Many years ago I hosted a cookout party for family and friends to celebrate my sister’s achievement of earning her Masters degree in Early Childhood Education. I made, truly, the best pulled pork this side of the Mississippi and I thought to myself (as I often do): Rhône reds. Turns out, I had a houseful of white wine drinkers, people that actually asked me specifically for a glass of white wine. I learned two things about cookouts that day: first, at parties go with variety…second, always have an over-sized bottle of white wine.
It sounds simple, but I don’t see any reason why a cookout shouldn’t be simple. Too much fuss turns a hostess into a stuffy, boring swirl of no-fun. In American we are in the heart of cookout season – grills are fired up from here to September and beyond and everyone needs a little something to drink. Here are some of my suggestions for pairing your grilled cookout foods with wines to suit everyone.
An Over-sized Bottle of White Wine: Frontera Chardonnay 2016
Frontera is made by Concha y Toro, one of the world’s premier wine producers and South America’s leading exporter of fine wines and this bottle comes from Chile’s Central Valley. I’m featuring the 1.5 liter bottle for obvious reasons; you’ll need second glasses for everyone as this goes great with grilled seafood, creamy salads and I’m told it makes a yummy cucumber-lime cocktail called the Al Fresco. $12
A Wine from Mexico: Adobe Guadalupe Gabriel 2011
As I’ve mentioned here before, my hubby grew up on the south side of Chicago. Mexican street food and family recipes are a big part of celebratory meals there, and we’ve continued to require grilled Arrachera (Mexican skirt steak) whenever we have a summer party. If you can get it from a Mexican butcher, that’s your best bet. I’m recommending a wine from Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico; the closest winemaking region to San Diego. Adobe Guadalupe is known for the “Angel Collection”, traditional and not-so-traditional red blends and has been making wine for over two decades. $47
A Wine for Smoked Meats: Palmer Vineyards Merlot 2014
Both of my sons learned to use a smoker from my brother-in-law and I’m jealous that I don’t know how to use one myself. Oh well, guess I just have to be the eater, not the cooker. With your gorgeous smoked meats (where you at, smoked brisket?) I suggest this Merlot from Long Island. Yes, Merlot is a big wine…but I love that this one has a bit of smoke on the palate but plenty of fruit to round out the mouthfeel. $25
A Perfect American Rosé: Murietta’s Well Livermore Valley Dry Rosé 2016
I love that this wine is a blend of Grenache and Counoise – a varietal you don’t see grown much in the US but is a celebrated Rhône varietal and I never say no to Rhône. I am so impressed with the Murietta’s Well portfolio, out of Livermore Valley in California, that I’m excited to hear what everyone eats with this. Because I want to try it all! I would love to have it with grilled chicken loaded with herbs or a salsa verde. $30
Elegance Al Fresco: Rain Dance Chehalem Mountains Estate Pinot Noir 2015
The grapes for this wine grow in the clean and beautiful Chehalem Mountains in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. If you plan to step up the elegance at your cookout, this wine is unforgettable. I’m tasting it with roasted mushrooms or a herbal-seasoned lamb. Rain Dance is the creation of married Oregonians Celia & Ken Austin III who released their first vintage in 2013. This is truly a wine that comes from a love of place for this couple. $40
No-Counting-Calories with Macchia Lodi Primativo 2014 “Devious”
There is nothing wrong with a stuffed burger – the bigger the better. This wine is prepared to take on the best in grass-fed beef goodness stuffed with rich mushrooms and bold cheese. I’m thinking buttered brioche bun, too. From Lodi, this has peppercorn spice but is food-friendly and smooth. Macchia likens the palate to Zin, but with “Italian flair”. For more on this unique wine, read up at Lodi Winegrape Commission’s blog. $25
A Wine for Grilled Veg: Bodegas Nekeas Vega Sindoa Garnacha Rosé 2015
I’m all about the wonders of Garnacha (Grenanche, in France) and I’m a fan of garden fresh produce. This wine fits the menu just-right. From Bodegas Nekeas located in the Valdizarbe Valley in Navarra, Spain this wine has a fresh sense of spice that goes well with organic veggies. Also called Rosado, this wine is food-friendly and excellent chilled for the summer months. Could be enjoyed as an apero, too! Less than $10
Wine Pairing Weekend
This month Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla invited the Wine Pairing Weekend bloggers to share what they would pour with things they’ve grilled. You can read here invitation here. If you enjoy reading about food and wine, follow the hashtag #WinePW on Saturday, June 10th at 10 am central when we be chatting about these posts and others.
Here’s what the #WinePW crew is planning…
- Cindy at Grape Experiences is All Fired Up! Light the Grill and Pour Troon Wines
- David of Cooking Chat will be posting Grilled Steak and Onions
- Gwendolyn of Wine Predator is sharing On Grill: Salmon, Squash, Stone Fruit; In Glass: Square Peg Pinot Noir x2
- Jade from Tasting Pour will be joining us, but doesn’t have her title nailed down just yet!
- Jeff of FoodWineClick will write about Summer Wines With Memphis Style Slow Smoked Ribs
- Jill of L’occasion plans Wine for A Summer Cookout (thanks for reading)
- Julie at Wine-n-Friends will be pairing Smoked Pork and Tempranillo: An evening with friends #winePW
- Mary at Vindulge has joined us for the first time with Smoked Beef Short Ribs, Wine Braised
- Michele at Rockin’ Red Blog writes about Summer Grilling and Wine Pairings
- Nancy at Pull That Cork will share Grilled Chicken and Rosé, of Course, for #winePW
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm will be pairing Raspberry/Mango Glazed Ham Steaks with Edna Valley Pinot Noir
- Our host Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla has planned Grilled Octopus and Potato Salad with Donkey & Goat’s Pet Nat.
Some of these wines were provided as media samples, but all suggestions and opinions are my own (with help from my hubby when it comes to food).