The perfect wine for your BBQ

Summer and the beach and BBQ are beckoning. For those of us who don’t care for beer, what wines are ideal for some sun-drenched fun? 

  • Wine must have must have a robust taste to stand up to the strong tastes of BBQ’ed food.
  • BBQs foods tend to be oily or greasy so the wine must have sufficient acidity to cut through the fattiness of the food, cleaning the palette and enhancing your to enjoyment of the wine.
  • Alcohol levels should be lower to deal with drinking in the sun, which can make the effects more noticeable. (Plus, it’s easy to have one or two too many at a barbecue.) 
  • Red wine can be slightly chilled to about 19 deg C, which makes it a bit more refreshing on a hot day. Place the wine in the fridge for about 30 minutes prior to serving.​​​​​​​​​​​

Both White and Rose wine can be well chilled to about 4 to 6 deg C (normal fridge temperature). These days it is completely acceptable to drop a block of ice into your glass of rose or white wine (even Red!). This will keep it cooler and server to dilute it slightly thus reducing your actual wine consumption.

Tip: If you add a little carbonated (soda) water to your white or rose wine, your “Spritzer” is a refreshing and a lower alcohol drink. Great for the hot day around the BBQ.

More tips from “The wine Ladies”

Cheese and Wine matching made simple

Cheese-and-wine events are slowly reappearing, but this time with a little more sophistication. Thanks to newly refined tastes and an appreciation for culinary diversity, we are more specific in our choices of cheeses and wines. With careful menu design, you can create a sensory extravaganza through the fine arts of wines and cheese.

Choose 3 to 4 cheeses at most. If possible, stick to a single region for your cheeses and your wines. Generally, each cheese is matched with a single wine, so choose carefully and try to match region to region.

Contrary to popular belief, many wines are not good partners to certain cheeses. Follow these guidelines for optimal pairings:

So, at your next cheese-and-wine party,serve:

Don’t be shy to guide your guests know as to which wines are meant for which cheeses, it will be worth it!

Food and Wine Secrets

It may be a somewhat traditional view, but the de facto rule of thumb is that white wine should be matched with white meat and red wine with red meat. This view is reflective of the wine styles of several decades ago, when white wines were nearly always lighter, fruity and crisp, and red wines nearly always heavy and tannic. The tannins in the reds helped tenderise the meats and the whites were considered light enough to complement, not overpower, the more subtle and gentle flavours of the chicken and fish dishes. The tartness and citrus-y elements of white wines naturally accentuated the buttery, delicate tastes of poultry and seafood, while the robust, savoury profile of red wines makes the hearty flavours of beef and pork stand out.

The second rule of thumb is the traditional service sequence of tastes and styles. Ideally, one should start with the driest of the wines and end with the most fruity and sweet. Views have changed, however, and today the most important thing is that wines are matched on a style-for-style basis.

For example, a barbequed spicy chicken served with ratatouille and potato-bake will work beautifully with South African Shiraz or the lighter Rioja. If you take out the barbeque and keep the spices, your wine selection could change to a crisp Viognier or a Gewürztraminer or even an off-dry German Riesling.

Today, a better way to match your dish with the most appropriate wines is to match styles and taste-sensation dominances:

● Match fatty or oily foods such as oily fish, Parma Ham, heavier cream cheeses, pâté and some lamb dishes with crisp (high acidity) dry wines.

● Match heavier red meat dishes, particularly those meats that would normally be regarded as tough with the more tannic red wines such as a younger Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Bordeaux or a Barbaresco or Barolo from Piedmont.

● Sweet foods go well with sweet wines, but it is important that the wine is as sweet or sweeter than the food, or else the wine will taste tart and acidic.

● Ensure that the wine equals the “weight” and richness of the food.​​​​​​​

● Salty foods are given a lift by adding sweetness to the wine selection. Well-known examples are Sauternes (Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blend from the Bordeaux Region) and Roquefort Cheese (or a sauce made from stronger, bigger Roqueforti); Stilton and Ports are a must-have around Christmas time.

When choosing the dish to go with your wine, consider the origin of the wines as an important guide. If you are planning to serve a wonderful Rioja Reserva, investigate the foods typical of the Rioja region. Examples in this case are Tapas. Beef Bourguignon is a sure thing with a good Burgandian Pinot Noir, or big Osso Buco will work fabulously with a beautifully balanced Chianti or Sangiovese.

In most cases, you will find the matching easiest if you match regional foods with their wines. This is particularly true for continental wines and dishes. When making a sauce or a saucy meal such as a casserole, select your wine and then sip a little of the wine before tasting the food and making any final adjustments to the flavour.