Sunday, August 26, 2012

Going Beyond Beer at Summer Barbecues

With summer drawing to a close, here are some tips from certified wine professional, Durella DeGrasse, for the perfect wine to serve with barbecue. Welcome back to Book Blather, Durella.

Summer is a challenging season for wine drinkers. Consider why so many people drink beer at summer events - it's refreshing and thirst-quenching. There are a number of light, refreshing wines for summer, however, that are appropriate for warm weather. I urge you to look at the alcohol content for warm weather drinking and entertaining - alcohol and sun are a bad combination for me. Also, lighter fruit flavors and crisp acidity will delight the senses and enhance your summer entertaining and cookouts. Here are some ideas:

  • Malbec. This is a great wine for barbecued meat - ribs, burgers, steaks, etc. It's a red wine that tastes like ripe blackberries bursting with fruit, with some smoke and black pepper. Most important, the best have a bright acidity that keeps them from being too heavy for summer.

  • Beaujolais. One of the great things about Beaujolais is that it pairs with just about any kind of food, so whether you're grilling salmon or serving spare ribs or barbecued chicken, it works. The French serve it lightly chilled.

  • Sauvignon Blanc. A favorite of mine for summer as the grape is naturally high in acidity and has a backbone of citrus fruit that is great on a hot summer day. Good Sauvignon Blancs are coming from all over the world today - Chile, New Zealand, France, and of course, Washington state!

  • Vinho Verde. This wine from Portugal is especially refreshing on sunny days; it's almost colorless, with some spritz that adds to the fun. It is very light in taste and alcohol, usually around nine percent. It has great acidity and is a food-friendly wine.

  • Riesling. More and more people are discovering that Riesling isn't the sweet, simple wine of their youth, but instead runs the gauntlet from very dry to sweet and from minerally to fruit bomb. Germany is the classic home of Riesling - look for Riesling Kabinett on the label.

  • Rose. These wines are getting some much-deserved attention these days. (They are not the white zinfandels that people associated with rose because of its pink color.) Rather they are crisp, dry and full of flavor. Many excellent roses are being produced within Washington state, as well as the south of France, southern Rhone, Spain and Italy.

  • Gruner-Veltliner. Austria's greatest grape. This is a wine not to be missed this summer. It has a layer of refreshing grapefruit and pepper over a light and crisp frame. Sip alone or serve with all seafood dishes.
These wines are just a few to consider - the ultimate guideline to the best summertime wines will be your own.


  1. I have yet had to go "Beyond Beer", because there are so many options to be had in that category. Obviously written by someone that doesn't understand the scope of Craft Beer.

  2. Hi, Hungry Curmudgeon. That's because Durella is a certified WINE professional. Send me something about craft beers, tie it in with books and I'll feature you on Book Blather.