Wine and BBQ – The Ultimate Faux Pas?

Can I drink wine at a BBQ?

The grill is fired up and the smell of smoky meat fills the air. The ultimate companion for BBQ, beer is chilling in ice buckets. The problem is I do not really care for beer. I do not care if an ice cold beer is the perfect complement to beer. So what's a girl to do when it's hot and humid and she's not a big beer drinker? Can you really drink wine at a BBQ? The answer is yes but pairing wine with BBQ can be tricky. The smokiness that makes BBQ so good can overpower a subtle wine. The sauces that are either brushed on or kept to the side can also conflict with the wines.

If you want to keep it simple go for a Zinfandel or mix up some pitchers of Sangria. Zinfandels have a strong intense fruity flavor that does not compete with the sauces and can hold up to the heat in some BBQ. Sangria is good because it has a cool fruity effect and can be made inexpensively in large quantities to help keep cool on a hot day.

Looking for a more precise pairing? You need to understand the types of BBQ you may encounter. Each region of the US has a claim to a unique BBQ style. There are 6 distinct types of barbeque that are the subject of intense debt over who makes it best.

East North Carolina BBQ – This BBQ tents have a whole hog and has a strong thin vinegar sauce. The pork has a lot of flavor and is extremely acidic. Go with a Riesling, a sweet wine. Wakefield Promised Land and Snoqualmie Naked Riesling are good bets. Think of it as the wine version of sweet tea. Another option would be a Barbera since its sweet and has a big flavor with a lot of tannin. Vajra Barbera d'Alba, or Michele Chiarlo Barbera d'Asti are good picks

Lexington North Carolina BBQ – A thicker sweeter version of East NC BBQ. Pair it with a Petite Syrah like Stags Leap Winery Petite Syrah

South Carolina Mustard BBQ – Another wet style BBQ with a sharp sweet and tangy sauce. Go with a intense rich wine

Memphis Style BBQ – The sauce is more of an accent to the ribs which are slowly smoked for hours. A Merlot like the Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot would be a good pairing

Kansas City BBQ – This bbq is sweet thick and hot. You need a bold assertive wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon blend or a Zinfandel.

Texas Style BBQ – This is all about the rub and brisket reigns in Texas. No wet covered sauce her. The BBQ sauce is definitely a sidekick and served on the side. I would go with a Tempranillo or a big pitcher of Sangria to keep cool in the Texas heat

If you decide to go with Sangria go with inexpensive wines. No need to pull out your expensive wines to make this wine "punch". Some good picks are:

  • Gnarly Head 2009 Old Vine Zinfandel
  • Williamette Vineyards Riesling
  • Tablelands Sauvignon Blanc
  • 3 Stones Sauvignon Blanc
  • Snoqualmie Sauvignon Blanc

Check out additional articles written by this author at Wine Storage Solution .