For many, the Memorial Day weekend will include barbecue in addition to honoring those who gave their last full measure of devotion so we could gobble down sauce-soaked meat in freedom and security.
When you get into barbecue and wine pairing, however, you immediately confront a thicket of debate about just what barbecue is.
The cooking style probably originated as barbacoa in the Caribbean, and the meat probably was goat. When you get to the South, pig’s the meat and tempers flare when you insist cows can fit on the barbie, too.
Texas claims various regional traditions differentiated by method of cooking, wood type, and sauce.
Which means you can pretty much toss any darn wine at the meal and have some chance it works. Toss enough wine at the meal before the meat’s done, and it probably won’t matter how it pairs. You’ve got Monday off to recover from foolish excess.
Still, you’ve read this far for advice, and you’ll get some, starting with “I never thought of that” and moving to “heck, yeah!”
German riesling. Its tangy, sweet flavors saunter with sweet sauces; its acidity can be flattering to fat.
Sauvignon blanc can work, especially if grilled chicken, fish, or vegetables own real estate on your grill. Well, shoot, you already knew New Zealand sauv blanc goes with everything. If you’ve got some women folk to please/humor twist off the cap on a pinot grigio.
If you really want to please ladies and flabbergast your bubba buddies, go with a Southern Rhône rosé from Lirac. Strange but true, the words barbecue and rosé can be used in same sentence and served at same table. Lirac produces fuller-bodied, value rosés that are grenache-syrah-mourvèdre blends—the “GSM” wine formula that makes some of the greatest wines in the world.
Now, maybe pouring a French rosé next to your custom-made, macho-man barbecue cooker just doesn’t fit your self-image on Memorial Day weekend. No fear, tried and true is here.
Open high alcohol, old vines zinfandels. Zin can hang with your big, bold beef any day, and by the second bottle you aren’t taking sass from anyone anyway, especially some pinkie-raising wine snob.
Big, kick-butt Cal cabs have more than enough sweet fruit and hello! tannins to cut through your special sauce faster than a hot teenager’s tongue through state-fair fried butter; pull cork on one of those babies to snag a memorable wine win, dude.
Enjoy some fun this Memorial Day weekend. But remember, at least for a moment, those who made it possible. I am not referencing butchers or wine makers.
Last round: Being asked if I want another glass of wine is like being asked if I want more money.