Most people associate grilled foods and barbecues with beer. But we believe that there is nothing better than a BBQ in the sunshine with a glass of wine.
When it comes to BBQ, it’s too easy to narrowly generalize the food that is served. Whereas in truth, it can and often is a wide range of different foods and tastes. This is why wine goes so well; because you have a lot of wine options to suit different tastes and foods.
As always, think about the flavors in the food. If it’s going to be pork chops, then think about juicier reds or whites with a touch of sweetness. With steaks, Malbec will be a treat. For burgers and lamb, a Cab. Warmer climate Chardonnay pairs sensationally with BBQ chicken. And if you’re grilling salmon, make it a Pinot Gris.
Of course, it’s unlikely that you’re going to purchase many different types of wine for a set and strict pairing on the occasion. There are some good all-around wines that tick many of the boxes needed for a great BBQ.
|1. Catena Malbec 2017
|2. Our Daily Organic Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
|3. Pacific Flyway Pinot Gris 2016
|4. Reata Sonoma Coast Rosé 2018
|5. Flourish Organic Chardonnay 2018
We’re lucky enough in our work that we get to taste for both more specialized and select pairings and for all-arounders to elevate your next backyard barbecue to the next level. Read on for the findings.
Our Best Wines for BBQ Reviews and Comparisons
1. Our Daily Organic Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
The mint and herb flavors of Cabernet Sauvignon make for a great pairing with burgers, or even better with lamb.
The grapes for Our Daily are sourced from organic vineyards around California’s Central Valley, where the consistent dry climate, warm weather, and well-drained soils benefit organic winegrowing. The climate allows the fruit to ripen earlier, reducing the risk for weather-related issues, so reducing the necessity for chemicals.
Like all Our Daily wines this 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is certified organic with no detectable sulfites. It’s also gluten-free and completely vegan.
A silver medal winner at the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of American Wine Tasting Competition, with a previous vintage rated by Vivino as being among the top 2% of all wines in the region.
- Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon, Californian Red
- Appellation: Central Valley, California
- Winery: Our Daily
- Alcohol: 12.5%
- Bottle: 750 ml
What We Like About Our Daily Organic Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
Our Daily Cab has plum, dark fruit, and oak aromas on the nose. The feel on the palate is velvety and smooth, with dense tannins and balance provided by the richness of bourbon vanilla finish.
Pure and rich, Our Daily Organic Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 is a fine expression of a pure varietal expression. One that is further enhanced by its organic credentials.
What We Don’t Like About Our Daily Organic Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
If you’re not used to organic wines, you may find this to be a bit ‘homemade.’ Certainly, there’s more residue than average.
For us, it was a little too fruity and tart.
- Decent overall flavor, with hints of pepper and ripe cherries
- Great value for a wonderful table wine
- The kind of wine you’ll be drinking when everyone’s gone home
- The sediment was a turn-off
- No real discernible notes and not well balanced
2. Pacific Flyway Pinot Gris 2016
It’s not just meat that tastes best from the BBQ. Chargrilled fresh salmon, and other meaty fish, can’t be beaten. And with it, you’ll want something dry and crisp, neutral and not too sweet. Something like this 2016 Pacific Flyway Pinot Gris.
Pinot Gris is the Pacific Northwest take on the Italian Pinot Grigio. The growing conditions here are ideal to bring out the grape’s lively character and subtleties.
- Variety: Pinot Gris, Northwest United States
- Appellation: Washington, Oregon
- Winery: Pacific Flyway
- Alcohol: 14%
- Bottle: 750 ml
What We Like About Pacific Flyway Pinot Gris 2016
Refreshing citrus and fragrant floral notes, matched with tropical guava flavors, cut through perfectly grill-seared salmon or calamari with substance as well as style. Also, the pear of Pinot Gris, this one included, balances the saltiness of the pork.
The easy-drinking of Pacific Flyway Pinot Gris 2016 is suitable for many, if not any, casual occasions.
What We Don’t Like About Pacific Flyway Pinot Gris 2016
Exclusive to Revel Wine Club by the link above, we wished that it, and Pinot Gris in general, were better known and more accessible.
- Crisp and clean. A real refresher!
- Beautiful with BBQ fish
- Smooth like butter
- A little more bitter than I was expecting
- Too fruity
3. Catena Malbec 2017
If it is going to be meat on the BBQ, and let’s face it, for most of us it is, then when in Rome…or rather Mendoza, Argentina.
Argentina is famed for its BBQ, Asado, where almost every cut of beef is cooked with delicious results. Argentinians take it VERY seriously. As they do, quite rightly, the wines that they pair with it.
And more often than not it’s a classic Malbec from Mendoza, like this 2017 Catena. A full-bodied and fruit-forward blend of grapes from three different estates, that is is guaranteed to please with equally big and juicy steaks, spicy sausages, or even meaty tuna.
