Wines for the Barbecue

When those barbecues will be come out of their winter hibernation and get fired up for those lazy weekend lunches and chilled out evenings, thoughts turn to what wines work best with barbecues. So what wines do we recommend for barbecue dishes?

First off there is one of the all time classic combinations - Steak with Malbec - those Argentinians know a thing or two about great steaks and therefore what could be a more natural accompaniment than a nice rich juicy Argentine Malbec - most of these come from Mendoza at the foot of the Andes. Also works well with burgers or lamb chops.

After steaks, probably the most popular barbecue food is the great British banger. Sausages are bursting with meat juice and so need a lovely juicy fruity wine like an Australian Shiraz or a Californian Zinfandel (not the sugary sweet White Zinfandel which has no place at the barbie). The full fruit flavours of these wines work amazingly with plump bangers but will also prove a good match for burgers.

Chicken is an all time barbecue favourite but one that is notoriously difficult to pair a wine with - mainly because of the many different ways of serving barbecue chicken. If your thighs and drumsticks are being served au natural, then we would recommend a Chardonnay from Chile or Australia but if you have it coated in barbecue or spicy marinade, then you may want to try a a juicy spicy red to stand up to the strong flavours of the coating - the Zinfandel we have already mentioned would work well or a New World Merlot - Chile, Australia or California would be best.

Lamb Chops are full of juicy flavour but can be a little fatty, so a Spanish Tempranillo has the acidity to cut through the fattiness and deep full flavour to complement the rich meat - either a Rioja or a Ribera del Duero would be superb.

Some folks love fish on their barbecues and there are a few really interesting wines that would work well - why not try a Picpoul de Pinet from Southern France - refreshing but full of flavour and usually at a good price. Alternatively a Spanish Albarinho works very well, with the best ones coming from the region called Rias Baixas on the Atlantic coast.

Prawns or other seafood need a light, zingy wine and what better than a fresh Sauvignon Blanc - either New Zealand for those fresh grassy gooseberry flavours or Sancerre for mineral crispness.

Finally to go with that Tomato Salad you need a light red with high acidity and there is nothing better than a Barbera from Northern Italy.

And to really surprise and delight your guests, have you ever tried putting a Camembert cheese on the barbecue - most people have tried baked Camembert, but wrapped in foil and placed on the barbie for 20 minutes gives a deliciously cream oozy taste sensation with just a hint of smokiness - and a lovely oaky Chardonnay - either Burgundy or Australia - is the perfect partner.