Wines to Pair with BBQ

Wines for low n slow BBQ:

First there’s the standard – although breakable to a degree – pairing guidelines:

1) Pair to the sauce, not the meat.

2) Red Meat = Red Wine. 

3) White Meat = White Wine

4) Fish = White Wine

Rules to be broken for red meat/ red wine: 

If the meat is well done, without a sauce, an oaked Chardonnay is actually better. But you have to know it’s been done in oak. 

If the Chardonnay has been done in stainless or concrete, it’ll be too “fresh” for red meat.
You want an “earthier” white wine for well done, lightly seasoned red meat. 

Beef Brisket: 

Some people say Cabernet Sauvignon, but that wine has tannins looking to tame uncoagulated blood – something brisket doesn’t have.

I’d rather see a Merlot or a red Zinfandel (USA) aka Primitivo (Italy)


Sauce over ribs is typically “tangy” so a Cabernet Franc would work.
But I also like the idea of a Gerwurztraminer which goes well with spicy dishes. 

Pulled Pork:

Again, think about the sauce. If there’s no sauce, go with a Pinot Noir.

If there’s a sauce – maybe a Riesling. Its residual sweetness goes well with the vinegar in the sauce. 

Rules to be broken for White Meat = White Wine.
Try a Beaujolais with chicken. Beaujolais is made from the Gamay grape and it’s delightfully refreshing.

I like Sauvignon Blanc with any kind of chicken. But I’m a bit fussy about which Sauvignon Blanc. 
Cloudy Bay (New Zealand) is totally worth the few extra dollars, as is the Babich (New Zealand)

Rules to be broken for Fish = White Wine: If it’s Salmon – the wine should be Pinot Noir. It’s a classic pairing.
If it’s a firm-fleshed fish with an earthy sauce, go with an oaked Chardonnay.

Pairing wine with BBQ is the perfect opportunity to get friends involved. If you’re the pit-master, have your guests bring a variety of assigned wine, along with tasting cups. Then have them decide which wine they like best with which BBQ.

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