- Variety: Malbec, Argentinian Red
- Appellation: Mendoza, Argentina
- Winery: Catena
- Alcohol: 13.5%
- Bottle: 750 ml
What We Like About Catena Malbec 2017
The classically great structure houses ripe red fruit, floral aromas, with just a grind of pepper. It’s delivered in the lush and intense mouthfeel that you expect from an Argentinian Malbec.
This smooth red retains freshness in its elegance. Its flavors in perfect harmony with the oak of its aging.
And it’s not only with BBQ that it shines. It goes with rich pasta dishes, earthy mushroom, or sausage pizza too.
See Related Article: Best Wine For Salmon
What We Don’t Like About Catena Malbec 2017
If there’s one criticism, it’s that perhaps it tries to be too clever in too many areas but doesn’t quite achieve any. Some may find it a little dry and acidic, and not fruity enough except in its long after taste.
- Good value for money. Similar wines usually cost 50% more
- Earthy truffle and zesty pepper
- Don’t just keep it for BBQ
- Not for drinking on its own
- Acidity cries out for food
4. Reata Sonoma Coast Rosé 2018
Rosé is a fun, flirty wine, perfect for sipping outside on a sunny day. With aromas of strawberry, watermelon, and citrus, Rosé has a good amount of acidity to it that stands up to grilled foods. Like Pinot Noir, Rosé can pair with a wide variety of dishes from seafood to grilled pork and chicken. And let’s not forget the vegetarians, it’s also a perfect match for veggie burgers and skewers.
Sonoma Coast provides ideal growing conditions for Pinot Noir grapes. The 2018 vintage was a particularly good one. The result? This gorgeous Reata Rosé. With light, refreshing acidity, as well as at the BBQ, this one is perfect for easy drinking all year, with or on its own without food.
- Variety: Pinot Noir, Californian Rose
- Appellation: Sonoma Coast, Northern California
- Winery: Reata
- Alcohol: 13.5%
- Bottle Size: 750 ml
What We Like About Reata Sonoma Coast Rosé 2018
Open a bottle of this elegant Rosé of Pinot Noir, and it transforms into a chalky, fruity rosé in the glass. You’re struck by the floral aromas that swirl out.
On the palate, there are the intense flavors of sweet strawberries and red cherries, and the tropical fruit notes of grapefruit, guava, and pineapple.
A dry Rosé is one of the best BBQ all-rounders. And Reata Sonoma Coast Rosé 2018 is no exception.
What We Don’t Like About Reata Sonoma Coast Rosé 2018
Of course, as always it comes down to personal preference and taste. And that slightly dry bitterness might translate to bland and soft for others.
- Refreshingly light Rose!
- This wine is a delight to drinThe nice fruity flavor and crisp
- Too tame with not enough alcohol
5. Flourish Organic Chardonnay 2018
Chardonnay, from warmer climates, works well with BBQ chicken, as the lovely ripe fruits of the wine let the subtle and more gentle flavors of the meat shine.
A lot of people say that an oaky wine goes well with barbecue, that the smoke and the toastiness from the oak barrels match up. We don’t agree. With smoke, the best pairing is a wine with rich fruit such as this 2018 organic Chardonnay from the Californian Flourish winery.
- Variety: Chardonnay, Californian White
- Appellation: Mendocino, Northern California
- Winery: Flourish
- Alcohol: 13.8%
- Bottle Size: 750 ml
What We Like About Flourish Organic Chardonnay 2018
If you believe in good breeding and rearing of your meat, then why not equally sympathetic cultivation and stewardship of the growing of grapes? If you’re buying organic meat, follow that thinking through with organic wine.
The grapes of Flourish Chardonnay 2018 are some of the purest organically grown that we’ve come across. They make for a shining star of a Chardonnay. One that has just the right complexity in its flavors of butterscotch, notes of sweet vanilla, and hints of melon. Matched with the fine balance of just enough acidity, and the smoothness of subtle oak.
What We Don’t Like About Flourish Organic Chardonnay 2018
It’s not all buttery smooth, there’s some spice too. This is why it’s a good pairing for BBQ, but at the same time, this may make it a little too ‘hot’ on the backend for many palates.
- Admirable growing and producing process
- Like velvet in the mouth
- BBQ chicken and Chardonnay. It’s what summers are made for!
- Drier than most Chardonnay
- Too young. Needed another year
Good wine pairings will take your BBQ to another level. Once that will have the mouths of the diners watering as much as the food! So, don’t just think beer next time that you’re making BBQ. Charcoal or flame-grilled food and go together perfectly, bringing out the very best in each other.
It’s almost impossible to just recommend one wine for BBQ. As we’ve hopefully shown, the rich and diverse foods that you might cook, deserve a wine selection to match. However, if you’re anything like us, you’ll most likely be grilling some prime steaks and other meats. In which case the Argentinians who know their barbeque meat can’t be wrong, and Catena Malbec 2017 can’t be beaten.
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