Decatur Wine and Spirits
Wine Cellar

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
Although salads, seafood and fish are great summer foods, there is little question that grilling red meat is still the number one summer activity for many backyard chefs.

barbyFor 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
Smoked meats typically pair best with a Shiraz/Syrah. These wines tend to have mellower tannis and an aggressive fruit flavor that is perfect for any red meat. But the Shiraz also has a smokier flavor profile that is especially well-suited for smoked meats.

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
Still thinking about the refreshing aspect of that chilled summer white wine? No worries. A number of whites will work equally well, especially with grilled chicken, fish or vegetables.

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
As always, these are merely suggestions or guidelines.

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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