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5 Simple Rules for Wine and Barbecue Pairing

5 Simple Rules for Wine and Barbecue Pairing

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It is officially barbecue season! Time to dust off those grills and get cooking. If you do as much entertaining as we do during the summer, you are going to need a lot of wine.

Here’s a short and sweet wine and barbecue pairing guide to get you through the summer, plus a more thorough wine list of Beautiful BBQ Wines. Not so coincidentally, these wines all have a little southern flair — and are either from southern Europe or the southern hemisphere. BBQ and the south just seem to go hand in hand!

Rule #1: Fresh Veggies Love Crisp, Dry Whites.

What is a barbecue without side dishes? One of the best things about summer is the produce. If you want to find a wine that will make fresh veggies shine, look to whites with crisp acidity, ripe fruit, and little-to-no residual sugar. One of our go-to salad wines is the Matua Sauvignon blanc. The wine’s grassiness mirrors that of summer greens, and the citrus qualities can compliment delicate vinaigrettes. Grilling up some seasoned mixed vegetables? Try an exotic alternative to the typical patio pour, like Argentinian Torrontes Zuccardi Series A. Aromatic, herbal, and fragrant, Torrontes has the weight to stand up to something with a char.

Rule #2: Spanish Bubbles And Whites Go Great With Fish.

Pairing wine with grilled fish can be tough: the char on the flesh might call for a red, but the texture often calls for a white. The solution is a wine with lots of acidity, personality, and body. Spanish whites, like the Martín Códax Albariño, have all of the above. If the weather is unbearably hot and humid, you cannot beat the refreshing qualities of a bone dry Cava like Campo Viejo Cava brut the Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut. Plus, the citrus in these wines can act as that final squeeze of lemon on your fish dish.

Rule #3: Rosé Rocks With Pulled Pork And BBQ Chicken.

Rosés respect the delicacy of the meat, and still have enough guts to stand up to the sweet and sour tang of barbecue sauce. This is especially true for the Carolina style, mustard-and-vinegar-based barbecue sauces that are typically served with pulled pork; the sweet berry fruit and zesty acidity can dish it out and take it. If you are going sans sauce, check out a more delicate Provençal rosé like Chateau D’Esclans Whispering Angel.

Rule #4: Steak And Burgers Do Not Want The Same Wine.

We know what you are thinking: “They are both beef, what’s the big deal?” Well, for starters let’s talk toppings. One of the few wines that can handle the richness of beef and cheese, the sweetness of ketchup or barbecue sauce, the bite of mustard, and the saltiness of bacon is a silky Argentine Malbec like Miguel Gascón. The velvety tannins will have a field day with the proteins, while the rich fruit flavors will pair beautifully with a myriad of condiments.

Conversely, a well-prepared steak typically flies solo. Yes, it might be accompanied by the occasional bottle of steak sauce or a spoonful of marinade, but those are merely accessories. To enjoy the purity of flavor in your steak, stick with a Bordeaux or a Bordeaux-style blend, like the Santa Rita CCC. The astringency of the tannins acts as a palate cleanser between bites and they are softened by the protein and fattiness in the steak. The restrained dark fruit flavors and earthy, herbal aromas act as their own condiment.

Rule #5: Fight Fire with Fire.

There are actually a dozen different styles of barbecue sauce, all of which we love. The most well-known, however, is Kansas City BBQ: that sweet, sour and spicy sauce that sets every single one of our taste buds on fire. This dizzying array of flavors needs an equally complex wine to match. Something with lots of fruit, spice, and sass, like the Chapoutier Belleruche Côtes du Rhône Rouge. If the sauce in question is truly bold, look to the new world and try a Lodi Zinfandel or a red from Australia’s McLaren Vale like Shingleback Shiraz.

Now go forth, use this guide, make us proud, and don’t hesitate to invite us to your next BBQ. Or at least share some awesome pairings of your own below!


Summer ushers in not only a wave of heat but also a wave of passion, making people want to get outside and come together, mostly in the company of good food and good wine. But what food and wines go well together in the summer heat? Finding the right dish pairing during such a hot season can be fun and challenging. So, today we’ll help you easily choose your food and wine pairs.

