Wines and BBQ Paring

08.18.20  \\\  Posted by   \\\  Wine 101

Great wines to drink at a barbecue

If you are looking to find the perfect wine to enjoy under a bit of sunshine and near your grill, you are in the right place. There are plenty of options from juicy reds with burgers to Rosé Sparkling with salmon and Chardonnay with your BBQ chicken. At Cellars Wine Club, we have created a quick guide to help you pick the best wines for your next weekend.

Even when the current situation has forced us to reduce our parties to our immediate household, we still have a barbecue in the sunshine with a glass of wine with our people, which is totally worth celebrating.

A Quick Guide to Wines for BBQs

As a general rule of thumb, grapes grown in warm climates like the Mediterranean, Australia, Argentina, Chile, and California, ripen easily and wines coming from these areas share 3 characteristics: they are flavourful, taste riper, and are perceived as sweeter in the palate. Those three reasons are exactly what makes them perfect to balance the smoky flavors and any heat and spice.

Red meat

As a general rule, red wines pair excellently well with barbecue-grilled meats. The umami and high fat in a steak or burger will balance the tannins in Tempranillo, Malbec or Cabernet, for example. If going for chops, an Australian Shiraz or a Californian Zinfandel will complement the caramelized BBQ sauce with a flavorful palate.


If choosing a simple grilled chicken, unoaked or lightly oaked Chardonnays from warm climate regions as Chile, Australia or California are the way to go. A more refreshing style of white wine with some herbal notes like Sauvignon Blanc, Picpoul de Pinet, or Verdejo can add another flavor layer.

Grilled Fish

When it comes to pairing wine with fish, it is always good to think about how light or rich the meat is. If going for Salmon, a rich Rioja or an oaked Chardonnay are great choices. If thinking light white meat, go for a zippy Sau Blanc, Verdejo, or Vinho Verde will be smooth and refreshing.

Grilled Vegetables

The intensified, sweet flavor of grilled veggies call for full-flavored wines.

For instance, roasted aubergines or red peppers, cooked with olive oil, have rich, deep flavors that will be balanced by the tannins of full-bodied Rioja or other Spanish Tempranillo. If thinking of Mushroom, Onion Courgette, and Tomato skewers, go for a Low-tannin, light-flavored red like a Pinot Noir. When grilling Tomatoes or Asparagus, a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc will match the tangy flavors.

Grilled or barbecued Cheese

When grilling Halloumi or Feta cheese, they need a high-acid and medium-bodied wine like a Southern Rhône or an Alsace Riesling. A refreshing glass of White wine is a must on a hot, sunny day, and fruity Whites from Languedoc-Roussillon also check all the boxes perfectly.

Are you a pro chef going for international sauces? Then keep reading.

Oriental-Flavoured BBQs:

Lemongrass, lime-Leaf and coriander, and other Thai food flavors will match amazingly with the crispiness and fruity/herbal flavor profile of Sauvignon Blanc. On the other hand, a creamy and oaky New World Chardonnay will be a perfect pair for Satay's curry, coconut, and nutty flavors.

Tandoori-Flavoured BBQs:

The tandoori sauce is as popular as delicious, but to be honest, it is a bit tricky to match with wine. Cabernet Franc wines from the Loire in France or big, oaky Australian Chardonnays will be the best pairing options to enhance the sauce flavors.

Mediterranean Flavoured BBQs:

Herbs such as Rosemary and Thyme, combined with Garlic, Lemon, and Olive Oil, are perfect for barbecued foods, evoking memories of holiday lunches in beach bars. Make yourself a favor and choose some Mediterranean wines such as herby Reds from the Provence or Languedoc Roussillon.