At the tail end of last summer, I treated myself to a shiny new barbecue with the ambitious intention of braving the Irish weather and cooking outside through the autumn and winter months. But Bear Grylls I am not, and my enthusiasm for standing in the rain poking some charred meat with a pair of tongs waned along with the evening sun and the barbie remained firmly shrouded under its tarpaulin cover.
However, I recently evicted the colony of spiders who had taken up residence in the 3-burner and renewed my enthusiasm for making the neighbours jealous with the dizzying aromas of barbecue cooking. And the grill is much more versatile than simply cooking steaks and sausages- pretty much anything that can be done in the oven can be cooked on a decent barbecue. Although not an accomplished cook by any stretch, this year I have successfully turned my hand to using the barbecue to slow cook knuckles of lamb and even bake a cake.
The wine pairing options for barbecue food can be equally varied and exciting. There are no firm and fast rules that I like to follow for wine pairings- it’s all about personal taste. So, don’t be afraid to eschew the usual trends of red wines with red meats and try something a bit different. The richness of an oaked white would pair very nicely with red meats, particularly if you like to use a wood chip smoker during the cooking. The smoked meat will accentuate and complement the toasted oak flavours in the wine. Equally, the slight sweetness of an off-dry Mosel Riesling would be delicious with chicken wings or ribs cooked with a bit of chilli spice.
For the seafood lovers amongst us, opt for an oily fish to barbecue, as delicate white fish run the risk of drying out. Mackerel and sardines are delicious rubbed with a little oil, lemon juice, a sprinkle of salt and then cooked on a baking tray for 4-5 minutes each side. A simple personal favourite that pairs wonderfully with a good traditional method sparkling wine, such as the Croser NV below.
But the barbecue isn’t exclusively for the meat-eaters and there are plenty of wonderful vegetarian and vegan recipes that can be easily adapted for the barbie. Try charred baby aubergine and leek served on a bed of quinoa and hazelnuts for a delicious, healthy summer salad. For a delicious match opt for a lighter style of red, such as Gamay. This food-friendly and versatile variety is the red grape of Beaujolais and is naturally lower in alcohol and tannins. Fleurie is the most elegant and floral of the ten Beaujolais Crus and the Chanson below is delicious served slightly cooled on a warm summer day.
So, brush down your grill and get creative with your food and wine to pair. The expert staff in your local O’Briens Wine will gladly help you choose an exciting bottle to pair with your barbecue fare.
This wine ticks all the boxes for a garden BBQ with friends. Light in alcohol and body but high in juicy fruit flavours: delicious served slightly chilled. Popular with our customers and staff alike, this offers excellent value at 3 bottles for €25.
Chanson is owned by the Bollinger Champagne family, so quality is assured here in this delicate and floral Fleurie. Made with the Gamay grape, it is naturally lighter in tannins and alcohol. Fresh, juicy and an ideal choice for pretty much all BBQ food.
The Aussies know something about BBQs and this delicious old vine Shiraz is the ideal pairing for red meat straight off the grill. Brimming with ripe black fruits and well-judged oak It is richly layered with silky smooth tannins.
This wine comes from the Hawke’s Bay area of New Zealand’s North Island and is lighter than the Aussie Shiraz above. With an appealing fruit and spice flavour profile and moderate alcohol (13%), this lends itself well to al fresco summer sipping. Pair with spare ribs straight off the BBQ.
Northern Italian wines offer a great summer red choice. Their natural high acidity and crunchy red berry flavours they pair wonderfully well with a wide variety of foods. This is a vegan friendly wine so why not pair it with grilled root vegetables from the BBQ.
Coming from the cooler Adelaide Hills area of South Australia this sparkling wine is made in the same method as champagne and with the same grape varieties. Crisp and citrus fresh with undertones of honey and brioche. Delicious with seafood.
Please note: All prices correct at time of publication. For the most up to date prices please contact your local store or online www.obrienswine.ie.