Friday, August 23, 2013

5 Best Grilling Wines

Best Grilling Wines

To help you enjoy the last few weeks of summer grilling, here is a guide to help with what can be tricky, because big reds that normally match with red meat are about as refreshing as hot coffee, yet white wine seems a little wimpy next to a rib-eye. “Grilling adds different levels of smokiness and char, and those are flavors that you want to consider. They can definitely overwhelm more timid wines,” says Bretton Lammi, sommelier for The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, which includes The Overlook Grill. To help get through this trickness and straight to the deliciousness here, are few wines delicious and affordable enough they may become new staples.

Dry Rosé

Pink is a color, not a flavor. Consider a dry rosé, which can be made from any red grape, and has a dry, crisp, refreshing flavor with little resemblance to grandma’s white Zinfandel. “When in doubt, look for a European style rosé, especially Spanish,” says Bryan Dayton, owner of Oak at Fourteenth in Boulder, Colorado. These wines can be chilled like a white, allowing them to match with poultry and seafood, yet offer some of the gusto and berry flavors of a red wine that go great with smoky grilled flavors.

Pair with: Chicken with Pineapple Mustard Glaze

Oregon Pinot Noir

Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic with steak, but grilling isn’t strictly about meat. When you’re adding vegetables, or even salad greens like crispy heads of Romaine to the grill grate, you need a lighter, more versatile red wine. “Pinot Noir from Oregon and Burgundy is generally on the lighter side, so it won't overpower more delicate grilled foods, and it often has smoky flavors that really work with the grill,” says Lammi. The wine’s earthy, savory notes and good acidity also make it a match with balsamic vinegar.

Pair with: Balsamic-Glazed Grilled Radicchio

Argentine Malbec

“Argentina makes me think cowboys and that big spit of beef,” says Dayton. The black fruit flavors and tannins of this wine allow it to stand up to serious steaks, while the Southern Hemisphere price means you can ice it down in the cooler for a few minutes without remorse. “The flavors are so big, they shine through and make steak really pop,” says Dayton.

Pair with: Bobby Flay’s Chimichurri Steak

Bargain Barolo

“The powerful tannins and structure of Barolo, along with its ability to echo smoky flavors make it an easy pick for grilling,” says Lammi. The only challenge is finding the filet mignon of red wine on a ground beef budget. Look for some of the larger producers, or consider wines made from Nebbiolo (the same grape as Barolo) from regions of Italy, including Barbaresco, Gattinara, and Lombardy.

Pair with: T-Bones

Que Syrah?

If you want to find good values in wines, you need to be ahead of the trend. “Syrah is like Pinot Noir before Sideways. It's underappreciated, and that means bargains,” says Lammi. The more affordable wines from California and Washington State have muscle and spice, while avoiding the high alcohol of Zinfandel, another popular grilling wine, which makes these Syrahs robust but refreshing. Syrah is a classic partner for lamb, as well as beef, serving up inky dark fruit and black pepper spice that make a perfect match for meaty flavors.

Pair with: Lamb Chops

Credit: Men's Health