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Wines to Pair with BBQ Fare by Gavin Watchorn – Whelehans Wines

As we move towards, hopefully, a warm Irish summer with the obligatory “long stretch in the evening” we might start to think of that outdoor social gathering that will be allowed very soon, the BBQ. 

Wine decisions regarding what goes best with what, are important when you take on board the following considerations. What type of food are you planning on serving? Marinated meat, steak, homemade burgers, posh sausages, ribs, butterflied lamb? Whole fish, prawns, lobster tails, fish skewers? Or chicken drummers, marinated breast or wings? Sides of roasted veggie skewers or baked spuds in tin foil. 

A good rule of thumb when matching food & wine is simply to match like with like. Strong flavoured food needs wine that can stand up to it. Lighter food might require wines of a lighter touch. For big meaty flavours one should seek out rich full bodied reds with plenty of ripe juicy flavours and perhaps some oak aging. Rioja (Valserrano Crianza 2016 €19) Cotes du Rhone (Château Beauchѐne Premier Terroir 2018 €20) Corbiѐres-Boutenac (Château Fabre-Gasparets 2017 €25) These three have bags of ripe sweet dark fruit concentration and body, bags of personality & are a joy to drink. 

If you prefer to serve White wine with said red meats, big flavours from Mâcon are ideal (Pouilly-Fuisse Le Maréchaude 2018 €35) or perhaps a white from the very under-rated Cote du Rhone region of southern France (Château Beauchene Grande Réserve Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2019 €17). These are whites of powerful fruity personality and will work well with red meat. If you’re serving whole fish on the bone, fish skewers or prawns,  good reds that will do the trick perfectly, include Mencia from North Western Spain (Luna Beberide 2019) Beaujolais or similar style (Morgon Les Charmes 2018 €24 or Mont Rubi Black 2018 €20). 

Again these a fruity juicy styles with a decent level of refreshing acidity to marry really well with seafood, rather than dominate as the aforementioned red wines above might. Good Whites for BBQ seafood include Albariño (Rula Feiticiera 2019 €17) or Gruner-Veltliner from Austria (Türk Vom Urgestein 2018 €18) New Zealand white wine is also a great option (3 Wooly Sheep 2019 €15, or Auntsfield Chardonnay 2016 €23). Again fruit is key here, flavour packed whites with a good zip of acidity will make your seafood sing. Rosé is a great option for BBQ food. Both (Domaine Tour Campanets Coteaux Aix en Provence 2020 €20) or (Domaine Cailhol-Gautran Roseum 2020 €14) are both very adaptable and will work brilliantly with all BBQ food. 

Finally, given you’re probably (fingers crossed) eating outdoors, it’s important to bear in mind that wine changes in taste when consumed it in the garden. You can lose a lot of nuance and delicate subtle notes simply because you are in the open air. So don’t go for fine wine, don’t opt for wines that are understated like red Burgundy, avoid wines that have a high tannins (Bordeaux red for example) as tannins can clash with sweet & spicy flavoured meats and won’t be enjoyable. 

Hopefully we all have a safe, fun, warm summer. If you are planning on a BBQ or need help matching wine to food in general please drop in or drop us an email, {} We’re always delighted to help our customers in selecting the right wine for the right occasion.


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