If You Love Wine, You Need to Make a Bottle of Wine Pie

How else would you celebrate National Drink Wine Day?

Related To:

Food Network Kitchen’s Bottle of Wine Chocolate Pie.

On this fine Thursday, February the 18th, we are blessed with yet another excuse to open a bottle of wine. Today is National Drink Wine Day – who knew?! According to the holiday’s official website, the purpose of the day is to “spread the love and health benefits” of the drink, such as “new friends, reduced risk of heart disease and the enhancement of food and life.” Keep in mind, these health benefits are only valid when wine (most specifically, red) is consumed in moderation.

If you're celebrating because you love the taste of wine in addition to the health benefits, might we suggest a new way to indulge?

If you’re wondering whether we managed to fit a whole bottle of wine in a pie, the answer is yes, yes we did. (This boozy dessert really lives up to its name.)

Perfect for a girls' night, or even as a dinner party grand finale, this simple-to-make dessert combines decadent dark chocolate and a standard bottle of dry red wine in a crushed chocolate cookie crust. The result is a creamy, indulgent pie that gives the gift of chocolate and wine in one bite. And thanks to the generous amount of booze, this dessert doesn’t skimp on any of the wine’s flavor, which is why we highly recommend choosing a bottle you know you love. It's worth it, we promise.

Five Easy Popcorn and Booze Pairings

The Oscars are almost here, guys. And I know – they’ve got some major explaining to do this year. How it’s possible that there is absolutely no diversity in any of the top four categories two years in a row is insane to me, really. I’m looking forward to seeing what Chris Rock has to say about it when he hosts this year. No doubt he’ll turn a crappy situation into something we can at least all laugh at, and hopefully give the Academy something to reflect upon. Last year I don’t think I even watched the broadcast, as we were in Taiwan and I was incredibly sick with food poisoning. It was probably for the best. I don’t remember searching for any specific clips online the next day, like I did when Justin Bieber cried at the MTV Movie Awards or VMAs or whatever event it was. Either way, the Oscars are always a spectacular disaster, so for me, it’s not so much about seeing who wins, but rather, seeing who is looking stunning on the red carpet, who has one drink too many and says something ridiculous, and, of course, having an excuse to sit in front of my television, food and drink in hand, talking about movies with my friends. I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to make this year, probably just a bunch of junk food, but you know that I’ll have plenty of popcorn. Everybody loves popcorn, and watching a movie really isn’t the same without it. I figured, why not help you guys out with a little boozy inspiration? I’ve got some delicious popcorn ideas below, like chili and lime popcorn, Parmesan, garlic, and black pepper popcorn, and smoky paprika popcorn, all with a suggested alcoholic beverage to pair them with. Bust out those tequila bottles, uncork some red wine, and throw some Prosecco on ice, because you’re about to get a little tipsy and stuff yourself to the brim with all kinds of popcorn. And don’t forget to pour one out if Leo loses (again). It’s okay, Leo, you can cry on my shoulder.

Smoky Paprika Popcorn pairs perfectly with an ice cold beer. I threw in some powdered blue cheese for extra umami goodness, but of course, you can omit this, or even just use the classic shaker of Parmesan cheese for a similar effect. This is a judgment-free zone, guys.

Parmesan, Garlic, & Black Pepper Popcorn begs to be eaten alongside a glass of bold red wine. You know, because you’re classy like that.

Caramel Corn goes shockingly well with a simple glass of bourbon – neat or on the rocks, dealer’s choice. I’ll admit I bought this popcorn. I tried to make caramel corn years ago, burned the pot, and had to throw it away. Maybe I’ll try again soon. Until then, I’ve heard this recipe is top notch.

Lime & Chili Popcorn may have been my favorite of the bunch. Maybe it’s because I l-o-v-e tequila, maybe it’s because the lime adds a really nice brightness to otherwise salty popcorn, I’m not sure. I do know that my friend Jeena came by to sample all of my popcorn offerings and agreed that this was her favorite, too.

