HOME > Chowhound > Wine >


Best wine pairing for barbecue?

Smoky spareribs. Sauce on the side so no need to worry about the sweet / sour issue.

Big zinfandel's a classic.

Other suggestions?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. pork spare ribs? argentine malbec, perhaps?

    1. I like sangiovese with BBQ...most 2004s from Tuscany I've tasted have been excellent (either Chianti Classico or Rosso di Montalcino).

      1 Reply
      1. re: Husky

        I am a zinfamaniac but I second the suggestion of sangiovese with BBQ. I think it's a perfect match. May I also suggest, at @ $9 a bottle, Norton Sangiovese from Argentina.

      2. How bout a petite sirah?

        David Bruce is available at a lot of places, though it's nothing special.

        Rosenblum Heritage Clones from SF is very good for the price.

        If you feel like shelling out a little more, the Stags Leap is always good, although it may be better suited for something like a steak au poivre.

        1. robert...a list of wines from parker's column in the magazine at the center of the food and wine universe, Business Week. just kidding. first his pick on rosés, the second specifically for BBQ. enjoy:

          Dominio de Eguren 2005 Protocolo Rosada (Castilla, Spain)

          89 points. A dry, zesty rosé with surprising body, a fragrant personality (strawberries and cherries), and a crisp, zingy finish. It is a blend of 50% bobal and 50% tempranillo. $6

          Château Guiot 2005 Rosé Costières de Nîmes (Languedoc, France)

          87 points. A blend of 55% syrah, 40% grenache, and 5% mourvèdre, it displays a nose of spicy raspberries and pepper. Light to medium-bodied and satin-textured, it offers a flavor profile of red fruits with a note of peach that makes an appearance in the finish. Drink it over the next six to nine months. $10

          Falesco 2005 Vitiano Rosé (Umbria, Italy)

          87 points. It's a blend of merlot, sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon, and a touch of aleatico. The dramatic ruby color is followed by a floral, kirsch-liqueur-like nose, fresh, lively strawberry and cherry flavors, and a zesty finish. Consume it before the end of 2006. $10

          Turkey Flat Vineyards 2006 Rosé (Barossa, Australia)

          90 points. A dramatic neon pink color (will it glow in the dark?) is followed by a full-bodied, dry, fresh, flamboyant rosé made from a combination of grenache, cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, and dolcetto. It boasts a knockout bouquet of strawberries and cherries, terrific fruit, and plenty of body as well as flavor volume. Enjoy it over the next 12 months. $16

          Torbreck 2005 Saignée (Barossa, Australia)

          92 points. One of the finest rosés in the marketplace, this 100% mourvèdre is fashioned by one of Australia's most brilliant winemakers, David Powell. Barrel-fermented in neutral wood, it reveals a light salmon color along with a blockbuster nose of plums, anise, pepper, and sweet cherries as well as currants. Dry, but full-bodied with amazing length, it is a serious rosé for true connoisseurs. Drink it over the next year. $20

          Tablas Creek 2005 Rosé (Paso Robles, Calif.)

          90 points. It's a full-throttle, big, exuberant, dry example bursting with character. Made from mourvèdre, grenache, and counoise, its deep pink color is followed by a stunning nose of plums, raspberries, and figs. Full-bodied, with superb fruit and tremendous crispness and authority, it is amazing stuff. Drink it in the first year to take advantage of its fresh flavors. $27

          Billecart-Salmon 1996 Cuvée Elizabeth Salmon Rosé (Champagne, France)

          95 points. Vivid strawberry, raspberry, and berry fruit with hints of smoke, crushed rocks, and a touch of rhubarb. Light pink in hue, this sparkling wine is boldly flavored, with crisp acidity. Most of its character is at the back of the mouth. It's a brilliant, medium- to full-bodied vintage rosé to drink over the next 10-plus years. $150

          "Most people serve beer at a barbecue. But the right wine can transform a humble hamburger into a special meal. Barbecue wines should be inexpensive, immensely fruity, largely un-oaked, and have loads of red and black fruit. In the best cases, the wine has more personality than you would expect for the price. Although some will stay for two or three years, most are meant to be enjoyed now. Here are some of my favorites from around the world."

