The Best Red Wines for a Summer Barbecue

A beer may once have been the classic drink of choice at a barbecue, but wine is increasingly being considered as the tipple to go for on a hot (or not quite so hot) British summer’s day. The smoky flavours that the seasonally popular BBQ will impart onto the meat are second to none, and you don’t necessarily have to follow the rules and pair your juicy meat with rich, full-bodied red wines…

If the weather really is dry and hot (here’s hoping!), lighter, more refreshing wines are often more desirable than a hefty, full-bodied red.

With good quality beef from a butcher, a mere sprinkling of salt is all that’s needed to make the flavours sing. Much simpler, too, than the forward planning required for a marinade. In this case, deviate from the classic beef pairings of an Aussie Shiraz, and pick a Valpolicella or a young Rioja that will be lighter and more sun-friendly.

Bolla Valpolicella Classico is a great Barbecue wine that has a fresh, fruity style with ripe, juicy tannins. You can even lightly chill it in the fridge to make the most of this freshness (for no more than thirty minutes before drinking).

“A sweetly ripe, soft and succulent Pinot Noir from New Zealand or Chile works nicely with plain chargrilled pork chops and even stands up well to the classic, sweet-and-sour barbecue sauce on some ribs”.
Susy Atkins, The Telegraph
Try the complex and elegant Chilean Marea del Leyda Pinot Noir, whose aroma of summer fruits will give you a taste of the hot Summer months, even if the real thing has taken a break and you’re standing over the barbecue with an umbrella.

Alternatively, Rare Vineyards Pinot Noir from the Languedoc-Roussillon in France is an extremely popular example of a smooth, fruity and velvety Pinot Noir.
The lighter, fruitier style of wines like Pinot Noir will also pair very nicely with grilled fish. An oft forgotten element to a British Barbecue, the beautiful flavours of chargrilled fish means it deserves its very own section of your barbecue…

For the brave, perhaps foolish, but nonetheless quintessentially British of us who love to barbecue despite the variable weather, robust reds will no doubt be welcomed to warm the cockles and keep the spirits high. A heavily tannic red like a Cabernet Sauvignon or a peppery Syrah will fare well here.
The Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Cabernet Sauvignon from Stellenbosch in South Africa is bursting with blackcurrant, cassis and warm savoury flavours and pairs brilliantly with a meaty barbecue.
Of course, a Malbec is an excellent value red that is so steeped in Argentinian barbecue tradition that it would be rude not to include one. The Callia Lunaris Malbec is a balanced wine with an excellent palate and a smooth, lingering finish. Perfect for that juicy steak or burger.

Or, you could take a leaf out of Jon, CellarVie Wines’ very own General Manager’s book: he loves to get out his homemade spit for special occasions, whatever the weather, and roast a lamb. His favourite match for such an impressive culinary feat is the Élevé Carignan Vieilles Vignes.
Jon waxes lyrical about this pairing: “The wine…is easy drinking, packed with fruit and it offers a touch of richness that suits the sweetness of Lamb. It is a really approachable wine, and stunning value for money!”
 Jon's Father-in-Law, Lambros with the famous spit and lamb!

Written by: Lucy Prosser

Lucy Prosser 


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