Most people, when they think barbecue, besides the meat of course, think about beer. I fall into this category for the most part. However, you can always switch it up with a little bit of vino. One of the most popular foods in the Carolinas is barbecue pork. The wines that you want to pair with barbecue are not expensive, offer wonderful fruit character, and if the barbecue is spicy enough you will want a wine with some acidity balanced by a careful dose of sweetness or fruit. One of the best wines for pork based barbecue is good ol’ American Zinfandel. These wines, when made properly, can offer a balance of spice, blue fruits, great acidity and manageable tannin structure to be versatile in almost any situation. A perfect selection is a Zinfandel by Napa Cellars. It matches perfectly with almost anything that you can find on the grill.
Another couple of great reds for barbeque (and some of my favorite value based every day reds) are Montepulciano di Abruzzo and Nero d’Avola from Italy and Sicily respectively. These wines offer plush fruit, higher acidity, old world character and sweet tannins that are delicious food wines to pair with ribs, and herb grilled vegetables. For the white wine drinker or even if you swing between red and white you may want to consider a moderately sweet Vouvray (Loire Valley Chenin Blanc), Riesling, or New World Sauvignon Blanc for hot days and spicy food. The acidity, sweetness, and minerality of these from around the world can offer relief from heat from both the weather and spicy pulled pork!
As many of the readers know, barbecues can offer an array of different foods from different cultures, secret recipes, and ingredients. Because of this, you should remember that the best wine to pair with the food you are eating can sometimes just be a nice glass of your favorite wine for the season. So, the next time you are heating up the coals consider a change of pace and enjoy good food with wine. Because life is too short not to!