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How to Select the Perfect Red Wine for a Barbecue

BY Andrew Barrow

1st Jan 2015 Drinks

How to Select the Perfect Red Wine for a Barbecue

Us Brits are made of stoic stuff. It might be the dog days of summer but we will be damned if we let it slip away so early and so easily. It might threaten rain. There might even be a frost in the mornings but by Jiminy if the sun is out we shall have a barbeque! Until the clocks change that is.

How do you choose a Red wine for a Barbecue?

I went to a South African Braai the other Sunday. It’s just a barbecue really although all the guests brought something to cook and to share. There were some delicious fruity kebabs. I took a string of locally made herby pork sausages. There were steaks and sous vided chicken and pork that required just seconds over the hot charcoals to finish cooking. Salads of several different varieties and a seriously legendary oxtail & mushroom potjiekos (a South African stew done over coals). A marvellous feast indeed. But what to drink? It’s tricky with all the various flavours competing.  

But frankly, unless you are really out to impress, I wouldn’t stress. Some people prefer white wine, some only ever drink red. We are going for the full meaty hit with our barbecue though – barbecue sauces, juicy burgers, smoky ribs and so on. And for these only a red wine will suffice.

What you should be looking for are reds that come across as ripe, smooth and easy to drink (i.e. they won’t clash with a salad too much, and might even relish a creamy sauce or some mayo).

Australian, Chile, South of France and Spain are the shelves I would head to initially. Fruity-rich Australian Cabernet Sauvignons are always a hit, Cotes du Rhone red would be grand with a burger while spare ribs would relish a Californian Zinfandel (none of that pink Zinfandel rubbish mind, there are limits!). A Spanish blend combining Cabernet and Syrah with Graciano would be fantastic with ribs or steak or anything meaty really, as would any decent Australian Shiraz.

Of the wines I’ve recently enjoyed my picks for taking to a barbecue include the following:

Wirra Wirra Church Block Cabernet-Shiraz-Merlot, 2012, Australia £13.49 from Waitrose, Ocado, Tesco.com, The Drink Shop.

Jean-Luc Colombo Les Abeilles Cotes du Rhone, 2012, Rhone, France £9.99 from Tivoli, The Bottleneck, Butlers Cellar, Bacchus et Al.

Finca Constancia 2011, Tierra de Castilla, Spain £10.50 from M&S, Ocado, Tesco, The Drink Shop.com, Booths

Pullmans Bin 22 Shiraz, 2011, Barossa, Australia £12.99 Virgin Wines (at the time of writing on offer at £9.74)

Pullmans Bin 22 Shiraz

Andrew Barrow is the author of the wonderful drinks blog Spittoon.

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