There’s a way to pair Texas barbecue, wine
My bride and I recently returned to Texas after a couple of years of sun and fun in northern California. One of the things we missed dearly while away was the Texas tradition of barbecue. Because my experience is with Texas barbecue, I’ll write to that style of cuisine.
As many aficionados know, there are several types of barbecue with different cooking methods and base sauces, such as vinegar, honey and brown sugar, to name a few. There’s also the difference between charcoal and propane grills.
As you commence your barbecue season, pop open a bottle of wine that will best complement your grilled dishes.
Traditionally, grilling season brings out spicy and rich barbecue ribs, hearty steaks and juicy burgers. A bottle of red is generally a good choice. Excellent examples are Spanish Rioja, a nice medium-bodied red made from tempranillo grapes or a Burgundy from pinot noir grapes. But make sure the tempranillo is a crianza, which means it has been in an oak barrel for at least one year before bottling. It goes particularly well with chicken with barbecue sauce or dry-rubbed ribs.
Another good selection for spicy and saucy barbecued meats is a petite sirah — a full-bodied varietal with blackberry and spice flavors.
A deep crimson shiraz from Australia is another nice choice for hearty steaks and burgers. Shiraz, otherwise known as syrah, is typically a full-bodied and tannic red with berry, pepper and smoky flavors.
For grilled seafood, fish and vegetables, a crisp white is the ideal accompaniment. Sauvignon blanc, with its acidity and citrus notes, partners well with these lighter grilled dishes. My personal favorites come from Washington State and New Zealand. You’ll find it goes well with oysters, barbecue shrimp and other fish. For oily fish such as salmon or mackerel, I would suggest a pinot noir from the California Central Coast.
For aged beef steaks and chopped meats, only big chewy wines will do — cabernet sauvignon, Bordeaux and red zinfandel. My choice here for chopped meats infused with sauces is a big, bold red zinfandel, especially types grown and produced in Amador County, Calif.
If you’re entertaining guests who aren’t big wine drinkers, try mixing up a fresh and fruity sangria. This “wine punch” typically is made with red wine — white varieties, or sangria blanca, are popular in Northern Spain — along with sliced fruit, a sweetener, brandy or triple sec and often club soda. Besides pairing well with barbecue, it will go a long way to cooling off a warm summer evening.
The Cork Guy
The Cork Guy is a local connoisseur of all things wine whose taste buds are especially adept at unraveling the mysteries of the vino world. We hope you will enjoy his visits to Coast Monthly. You can reach the Cork Guy at firstname.lastname@example.org