          Hugues Beaulieu 2006 Picpoul de Pinet
          87 points. An absolutely delicious light-bodied, tank-fermented and -aged white. Crisp grapefruit, lemon, and lime notes jump from the glass. This wine is a perfect match for grilled seafood or chicken. $9

          Guigal 2005 Cotes du Rhône
          89 points. A blend of 50% syrah, 40% grenache, and 10% mourvèdre, this wine is an amazing value with terrific texture, a deep ruby/purple color, loads of cassis, black cherry, licorice, and spice. It is an all-purpose red with enormous crowd appeal. $12

          Georges Duboeuf 2005 Fleurie Flower Label
          87 points. Duboeuf is the emperor of Beaujolais, and this one has a beautiful, spicy taste of black cherries and an expansive mouthfeel. It is a fruit-forward crowd-pleaser. $12

          Thorn-Clarke 2005 Shiraz Terra Barossa
          91 points. This is a heady, full-flavored, inky-purple wine that saturates the mouth. It will stand up to just about anything you throw on the grill and will deliver plenty of fruit no matter how much mustard, ketchup, horseradish, or spice you put on the dish. $13

          Cavas El Cep Marques de Gelida Brut Exclusive Sparkling White (2002 or 2003)
          90 points. This Spanish sparkler offers plenty of yeasty brioche, apple skin, and white peach characteristics. It's a perfect palate-cleanser, and an absolute steal. $14

          Les Garrigues 2005 Côtes du Rhône Cuvée Romaine
          90 points. Made mainly from old-vine grenache, this is an inky-purple-colored wine with a knockout perfume of melted licorice, roasted meats, black cherries, and jam. Hints of roasted herbs and smoky, meaty notes make it an ideal wine for grilled foods. $15

          Falesco 2005 Merlot dell'Umbria
          89 points. If you're grilling steak in the Florentine style (brushed with olive oil), select a wine from central Italy such as this merlot. It boasts a deep ruby/purple color and a big sweet nose that includes mocha, espresso roast, and loads of black cherry fruit. $16

          Monti 2005 Montepulciano d'Abruzzi
          89 points. This wine is a perfect match for charcoal and wood-fired food, because it tastes as if it emerged from scorched earth. It displays an inky-purple color and huge, almost volcanic notes of fire, roasted meat, licorice, and truffles. $16

          Caggiano 2004 Aglianico Arpinia Tauri Campania
          88 points. This wine from southern Italy seems to have been created to be enjoyed with outdoor cooking. A dense ruby/purple-colored wine, it has loads of sweet black fruits mixed with charcoal, spice, and a hint of mint. $17

          Source: Business Week 6/26/07 and 7/2/07

          9 Replies
          1. re: revets2

            Côtes du Rhône can be a great match.

            Never tried Beaujolais with BBQ, goes plenty well with cassoulet which has vaguely similar flavors. I suppose Madiran would be good, too.

            Picpoul de Pinet, don't see that one every day.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              personally, my favorite varietals with BBQ are usually a carmignano, sagrantino di montelfalco, like CDR syrah, or a big toro. lastly, soju with lots of lemon is terrific, too.

              buen provecho!

              1. re: revets2

                The Turkey Flat Rose listed above is dynamite ! It's nice to have a chilled yet flavorful wine with BBQ. I also like Petite Syrah and have enjoyed most from Paso Robles and especially Victor Hugo.

                1. re: TonyO

                  I agree with the Syrah form PR Victor Hugo.. I am a fan in general having a
                  Syrah with grilled smoky pork or beef..

                  1. re: Lori SF

                    I agree with the rose pairing. They tend to go very nice with a bbq. Gargiulo Vineyards in Oakville has an awesome rose.

                    1. re: adefiori

                      I believe you, but since I don't drink a lot of roses, I'm not really able to picture why a rose would go well with barbecue. can you explain?

                      1. re: cimui

                        Rose's are the perfect wine because most bbq's tend to take place outdoors where you don't have the luxury of air conditioning meaning if it's 95 degrees outside your red wine is going to be as well. Strong red wines like zin, rhones, syrahs, etc. are a great match with robust bbq sauces etc, but they don't taste great warm. White wines are refreshing when served chilled but are not strong enough to stand up against the smokey flavors from the grill or bbq sauce. This is where rose is perfect - dry rose may I add. Rose wines are served chilled so they are refreshing on a hot day but they have more depth and richness and can stand up to stronger foods. Rose can be made from any red grape and the darker varietals make deeper color wines. The best thing about rose is the price. Most are under $20 and for the care free days of summer - it's perfect.

                        1. re: cherrypielover

                          My question was about pit-smoked spareribs, not about meat cooked on a grill, which is a much more open-ended topic since we're talking about hundreds of very different dishes. E.g. with an aged Niman steak I'd probably drink an old Bordeaux, with duck sausages a light pinot noir, with antichuchos maybe a Tempier rose.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            If we're talking about "deliberate smokiness"... as in throwing on some wet hickory chips, etc... without alot of goppy sauce, then IMO chardonnay has to be considered, regardless of the meat. There's no better "smoke" wine than Chardonnay, IMO, and when it's a pronounced taste note in the dish, give it a try.

          2. For BBQ chicken and shrimp if you're using a spicy SAUCE, consider a riesling...

            For BBQ chicken and seafood where there's not alot of sauce but plenty of SMOKE, consider chardonnay especially if you have a heavy-garlic marinade.

