Cookout Wine Pairings

Cookouts Aren’t Just For Beer…

This weekend I deep cleaned all three of my grills. The weather is getting warmer, school is nearly over here in the Midwest and the time has come for cookouts. Grilling. BBQ. Whatever you call it in your neck of the woods, it usually involves meat cooked outdoors over a fire of some kind; and a cooler filled with beer. What’s a wino to do? I’m glad you asked!

Four Cookout Wine Pairings to Try:

  1. Bratwurst and Potato Salad with two options: As my hometown hero Billy Joel would say, “a bottle of red, a bottle of white”. I actually have TWO suggested pairings with this plate. The first is a Blaufränkisch also known by the “stinky” name Lemberger. This is a dry, spicy fruit-forward red wine originally from Bavaria and Austria. In the states, you can also find it in Washington. The spice notes match up with the lovely spice in the brats and contrast with the creamy potato salad. The other perhaps more crowd-friendly pairing is the German classic, a Riesling. With the heat of the brats, I would lean towards a sweeter spätlese Riesling to juxtapose the spiciness. The apple notes present in many Rieslings would definitely compliment the potato salad as well. Prost!
  2. Hamburger and Baked Beans: This is very nearly a “no brainer” pairing until you throw in the wild card: baked beans. With traditional tomato-based baked beans you can’t miss with a nice Zinfandel from Cali. The berry notes and strong tannins stand up nicely to juicy beef and tomatoes. If your baked beans are little sweet, and I usually like to put some honey or maple syrup in mine, a really good bet would be an earthier Pinot Noir or a Missouri Chambourcin. If you’re having the Chambourcin with that burger, make sure to top it with some swiss cheese and sautéed mushrooms!
  3. BBQ Chicken and Cole Slaw:This is a match made in wine pairing heaven. With this plate I compliment the smokiness of the chicken with the oaky goodness of a Chardonnay. The peachy notes in a Chardonnay, or it’s midwestern cousin the hybrid Chardonnel are delicious alongside the creamy, tangy coleslaw.
  4. Grilled Steak and Cucumber Salad:Here, I’m thinking of a wonderful marinated skirt steak that’s rocking some Latin-inspired flavors like this one. Sharing the plate with the steak is a refreshing cucumber salad with cherry tomatoes and perhaps some fresh basil. A wonderful match for this plate is a dry, lighter-bodied, chill-able red such as a Tempranillo. Many lighter bodied reds can be slightly chilled which is a good option during the summer months. ¡Salud!

Bonus! Ambrosia Salad:
No cookout is complete without dessert and what dessert is better for outdoor summer fun than ambrosia salad. A delicious fruit salad with citrus fruit and marshmallows would be outstanding paired with a sweet sparkler like Spanish Cava or the insanely-popular-but-still-enjoyable Moscato d’Asti.

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