What’s the best wine to choose for your BBQ? Welcome to the second in our three-part blog dedicated to finding the perfect wine pairings with classic BBQ food. This time we are focusing on chicken and fish.
Best match for barbecued chicken
The most important thing to bear in mind when pairing wine with grilled chicken is the sauce that goes with it.
Simply seasoned, rubbed with herbs or in light marinades
If you go easy on your grilled chicken flavours, then the char grill and smoke on the white meat will go nicely with oaky whites and light oaky reds (think Chardonnay and Pinot Noir). White Burgundy like Domaine Sève Pouilly Fuissé Aux Chailloux or Australian oak matured Sidewood Mappinga Chardonnay are good choices. If you prefer red wine, try Pinot Noir or Gamay based wines like Mount Brown Pinot Noir for example. If your chicken is marinated in herbs, something like Ecce Homo Garnacha Tinto would be perfect – Grenache/Garnacha is earthy, fruity and low-tannin, which means it can easily be paired with chicken.
A BBQ sauce requires something with more body to cope with the sweetness, stickiness and the feast of different flavours. Go for fruity low tannin reds like Valpolicella Corte Cavedini (can be served slightly chilled too which is perfect for summer!) or a fuller style rosé like Tavel Lunar Apogé
Spicy and mustardy sauces
As a general rule, it is better to avoid heavily tannic wines with spicy food (unless you like it when your palette is on fire) as tannins enhance the perception of heat and bitterness. Sweetness in wine works particularly well with chilli flavours. Therefore, for a spicy white meat like chicken, aromatic whites would be a perfect match. You can go for Riesling or Pinot Gris, like Mount Brown Pinot Gris. Alsacian Jean Becker Gewurztraminer with its spicy flavours and touch of sweetness could be a great match too. Provence rosé like St Sidoine is also great for summer heat.
Creamy rich sauces
Here you might need something more full-bodied or lees-aged, with a creamier texture, like Terra e Mare Vermentino di Gallura or any oaked Chardonnay such as our popular Mâcon Villages Domaine Chène. Alternatively, high acidity wines such as dry German Rieslings – look at the SA Prum Riesling Solitar,for example – perfect to cut though the fat in the rich sauces.
If you are a non-conformist or just feel like something a bit different, try to match your chicken (with or without sauce) with some traditional method sparkling wine. Champagne is always a winner or try something closer to home like – Gusbourne Brut Reserve from Hampshire.
Great wine for grilled fish
White fish and seafood
When you eat fish, you think sea. Look to seaside wine regions as their wines are generally perfect with any fish or seafood dishes including grilled. Albarino from Galicia is always a good pairing. Try our Arcan Albarino. Cooler style Sauvignon Blancs, like Sancerre Millet Roger, are a perfect choice as its grassy herbaceous freshness compliments fish really well. You could also go for a ‘volcanic wine’. Very trendy at present their minerality works perfectly with lightly seasoned grilled fish and seafood. On that note, our Hungarain Furmint Varadi Gilvesy is worth a try.
Oily and meaty fish
For oily fish like mackerel, sword fish or sardines choose a wine with high acidity to cut through the oily content, like Zapallares Pinot Grigio. With ‘meatier’ grilled salmon or tuna, go for light chilled reds such as Pinot Noir and Gamay-based Fleurie les Saprolites Beaujolais. Rosé would also be a great choice with its red berry summery flavours – why not to try an Italian Tenuta Montauto Staccione Rosato made with Sangiovese from the seaside area, Maremma.
If you have a mix of meat, chicken and fish for your BBQ, we have hand-picked our BBQ Mixed Case to suit any taste!