Plain Ol’ Popcorn pairs best with plain ol’ Processo. Not that Processo is plain, but you know, there’s nothing really to do here. Microwave the popcorn and put it in a bowl, then pour yourself a glass of bubbly and enjoy. I guess you could get really fancy and bust out the Champagne, but I’m on a budget, so I think Prosecco is just as good. Cheers!

3. Everything goes marinade for pork

Pork is an alternative to lamb if you want to make souvlaki. In his book, The Real Greek at Home: Dishes from the heart of the Greek Kitchen, Theodore Kyriakou recalls how souvlaki was a seasonal dish – made with pork between late autumn and early spring, then made with lamb the rest of the year.

The meat around the shoulder blade is ideal for pork souvlaki and the addition of herbs and spices such as cumin, oregano, thyme or rosemary to olive oil, lemon juice and garlic will make the marinade magic.

If you’d prefer to char some chops, a great marinade is equal parts mustard and honey and whatever bourbon you’re not drinking. Add olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper. Rachel Ray has a great recipe for this.

You can turn any barbecue from bland to beautiful with the addition of prawns. Photograph: Catherine Shaw/The Observer

5. Speak to the sommelier

Of course, sometimes you just need a perfect recommendation. Sometimes you just want a glass of wine in front of you and it needs to taste great.

Luckily, most restaurants with a decent wine list these days have someone (often more than one person) on staff whose sole focus is making sure you enjoy your wine!
These wonderous people are called sommeliers, and often a quick chat with them can lead to drinking something you would never have thought of but has turned out to be just right.

Think of them as your personal wine butler – ask them a few questions, let them know what you like to drink and how much you want to spend and let them do the work!

Okay, now that you're all clued up. Let's get to the fun part and drink some wine. We make it even easier to choose a great bottle by taking our palate profile quiz here. We’ll recommend three bottles that we think you'll love according to your results!

Do you know your wine personality? If your answer is no, take our quiz to find out which wines to pick up next and build your box!

5 Simple Ways to Show Your Kids Love Every Day

I get it, mama. The day-to-day jobs of mommyhood aren&apost glamorous or even particularly fun. It&aposs easy to get swept up in the monotony of routine and ritual and frustration and exhaustion. And, the truth is, despite your potential lack of patience (because, yes, we have all been there), those little people of yours worship the very ground you walk on. They just want a wee bit of reciprocation.

Rebecca Parlakian, head of the parenting department at Zero to Three, shared five tips for living in the moment and making even the everyday parts of parenthood a little more special. 

Make everyday routines special. When my kids were toddlers, they loved it when I ran the bath, switched on a few flashlights (far from their little hands), and turned off the overhead light. We called it a “Spooky Bath.” Even now, when I don’t want to do dishes, we have a “picnic”𠅊nd sit on a blanket in the living room eating off paper plates. These little moments, even though they happen only once in a while, have become some of their favorite memories.

Notice what makes your child special—and tell them. “I love how you found that tiny little bug on the sidewalk. I would have missed it if you didn’t show me.” Or: “I noticed how you really stuck with that puzzle. You are really persistent—I appreciate that about you.”

Show yourself some love. I know this list is supposed to be all about the kids, but hear me out: I’ve learned that I need to work hard to silence the voice in my head that’s constantly telling me how I messed up dealing with the last tantrum, or that I’m not a great mom, or that I fail at parenting because I lack the patience of Mary Poppins. I’m learning to treat myself like I𠆝 treat a friend: Everyone messes up. Take a deep breath and try again. That child loves you, and you love her. So you had a misstep. It’s the next step that matters. Yes, re-programming yourself is hard. But a healthier parent is a more peaceful parent. And more peace means you have more head space for enjoying life with your little one.

Give your child a sense of family connection. Share pictures and tell stories about you as a child—stories about growing up, your siblings, and your childhood adventures (my kids’ favorite story is about when I fell and broke my arm in 5th grade and rode in an ambulance). Not close to your family? Share stories of friends and mentors. Help your child see that they are part of something bigger.

