Whether you’re at the family cottage or a rental retreat, in the backyard or on a condo balcony – and whether gathering guidelines allow for a few friends or family only – the season of summer sipping and barbecue has arrived. To celebrate the warm weather, we’ve assembled a collection of fine wines in a range of summery styles to suit all tastes and menus and pair perfectly with a deck chair.
Big, bold red wines are perfect for pairing with barbecue favourites, especially when meat is on the menu. Full-bodied reds made from the likes of Cabernet, Malbec, Merlot or Shiraz seem made to match grilled red meats, particularly sizzling steaks, smoky burgers or saucy ribs. Not only do such wines have the oomph to equal the intensity of the food, but the time these wines typically spend in oak barrels often brings layers of smoky, spicy character that complements all those classic grilled meat flavours.
There’s enough variety in this collection that you might want to stock up for the summer season. No cellar? No problem.
Wine bottles prefer a cool, dark place to bide their time until they’re opened. If you’re spending summer weekends (or weeks) at a cottage that isn’t equipped with AC or a wine fridge, don’t fret; you still can keep your wines in good stead. Find a closet, cupboard, or quiet corner of a rarely used room and store the wines there, preferably inside a box, undisturbed until the day you plan to open them. Then, pop them in the fridge, cooler, or a cold-water bath long enough to chill them, and enjoy.
Barbecue’s not just about big reds. The experienced wine-loving barbecue buff knows that other styles can be great with grilled foods, too. Rosés, lighter reds made from Pinot or Valpolicella grapes, and fuller-bodied white wines from Chardonnay or Chenin Blanc are amazing with barbecued chicken, gourmet sausages, or salmon. Sparkling wines, along with light-bodied or aromatic whites made from Greco or Sauvignon Blanc can be fab with grilled lake fish, seafood or garden veggies – the latter being equally exquisite with rosé. All these bright, crisp wine styles refresh the palate between bites, and the flavours often provide a tangy citrus twist (in case you forgot the lemon wedges back at the condo).
Humankind shall not live by barbecue alone. All the wines collected here can also be savoured as sippers, particularly if you follow some simple tips. Firstly, chill. More specifically, serve sparkling wines around 6°C, white and rosé wines around 10°C, and red wines around 16°C. Additionally, when choosing snacks to nibble, remember that firm red wines become softer sippers when paired with protein-rich foods such as nuts and cheeses (preferably firmer cheeses, unless you find a cool, shady spot or you enjoy especially runny Camembert).
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