            1. Mr. Lauriston, you have introduced many of us to an incredible cilantro rice recipe and I am often impressed by your exquisite tastes. As for a pairing for barbeque, I don't think any wine could better an Anchor Steam Ale. I hope this is not heresy in SF!

              3 Replies
              1. re: Veggo

                Why would something local be heresy?

                1. re: wally

                  wally, I have observed that in the SF region there is a baseline assumption that anything edible has a perfect wine partner out there somewhere. That approach is way over my head, ignorant as I am about fine things. My heretic postulate was that maybe beer goes better with barbecue. But I truly enjoy the wine banter, and the rice. Really.

                  1. re: Veggo

                    Beer is great with barbecue, but not after you've been drinking wine for a couple of hours.

              2. I love a good South African pinotage with barbecue...deep, almost leathery, and assertive enough to stand up to bold flavors. KWV makes an excellent one (priced at about $12).

                1. Champagne, esp Rose Chmpagne.

                  A poster below mentioned the '96 Billecart-Salmon Cuvee Elisabeth. Very expensive and now very hard to find, but that is easily the best Rose Chapagne I've ever had...


                  Pfalz Scheurebe Spatlese. Or perhaps straight Pfalz Riesling Spatlese. In this rare instance I would reccomend a younger one.

                  Depending upon spiciness, you could also try a really good Moscato d'Asti such as is made by Cerretto.

                  If it isn't too spicy and you want a red, I would go with a barrique-aged Barbera.

                  Of course, I prefer a Belgain or Belgain styled Tripel with my BBQ ribs...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: whiner

                    whiner would drink Champagne with anything (and I completely agree with him)

                    While Zin is the classic pairing, I think a good fruity Shiraz would also work well. If you want something more refined, a CNdP or Gigondas would also go well.

                  2. Robert,

                    I normally reach for a Zin, or smoky Syrah (usually N Rhône. Howeve, I see the Malbec as a definite possibility. Unless the sauce is tomato-based and a tad tart, I don't think that I'd pull a Sangiovese. Bar-b-que (spell it however) can be so very different, that the variables are endless. Just going from Eastern North Carolina to Western North Carolina, you will get a totally different take - not to mention Texas, Memphis, Kansas City... unless I have other reasons to choose a wine, I'll opt-out and grab for the Zin.


                    1. My all-time favorite wine with barbecue is Marietta Cellars Old Vine Red. It's a blend from Mendocino... zin, syrah, mourvedre and others from time to time. always works!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ChefJune

                        Anything from Tuscany is my personal preference, especially 100 percent sangiovese Super Tuscans. I don't like big-fruit, high-alcohol new-world wines like Zin any more.

                        I would also go for Beaujolais, which is the #1 cafe wine in France and perfect for enjoying in the outdoors. Another new favorite is Spanish wines, which tend to go well with grilled meats. The grape varieties are similar to those in Southern France.

                        I would discourage opening an expensive Bordeaux, Burgundy or Barolo if eating outdoors. And really, a more rustic wine is best with BBQ.

                        1. re: ChefJune

                          Oh yeah, I drank a lot of Marietta Old Vines with BBQ a few years back, circa releases 16 to 29. Haven't seen it around lately.

                          1. Here's a more specific suggestion-
                            Moric Neckenmarkt Blaufrankisch 2003
                            91 points from Robert Parker:
                            "The self-styled village wine 2003 Blaufrankisch Neckenmarkter combines blackberry and cooked strawberry with brown spices and high-toned cherry pit and almond esters in the nose, then comes to the palate astonishingly juicy and crunchy for this torrid vintage, combining a creamy texture and leesy adjuncts with clear, pure black fruit and a chalky mineral finishing character. A 2003 Blaufrankisch Neckenmark Alte Reben was done in a higher percentage of new wood than Velich would normally want and was not really revealing its old vines depth for now. Rolland Velich is no longer working with his brother Heinz at the family estate in Apetlon, but is pursuing his own dream, working with old vines in the heart of “Blaufrankisch country” – Mittelburgenland, specifically Lutzmannsburg and Neckenmark. (Only his winery is located in Grosshoflein.) His are wines in a style you will not encounter anywhere else in Austria: Blaufrankisch vinified as if it were Grand Cru Burgundy, and from hillsides (including terraces) and pre-clonal vines the like of which you will not find being cultivated in most of Mittelburgenland. One sip is an Oz experience (and I don’t mean Aussie, mates!). From his dreams, to his vines, to his vinification, to his retro label, Velich is in a world of his own. He calls his project “Blaufrankisch Unplugged” (and Moric – the derivation of which I shall explain another time – is pronounced like “Moritz”)"

                            1. We had some Beausejour '05 Chinon going when we dug into the ribs, but it was a bit light, so we opened a Heinrich '05 blaufrankish. The high acid was good with the fatty ribs.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                Dry Creek olr Russian River Zinfandels from Sonoma County, California