Focus on the long game. It’s easy to get caught up in daily struggles, stresses, and worries. But focusing on the long game means remembering that there is only one thing your child really needs: You. This doesn’t mean you can’t set a limit. This doesn’t mean you need to give your child a million toys and a pony. But it does mean that you are there when you’re with them, you notice and respond to their cues, you comfort when comforting’s needed, and you listen (even to long recaps of Paw Patrol). These moments are the long game, because they help you build a relationship with your child that will stay strong way past the baby and toddler years.

5 Simple Appetizers for Sparkling Wines

So that they'll never see you sweat, try one of these quick pairings for those inevitable, last-minute holiday get-togethers.

Between cooking, cleaning, shopping, and hosting out-of-town guests, the holidays can be as stressful as they are fun, even for the most organized and prepared among us. To help you capitalize on the fun part, rely on one of these 5 simple appetizer and sparkling wine pairings.

&aposNew World&apos Sparkling Wine & Fried Spring Rolls
The more fruit-driven sparkling wines from the New World (such as California, Australia, and New Zealand) are an ideal pairing with Asian cuisine. Additionally, the combination of riper fruit flavors, crisp acidity, and bubbles contrasts beautifully with the crunchy texture of fried foods. Combine the two – fried food and Asian cuisine – and we have a definite winner. Purchase frozen fried spring rolls from the freezer aisle at the grocery (or pick up egg rolls from your local Chinese restaurant), bake, and serve warm with sweet and spicy dipping sauce.

Cava & Smoked Salmon Mini Bagel Sandwiches
Always a great value, Cava is a crisp sparkling wine that gets its name from the Cava appellation in the Catalonia region of Spain where it is produced. Made from indigenous Spanish grape varieties in the same "traditional method" as Champagne, Cava pairs well with smoked salmon sandwiches. Make open-faced Smoked Salmon Mini Bagel Sandwiches by topping one side of a mini bagel with smoked salmon, dill cream cheese, red onions, and capers. The acidity of this Spanish sparkler acts as a squeeze of lemon for the salmon and counterbalances the saltiness of the capers and the richness of the cream cheese.

Prosecco & Roasted Tomato Bruschetta
Prosecco, an Italian sparkler made from grapes of the same name primarily in the Veneto region, is an ideal accompaniment to Roasted Tomato Bruschetta. The bright, tart flavor of the tomatoes is matched by the acidity of the wine and also allows for the soft fruity flavors of the Prosecco to come forward. Top a toasted baguette slice with store-bought bruschetta topping, sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese, and garnish with fresh basil leaves for a simple yet satisfying pairing.

Rosé Sparkling Wine & Rare Roast Beef Mini Sandwiches
Full-bodied, rich, and flavorful rosé sparkling wines can be served with a wide range of foods that share similar characteristics. While rosé sparkling wine does not always work with red meat, it finds a good home with tender roast beef from the deli served on buttery rolls and a touch of horseradish cream sauce. When you want a little more flavor in your wine and a heartier food companion, this pairing does the trick.

Champagne & Brie Cheese Plate
You will pay a little more for true Champagne (made in the Champagne region of France), but it&aposs always worth the splurge. For easy hors d&aposoeuvres, pick up a round of Brie, fresh strawberries, and a baguette from the grocery store. This quick pairing requires minimal work, but provides much enjoyment. The bubbles break down the richness of the gooey brie and the toasty character of the Champagne is enhanced by the fresh-from-the-oven baguette.

Top 5 Simple Vegetarian Braai Recipes

My personal opinion is, you can&rsquot. But that isn&rsquot to say I&rsquom not open to trying some of these delicious sounding vegetarian braai recipes myself.

Courgette and Halloumi kebabs

Also known here as &lsquososaties&rsquo kebabs are basically skewer sticks threaded with food. In this instance the foods are marinated cheese and courgettes (baby marrows).

· small handful mint , chopped

· 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

· 2 courgettes , cut into 1cm rounds

· 225g pack halloumi cheese , cubed

Mix the chilli, half the mint, lemon zest and juice, oil, courgettes and halloumi. Leave to marinate for 30 mins. Soak 8 wooden skewers for 20 mins.

