Barbecue – hell, yes! Here in Alberta, we love to rev up the gas grill, light some briquettes, or break out the big green egg and cook outdoors.
While the most devoted fans of the barbecue work it year-round, the average Jane or Joe probably spends winter (like I do) staring at a snow-covered grill and counting the days until shorts can be worn, and maybe even the chance to cook outside without a jacket.
Meat is usually the star of the show for the barbecue, but seafood, grilled veggies, kebabs, or even fruit can make an appearance. While beer can be the star of the show for cooking al fresco, breaking out a nice bottle of wine can be very welcome indeed.
Here are 12 wines the go perfectly with any kind of barbecue:
M. Chapoutier 2012 Les Meysonniers
Rhone Valley, France
A well-known bottle to a lot of Albertans, Les Meysonniers is bursting with slightly jammy berry fruits, cedar and cherry goodness, and a nice amount of complexity and depth nishing on an earthy finish. Drink or cellar a little, it will definitely work for some summertime entertaining.
CSPC +721522, about $30
Nugan Estates 2012 Drover’s Hut Single Vineyard Chardonnay
A very pleasing and modern style of chardonnay – one that is easy to drink and shows a lot of varietal character. Look for citrus tones with a little apricot and mint leaf, sage, and good texture on the palate. Insanely quaffable, should go well with anything that once swam in lake or sea.
CSPC +767831, about $16-17
Tinhorn Creek 2012 Cabernet Franc
Okanagan Valley, B.C.
Limited to about 300 cases, and sourced entirely from fruit on the Black Sage Bench, I’m a big fan of this franc. Cherries and violets with loads of spice on the nose, and a barely there, resinous character. Pepper spice and bell peppers on the palate with tight, ripe berry fruits from start to finish. Tasty stuff!
CSCP +530717, $28
Nugan Estates 2012 Stomper’s Cabernet Sauvignon
Cedar chip and blueberry fruits with menthol and Cherry Blossoms (you know, those cherry covered chocolates). On the palate, quite juicy with rich expression of fruit and quite mellow tannins. Very agreeable, and a crowd- pleasing style at a crowd-pleasing price.
CSPC +767830, about $16-17
St. Francis 2013 Old Vines Zinfandel
Sonoma County, California
Very enjoyable from start to finish with slightly brambly berry fruits, plenty of spice characters, and the right sort of acid and tannin balance to work with a variety of smoked or grilled meats. A touch hot on the palate, I think it would work very well with some saucy ribs! Judges choice at the 2015 Alberta Beverage Awards.
CSPC +421974, about $28
Ehret 2009 Bella’s Blend
Knights Valley, California
Maybe you like to plan ahead? Or have someone planning for you. The current vintage of this gem is the 2009, based around 75 per cent cabernet sauvignon with equal parts merlot and malbec. Look for mature fruits, spiciness, and a touch of herbal gaminess. A killer bottle to have on hand.
CSPC +742820, about $58-60
Felicette 2014 Cats in Space Red
Pays D’OC, France
The cats on this label look like they take things very seriously indeed, so naturally, it required a closer look. A blend of grenache and syrah (15 per cent), the nose is of blackcurrant jelly with raspberry and spice, while on the palate, it’s the right combination of spice and fruit that make it shine. I’d love this with grilled pork, or a handmade burger.
CSPC +775927, $19
Treana 2013 White
While Treana seems to be best known for red wine, it is the white that is really exciting to enjoy. A blend of marsanne and viognier, it positively bursts out of the glass with peaches and tropical fruits, and lemon, mineral, flowery tones in abundance. A sleek texture with a touch of silkiness and a slightly bitter finish. Would really rock with pork tenderloin, or flaky white fish.
CSPC + 557660, $40
Lemelson 2013 Six Vineyards Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Wonderfully positioned between a softer style of pinot and those that have a bit of tannin and stronger flavours. Spicy cherry pie, black fruits, and a little vegetable leaf, with the right amount of acids and tannin for anything from shy to saucy. Can be kept in the cellar, but perfectly pleasurable to drink right now.
CSPC +774941, about $30
Felicette 2014 Cats in Space White
Pays D’OC, France
Grenache blanc is one of those grapes that we should drink a lot more of for sure. I’m loving the citrus and tropical fruits in this glass with a little of those lime and apricot characters. Crisp and easy to drink, it would be a treat to enjoy this on a sunny deck with a little seafood or salad on the table.
CSPC +775928, $19
Fielding 2013 Riesling
Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Love summer? Of course you do! Kick back and relax with this crisp and clean riesling. A little bit of sweetness features prominently on the palate along with green apple, lime, mineral, and a longish, tropical finish. Very enjoyable from start to finish.
CSPC +146761, $22
Trim Cabernet Sauvignon
Looking for a tasty cabernet that doesn’t break the bank? Bursting with cedar and cherries, there still is a lot of balance with tannins being full, but not aggressive, and some notable acids that should make this a star with anything grilled with flavourful barbecue sauces.
CSPC +869545, $22