From barbecue to the culinary staples of summer entertaining, here are our picks for the perfect wine pairings.
Borreo Rosa Sangiovese 2021 from Silverado Vineyards works perfectly with a grilled veggie pizza.
Cookouts, picnics and grilling soirees beckon, and the red, white and pink wines that pair with summer foods are essential. For our summer roundup, we asked regional winemakers, chefs and other culinary pros for their pairing recommendations.
WINE Silverado Vineyards, Borreo Rosa Sangiovese 2021, silveradovineyards.com
PAIRING Grilled Vegetable Pizza
“The fresh acidity of the rosé will balance out the saltiness and earthiness of the veggies,” says Brianna Pastrana, the vineyard’s senior director of guest experiences. “The wine also will draw out the sweetness of the tomatoes, while cutting through the weight and richness of the cheese. Rosé has slightly more grip than a white wine, so it stands up to the tanginess of the sauce and some of the more earthy flavors of the vegetables.”
Mira Winery’s syrah and Jimmy D’s red blend pairs wonderfully with ribeye.
WINE Mira Winery, Syrah and Jimmy D’s Red Blend, miranapa.com
PAIRING Grilled Cowboy Ribeye Steak
“This syrah’s rich, full finish presents flavors of roasted wild game and white pepper that beautifully match the meaty, umami flavors in the ribeye steak and sauce,” says Gustavo Gonzalez, winemaker at Mira. “Jimmy D’s juicy blend of syrah, petit verdot and merlot delivers a flavor of crushed cherry with a mouthwatering and persistent acidity that balances the ribeye’s richness.”
WINE Beringer Knights Valley Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon, beringer.com
PAIRING Grilled Ribeye Steak
“A juicy steak is the focal point of any July Fourth barbecue, and a fattier cut of meat like a ribeye deserves a strong, bold wine like this one,” says Ryan Rech, chief winemaker at Beringer. “The concentrated black currant, blackberry and cassis flavors of this wine elevate this staple barbecue dish by complementing the smokiness and fattiness of the ribeye. The rich texture and polished tannins can stand up to the density of this meal. Try this with grilled seasonal vegetables.”
Domaine Carneros Estate’s Brut is a surprisingly ideal match with fried chicken.
WINE Domaine Carneros Estate, Brut, domainecarneros.com
PAIRING Fried Chicken
“Fried chicken and sparkling wine are a surprisingly ideal match,” says executive chef Jeffrey Jake of Boon Fly Café (boonflycafe.com). “Sparkling wine has higher acidity, which makes it a perfect pairing with rich fried foods, and something about the crispy coating on fried chicken and the bubbles in sparkling wine create a match made in heaven. This Estate brut is a go-to for fried chicken; it’s beautifully balanced with hints of citrus alongside richer notes of macadamia nut.”
The Josh Cellars’ prosecco rosé isn’t too sweet, so it pairs well with grilled and smoked salmon.
WINE Etude Winery, Heirloom Pinot Noir, etudewines.com
PAIRING Chicken, Farro and Baby Gem Salad
“This pinot noir exhibits notes of dark black cherry, red raspberry and cola spice, delicately interwoven with herbs,” says Michelin-starred chef Rogelio Garcia of LUCE (lucewinerestaurant.com). “Add thyme and garlic to the salad or the chicken to enhance this pairing. While this is a structured wine with depth and balance, it’s not overpowering, making it an ideal pairing for a lighter, leaner meat. Serve the gem lettuce with a citrus vinaigrette, which will nicely mirror the bright acidity and layered red berry flavors and the minerally finish."
WINE Veramonte, Organic Chardonnay 2020, gonzalezbyassusa.com
PAIRING Grilled Tuna, Octopus and Scallops
“When we think about dishes with more intense flavors—or heartier fare—we need a wine that not only has good acidity but also a good body,” says Sofia Araya, winemaker at Veramonte. “For these cases, we have Veramonte Reserva chardonnay organic, where the acidity helps clean the palate and allows the other flavors to come through. This kind of wine goes well with grilled seafood because of its great roundness and freshness.”
The 2019 Duckhorn Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon matches well with grilled meats, especially baby back ribs.
WINE Frank Family Vineyards, Napa Valley Zinfandel, frankfamilyvineyards.com
PAIRING New York Strip
“The Frank Family zinfandel has notes of mocha, cardamom and baked cherry that complement the smoky char of barbecue, and the powerful tannins find harmony with the heartiest of red meats,” says Jack Arnold (@jackarnold), a chef and barbecue pitmaster. “The wine’s balanced, vibrant acidity will cut through creamy mashed potatoes, and while lighter than cabernet, this bold wine will still hold its own against the most powerful of grilled meals.”
WINE Josh Cellars, Prosecco Rosé, joshcellars.com
PAIRING Smoked Grilled Salmon
“One of the things I love most about the Josh prosecco rosé is that it’s clean and fresh with very little sweetness, which is rare in proseccos these days,” says sommelier Theo Rutherford (@theovino). “It’s light, refreshing and surprisingly elegant and pairs perfectly with things that have a lot of salt—like cured meat or seafood—because bubbles actually help things taste less salty.”
Grilled swordfish pairs with Central Coast pinot noir from Calera Wine.
WINE Calera Wine, Central Coast Vin Gris of Pinot Noir, calerawine.com
PAIRING Grilled Swordfish
“The Calera vin gris of pinot noir displays tantalizing layers of grapefruit, guava, wild strawberry and rose petals, which match the savory notes of the swordfi sh and smoky and sweet flavors of the grilled corn,” says chef Kevin O’Connor (chefkevinoconnor.com).
WINE Duckhorn Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, duckhorn.com
PAIRING Baby Back Ribs
“This rich and complex wine can handle a hearty meal, and baby back ribs with smoky barbecue sauce perfectly complement its enticing aromas of black cherry and cinnamon spice,” says chef Joanna Badano, host of the food podcast Spoiled to Perfection (spoiledtoperfection.com). “The smoky heat from the chipotle in the barbecue sauce is off set by lush dark berry and sweet baking spice notes in the wine, with hints of bay leaf and violets on the nose adding complexity to this deliciously indulgent pairing.”
Photography by: ROCCO CESELIN; COURTESY OF MIRA VINEYARDS; ALEXANDER RUBIN PHOTOGRAPHY; COURTESY OF BRAND; COURTESY OF BRAND; COURTESY OF BRAND