A grape that I think is underrated and usually used for blending is Grenache. On its own it has a wonderful red fruit aroma along with the spicy fruit that Shiraz has. Its rounder than shiraz but not as sweet or jammy.
Whatever you cook you are going to get a bit of chargrill on your food which can add a nice smoky character to your dishes. With this in mind, something with a little oak ageing won’t go a miss. I’m thinking Rioja, but at the lower end of the oak scale. Straight Rioja made from Tempranillo and Grenache will have very little oak ageing and this is what will pair nicely due to soft fruit element also in the wine. If you like your oak than Rioja Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva is for you but maybe to full to drink in the afternoon. My advice is to keep these for the evening when the temperature can drop.

Here is a sample of our BBQ ready reds available at Vin wines.