Today is Wine Wednesday and since the countdown is on to the holiday weekend I thought it would be a perfect time to share these ideas. Wines For Memorial Day grillin’ and chillin’. This weekend is the unofficial kick-off to summer as well as the officials start of the summer grilling season. If you aren’t firing up the grill for Memorial Day, chances are you will be soon. These wine paring tips are good all summer long.

Skewers of chicken on the grill.

Skewers of chicken on the grill perfect for Memorial Day.

Wines For Memorial Day: Grillin’ and Chillin’

Sometimes you just need a glass of wine to “chill” with while the food is being prepared and cooked. Lighter bodied wines, both red and white, are ideal for this. Wines with more structure are typically best with food. However, that does not mean you can’t enjoy them solo as well.

One of the biggest things to be mindful of when it comes to wine and grilling is temperature. Of course the grill will be hot, but you certainly don’t want the wine to be hot or even slightly warm. When wine is too warm, alcohol flavors dominate. The fruit characteristics and other nuances will be overshadowed.  Even red wines need a chill. Remember room temperature in Florida is not room temperature in a cellar. Once your wine is poured it has no where to go but up, in temperature. For this reason, it is even OK if it is a bit overchilled to begin with. It’s easier to warm up a wine in the glass then to cool it down.

If you need some new recipe ideas for grilled chicken, you can find a few here. Finally, wines that match are found below. Before you buy your cook out supplies, take a look at these wines for Memorial Day grillin’ and chillin’

  • Sparkling Wines

    Sparkling wines are good for almost any occasion and any time of the year. Champagne may be king but Cava is queen. Cava is sparkling wine from Spain. It’s made in the method of Champagne, but it costs a fraction of the price. Because of that, Cava is often used for sparkling cocktails. Add some peach nectar, some fresh berries and you have a great aperitif for your cookout.  One of my favorites is from Perelada. It’s crisp and dry with just the right amount of fruit. Perelada makes several kinds and all are affordable as well as good. It’s my every day, go to bubbly,
    Bottle of Perelada Cava overlooking the beach

  • Rose' All Day

    Gassier Grenache Rose wine bottleI wrote an entire piece about rose wine for Mother’s Day. Click here to get to know this often misunderstood pink wine a little more. Rose is a perfect way to start the afternoon. Many are light and refreshing. You’ll often find flavors of summer fruits in them such as watermelon, strawberry and more.

    I recently had a bottle of Gassier Grenache Rose from the Rhone Valley in southern France. It made me happy. It’s a lively wine with some minerality and red fruit flavors. It would go well with salads, salty cheeses, and even foods with a slightly spicy kick. Even better it is not too hard to find and it is in the $20 range.

  • Crisp White

    Lucy Pico Blanco Wine BottleThese wines are almost always a slam dunk for summer. Served cold, there is something about the fruit and acid of a crisp, dry white that goes with pool time as well as summer foods. Wether for sipping, for seafood, white meats or salads, they just work. Sauvignon blancs are easy and mostly affordable. Also try Italian whites such as Gavi and Vermentino.

    I was recently sent a selection of Lucy Wines, made by the Pisoni family in California’s Central Coast. One of them was Pico Blanco, a blend of pinot gris and pinot blanc that had more body than I had anticipated. It had lots of stone fruit flavors such as pear, along with pineapple. $1 from every bottle sold is donated to Ocean Conservancy. $30

  • Pinot Noir

    Bouchaine Pinot Noir bottlePinot Noir is typically a lighter style red wine. Although I have had some that knock your socks off. Styles vary greatly depending on where the fruit is grown. Pinots often have earthy qualities making them good with grilled portobello mushrooms. They also tend to go well with fish such as salmon.

    2021 Bouchaine Mt. Eden Clone Pinot Noir is from Napa. The Mount Eden pinot clone was planted in California in the late 19th century from a Burgundian vineyard. It’s a bit rustic with dark fruit, nice acid and a savory component making it great for grilled white meats and seafood. $90

  • Rustic Reds

    Trident Tempranillo Wine bottle from spainRed wines from Spain tend to have this rustic characteristic that goes good with grilled meats as well as the herbs and spices they are often rubbed with.

    2019 Tridente Tempranillo is a 90 point plus wine. This is a beautiful purple color in the glass. The fruits are dark, think plums and blackberries. There is a little spice, a leathery characteristic and good acid to cut through fatty meats.  It’s a vegan wine which is kind of humorous considering I’m recommending it with meat.

  • Juicy Reds

    Middle Jane Zinfandel wine labelZinfandel is one of the world’s oldest grapes and tends to make wines that are juicy, with bold fruit flavors. They are super versatile and very food friendly. I love them with BBQ ribs and pulled pork. Mauritson Rockpile Zin is one of my favorites. It is from Sonoma and it is available only in boutique wine stores or direct from the winery.

    I recently tried 2020 Scout & Cellar Middle Jane Zinfandel from the North Coast of California. This is what you would expect from a zin. It is bursting with berries, and has a pleasant bit of spice along with a smoky characteristic. It has BBQ sauce written all over it. $34

  • Remember Prices May Vary

    Happy Memorial Day. Drink Responsibly

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