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Grilling grapes

“What’s a good wine to serve at my next barbecue?”

With queries regarding my favourite Michael Jackson performance finally petering out (and for the record it’s The Jacksons’ Blame It on The Boogie) my July begins to return to normal with every second person asking me: “What’s a good wine to serve at my next barbecue?”

Now when someone rolls ever grilling opportunity in the singular description of “barbecue” I assume they really mean hamburgers and hotdogs rather than a well planed menu worthy of Bobby Flay.

The trouble with finding a liquid partner for burgers and weenies is all the extras. Ketchup, relish, mustard and spicy sauces can generally work out a compromise with medium dry white wines (and cold beer) but they can wreak havoc on a red.

Reds that are gulpable (like a fine brew) make the best match and the 2006 Fish Eye Shiraz ($8.95 - $10.99) from California fits the bill with its soft, cherry/red licorice sweetness, subtle tannins and fresh flavour trail.

While Peter Lehmann’s 2005 Clancy’s Red ($17.99 - $19.87) is an Aussie meld of shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and merlot it isn’t your typical Barossa Valley bruiser. Well-balanced and plum-infused it makes nice with even the most aggressive condiments.

• Prices reflect the range across the country. Some products may not be available in all provinces.

– Peter Rockwell is the everyman’s wine writer, working in the liquor industry for more than 25 years and travelling the globe looking for something to fill his glass and put into words.

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