For us, summer food is all about two things. Barbecues in the sunshine, and the fresh flavours of salads. See below for our suggestions on which wines you might want to try to pair with these two summer stalwarts.
On paper, it should be simple. Red meat, blackened by charcoal on the barbecue, matches with big, red wines complemented by smoky oak. If every barbecue was like that, things would be simple. Just get in a bottle or two of Syrah and be done with it! In reality, we often mix things up by serving multiple meats, fish, and veggie options at our barbecues. So which wines should you choose? For barbecued prawns, look for a Galician Albarino. For burgers and sausages, it's hard to beat a ripe and rounded Spanish Garnacha. And for grilled vegetables, a Montepulciano d'Abruzzo is a great choice.
However, picking up a different bottle to pair with everything you put on your barbecue isn't necessarily a practical option. We suggest you keep things simple, and either restrict your food offering, or choose some good all-rounder wines. A Prosecco would work well as an aperitif and match with lighter food options. For meat lovers, the Garnacha would be our pick. And of course, any good barbecue needs some cold beers on hand!
Like matching wines with barbecues, pairing with salads is not as easy as it might seem. The sheer variety available makes generalisations impossible. But never fear - there are some guiding principles you can follow. Keep your list of ingredients short and your salad simple and this will make pairing easier. And do go easy on the vinegar in your dressing, as this is hard for most wines to handle.
If you are after some more specific advice, here are some salad and wine combinations that we think are hard to beat. Any salad with goat's cheese will work perfectly with a Sauvignon Blanc. Salads with fish and seafood are often good with dry Provence Rosé. Asian salads with a touch of spice will pair with a German Riesling. And asparagus - notoriously tricky to pair - works very well with the Austrian speciality Gruner Veltliner.
SUMMER MIXED CASES
If this is all starting to seem too much, why not pick one of our pre-selected mixed cases, carefully put together by our team of wine experts. Whether you're buying for an occasion or simply stocking your cellar, you're sure to find something to suit. For our full selection of mixed cases, click here.
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