Thread the courgettes and halloumi onto the skewers. Cook on the BBQ, or under a grill, for 7-8 mins, turning halfway through and basting with the remaining marinade. Scatter over remaining mint.

Stuffed peppers on the braai

· 1 bunch spring onions sliced thinly

· 140g cherry tomatoes , halved

· 150g ball mozzarella , chopped

· handful each of parsley and basil , chopped

· 3 red and 3 yellow peppers

Make the stuffing: heat the oil in a medium pan with a lid and fry the pine nuts until lightly toasted, then add the rice and fry until the grains are glossy. Stir in the garlic, then add the stock and bring to the boil. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, until the rice is tender.Remove from the heat, cool slightly and stir in the spring onions, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, gorgonzola and fresh herbs. Season well and leave to cool.

Stuff the peppers: cut around the stalk from one pepper, remove and set aside. Make one slit down the length of the pepper and open out gently. Remove the seeds and membrane.

Spoon some filling into the pepper cavity, taking care not to overfill.

Take about a metre length of kitchen string and wrap the centre point several times around the pepper stalk, tying it firmly.

Top with the stalk and wrap the ends of the string several times around the pepper to secure the filling. Tie the ends in a knot.Repeat with the other peppers.

Barbecue the stuffed peppers over moderate heat for 15-20 minutes, turning gently until the peppers are evenly browned. Don't worry if the string chars and if the peppers split too much - wrap them in a piece of foil and finish cooking in the foil wrappers.

Carrot and sesame burgers

· 750g carrots , peeled and grated

· 410g can chickpeas , drained and rinsed

· 1 small onion , roughly chopped

· 2 tbsp tahini paste , plus 1 tsp to serve

· 100g wholemeal breadcrumbs

· zest 1 lemon , plus 1 tsp juice

· 6 buns, rocket leaves, sliced red onion, sliced avocado and chilli sauce, to serve

Put a third of the grated carrot in a food processor with the chickpeas, onion, 2 tbsp tahini, cumin and egg. Whizz to a thick paste, then scrape into a large bowl. Heat 1 tbsp oil in your largest frying pan, tip in the remaining carrot and cook for 8-10 mins, stirring until the carrot is softened - it will become more golden as it is cooked. Add this cooked carrot to the whizzed paste with the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and sesame seeds. Add seasoning, then mix together well with your hands.

Divide the mixture into 6, then using wet hands shape into burgers. Cover and chill until serving. Mix the yogurt with the remaining tahini and lemon juice, then chill.

Fire up the gas braai, or heat a non-stick frying pan and brush the burgers with the remaining oil. Cook the burgers for 5 mins on each side, until golden and crisp. Meanwhile warm or toast the buns (or sit them on the barbecue alongside the burgers). When the burgers are ready, spread each bun with some of the lemony sesame yogurt, add the avocado, top with the burger, onion and rocket. Finish with a drizzle of chilli sauce.

Mielies with coriander butter

· 4 mielies / corn on the cobs

· small bunch coriander , chopped

· small red chilli , deseeded and finely chopped

Mash butter, coriander, chilli, garlic and a good pinch of salt with a fork. Place on a piece of cling film, form into a sausage shape, then freeze for 15 mins until hard.

Cook the corn in boiling salted water for 5 mins, until tender, then drain. Cut the butter into slices about 1cm thick, pop on top of the warm corn and allow to melt

Fennel seed slaw

· 1 tsp fennel seeds , toasted

· 4 carrots , peeled and shredded

· 1 red onion , halved and thinly sliced

Mix the mayonnaise, vinegar and fennel seeds and season really well. Toss with all the veg and leave for 20 minutes.


Wine can be enjoyed all by itself, but when paired with the right dish something magical happens! The right dish can bring out the flavors in a wine just as the right wine compliments the food. Check out some of our favorite recipes below.

Soup, Salad & Appetizer Pairings

French Mushroom Soup
The earthy flavors in this homemade soup pair ever-so-perfectly with a peppery Syrah.

Kale Caesar Salad
The fruity and herbaceous notes of a crisp Chardonnay pairs perfectly with fresh kale and the savory flavors of homemade croutons.

