The Red Wines of Summer Time
Sauvignon Blancs, Reislings and Sancerres typically are the top contenders for the most popular summer wines. They are refreshing and serve as superb compliments to light summer meals due to their citrus acidity and mineral aroma complemented by a full orchard fruit flavor.
But while these summer white wines clearly are the ideal compliment for lighter summer meals, the truth is that many reds could serve as better summer pairings, especially for cookouts.
Grilling with Zin
For barbecue, there might be no better choice than a Zinfandel. The black pepper spice, acidity and ripe tannins will help carry the flavor and texture of the meat, whether using a barbeque sauce, steak sauce or mild salsa.
A Cabernet Sauvignon will pair equally well with fattier meats such as steaks or burgers. The fat in the steak and burgers will help mellow the wine's tannins much like a blue cheese or sharp cheddar.
Smoking with Syrah
In the same vein, both Merlots and Shirazes would better suited for spicier sauces in that the aggressive fruit profile helps support the spice without fanning the flames.
Stuck on White
For barbecued chicken, the fruity profile of a dry or an off-dry Riesling will help accentuate the spices while providing a contrast to the sweet, smoky nuances of the dish.
A Chardonnay will pair well with grilled fish as well as corn on the cob while the herbal nature of a Sauvignon Blanc makes it a perfect compliment to almost all the vegetables and an even better marinade for fish.
A sweeter white wine such as a Gewürztraminer would also be a great choice for spicier dishes such Cajun chicken thanks to this wine’s sweeter profile.
No Right Answer
Red wines typically go well with any red meat and white wines generally pair better with lighter meats and sauces. But there are no hard rules.
So don’t be afraid to mix and match. After all, it is your pleasure that the pairing ultimately should enhance.
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