Wines For Your Sunday Barbecue

Food & Drink

Your barbecue style varies depending on where you live and what you’re prepping. But no matter if you’re in the Carolinas, Memphis, Kansas City or Texas, these wines will stand up to whatever the grill master makes.

On the light side

Chateau du Moulin-a-Vent Couvent des Thorins 2018, Beaujolais. Cherry, strawberry and black raspberry drive this medium-bodied slightly savory wine, accompanied by a licorice twist. A little rustic and a lot of fun, this is terrific with a bit of chill and spicy-rubbed chicken on the grill.

Chateau Ste. Michelle “Indian Wells” Merlot 2018, Columbia Valley. A modern style with tart black plum skin that’s an easy plays-on-both sides kind of partner with anything on your grill—from salmon to burgers and ribs. Or, with its dessert-like vanilla spice and chocolate aspect, save for after dinner.

Duca de Salaparuta “Lavico” Nerello Mascalare 2018, Terre Siciliane IGT. It’s always a pleasure to find this wine—a light and nimble offering from Sicily. A perfect partner to salmon, whether grilled or roasted. Frisky bright-red fruits show off when this wine has a chill.

Alheit Vineyards Flotsam & Jetsam Stalwart Cinsault, South Africa. A fun and easy table wine with tart red fruit—baby strawberries, bright red cherry— grippy light tannins and a jolt of black pepper.

Le Ragose Valpolicella Classico DOC 2020. Roses, cherry and almond waft out of the glass, then followed on the palate with a bright cherry-forward flavor profile. Fresh, bright and elevated by a mineral streak, a perfect burger or pizza on the grill (yes!) wine. Made from typical grapes, 50% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, 20% Corvinone, 10% other.

Bodegas Bernabeleva Navaherreros Garnacha, Martin de Valdeiglesias 2017, San, Vinos de Madrid DO Madrid. 14%. Not a typical strawberry-inflected Garnacha, this one smacks of tart sour cherry, cranberry and pomegranate, remininscent of a dry Lambrusco. Elevated acid, fresh and decisive fruit profile. Lots of personality, and a real winner served chilled.

Pizarras de Otero Mencia 2019, Bierzo DOC. From a high-altitude region in northwest Spain, dark fruit is the star in this wine, bursting with raspberry and blueberry, medium bodied with smooth, fine tannins and a bit of licorice spice. 13.% abv but tastes light on its feet.

For a hearty grill

Adega Vinho Cuvee Carinho (“Blend of Affection”) 2019, Texas High Plains. A blend of Merlot and Tempranillo, this is a smooth operator that goes down easy with plush plummy fruits, silky tannins. Juicy and concentrated but a freshness of fruit that keeps it from being dense.

Bodegas Bilbainas Vina Pomal Gran Riserva Cosecha 2012, Rioja. Intriguing nose of iodine, iron earth and leather (I wanted to dab behind my ears!) On the palate, a stewed sweet strawberry fruit profile takes over, leading to milk-chocolate creaminess, rich and creamy fig flavors, all underlined with smooth and silky tannins.

Cairdeas Carignan Spice Cabinet Vineyards, 2019, Horse Heaven Hills, Washington. Theis Rhone Valley-inspired Carignan (100%) is made in a modern, international style with lots of black and dark-red juicy fruits, milk chocolate layers—almost a dessert-like pleasure. Can stand up to BBQ red meats in a variety of cuts.

Herdade Do Esporao Colheita Tinto 2018, Alentejo, Portugal. A reliable performer from a standard bearer in Portugal’s organic/sustainable movement. Smooth tannins underline the black plum and chocolate notes in this food-friendly blend of native grapes: Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional, Aragonez, Cabernet Sauvignon, Touriga Franca.

Résonance Pinot Noir 2019, Willamette Valley. An Oregon project from the venerable French producer Louis Jadot, this is a dense and dark, intensely concentrated Pinot—still a teenager with lots of growing up to do. Big, earthy and young, drink this with spicy ribs or a beefy steak on the grill. Or, save it for a few years when it tames down and comes into its own.

Shenandoah Vineyards Reserve Red 2019, Virginia. Produced by the second oldest vineyard in the Commonwealth, this is a plummy and ripe, made in a modern style with a bit of dark earth adding interest. Coarse chocolatey tannins give an impressive of granular cocoa. A Virginia Governor’s Cup winner.

Stinson Vineyards Meritage 2017, Monticello, Virginia. Made from a classic Bordeaux blend of four grapes, with Merlot leading the way, this is a deep and richly fruited wine led by black plum. Chocolate laces throughout. Smooth and slick, thanks to 21 months in French oak. A heavier style that wants a deeply charred meat. Would also be nice with a slight chill on it. Governor’s Cup winner.

Texas Heritage Vineyard Alicante Bouschet Lahey Vineyards 2017, Texas High Plains. This dynamic example demonstrates how Texas does really well with Portuguese varieties. Right out of the glass is smoky bacon, a meaty iodine and some earthy bramble—all pleasingly followed onto the palate. So deep and sexy, it makes me miss eating meat.

Vina Bujanda Crianza 2015, Rioja. Milk-chocolate goodness, silky and smooth tannins led by cooked strawberry and with a bit of anise and coffee bean. Elevating by a hint of blood orange.

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