Steamed Artichokes with Tarragon Butter
This buttery dish with fresh herbs paired with an unoaked Chardonnay is an appetizer must!

Custom Blended Burger
Summer wouldn't be complete without a deliciously juicy burger! Fire up the grill, uncork our flavorful Cabernet Sauvignon, and enjoy this Custom Blended Burger that's equal parts chuck and sirloin steak.

Kansas City BBQ Sauce
You'll really be cooking with this sweet and spicy sauce that is perfect for your slowly cooked Kansas City-style barbecued meat. A dish with this complexity deserves a smooth and slightly bold red wine, like Merlot or Cabernet.

Porterhouse Steak with Compound
Your senses will take flight when you pair this savory steak dish with a Merlot with notes of blackberry, dark cherry, and plum.

Navarin of Lamb
French for "stew," Navarin is a hearty, vegetable-rich meal. 2016 A D'Arche Bordeaux Rouge is French for the perfect pairing to this tasty lamb dish.

Braised Pulled Pork Sandwich
Homemade Texas barbecue sauce and dry rub along with the red fruit and toast flavors of a French red blend give this pulled pork incredible flavor. Searing in a Dutch oven followed by cooking in the oven at a low temperature makes for moist, tender meat every time.

Perfect Roast Chicken
Ready in 5 simple steps, the perfect dinner has never been so easy to make with this classic dish. Browned to perfection and topped with a savory pan sauce, pair this meal with an oaked Chardonnay or fruity red blend.

Spatchcocked Chicken
In a few easy steps your dinner will be cooking—that's the perfect time to pop open a bottle of Chardonnay or Crianza Rioja that will pair every-so-nicely with this grilled dish.

Braised Turkey Legs
A Spanish red wine with a dry and fruity palate is the perfect balance to this rich and hearty dish.

Duck Breast with Port Wine Reduction Sauce
Rich and juicy duck breast makes for a wonderful dinner. With a tart port wine reduction, this recipe offers a unique take on an easy-to-make poultry dish that pairs perfectly with bright and fruity Pinot Noir.

Originating in Valencia, Spain, this savory seafood medley paired with our full-bodied, fruit-forward Tempranillo from Rioja will send your tastebuds into a frenzy.

Poached Cod with Tomatoes
A rich and round Spanish Rioja with orchard fruit and lemon notes is perfect for this light fish dish.

Sole a la Meuniere
A crisp and zesty white blend with both tropical and herbal notes is the ideal wine to balance the sole's delicate fish flavor.

Soy-Glazed Salmon
Oven-baked to perfection with a savory glaze that will awaken your tastebuds, this salmon dish and a rosé notes of wild strawberry, and orange blossom is dinner perfection.

Pan Seared Scallops
Fresh scallops with a refreshing squeeze of lemon will be the perfect pairing to a rich and juicy Chardonnay.

Stove-Top Clambake
With one pot, cook a backyard feast of fresh clams, jumbo shrimp, and sides that are sure to impress. Pair a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc with crisp acidity and tropical notes with this sweet and savory seafood dish.

Blackberry Buckle
With notes of boysenberry and blueberry, it's no surprise a luxurious, dry red like Zinfandel is the perfect pairing for this blackberry dessert.

Pair this easy-to-make, done in a jiff French dessert with a Crémant, a French sparkling wine.

Blueberry Crisp
Sweet desserts and white wine always tops the list of our most popular pairings, so this summer we have a blueberry crisp that will go with most sweet or sparkling wine.

Peach Cobbler
Make your summer nights a whole lot sweeter when you cobble together this delicious, oven-baked Martha Stewart recipe and a sparkling wine.

Swiss Chard Frittata
This perfect-for-brunch dish paired with a refreshing Rosé will have savory and crispy notes of peach and citrus dancing on your palate.

Giant Cheese Popovers
Change up your wine and cheese night or even Sunday brunch with freshly baked popovers that pair perfectly with our light and refreshing Pinot Gris.

Watch the video: 6 Basic Rules For Pairing Food With Wine Video (May 2022).