Here are the greatest bottles to bust open when you fire up the grill, ranging from juicy, smokey reds to oaky whites.
Stellenbosch, South Africa, Kanonkop Kadette Pinotage 2019 (Waitrose, £12.99; majestic.co.uk) According to the aromas drifting down my neighbourhood during the past several hot weeks, many people have been using their grills more than their cookers this summer. It’s a choice I support: it’s far more comfortable to cook outside than to suffer through the patience- and temper-testing heat inside a kitchen in 40C, or even 30C, heat. Even when it becomes routine, there’s something spectacular about cooking on a burning grill – a cause, if one were needed, to crack open a bottle of something fancier than normal. While I don’t agree in the marketing notion of the ‘barbie bottle’ – a wine specially suited to a Barbie doll –
Elqui, Chile 2017 Via Mayu Titon Vineyard Syrah Gran Reserva (£13.99, Majestic) Succulent reds with a hint of spice, herb, or smoke, and enough body, depth, and drive without being overly chewily tannic or dry: these are the ingredients that appear to go best with simply seasoned grilled red meat. The historic southern French types grenache and syrah are among the finest at offering this mix, whether on its own, as a pair, or as part of a blend with other kinds like as mourvèdre or carignan. Château La Négly La Clape 2020 (£12.99, Co-op), a beautiful blackberry-juicy syrah-grenache-mourvèdre from the Languedoc laced with dark salty olive and rosemary, and the good-value southern Rhône Valley mix Aldi Specially Selected Cairanne (£12.99, Co-op).with its berry and plum tumbling seasoned with black pepper. Meanwhile, Via Mayu’s syrah from northern Chile’s high-altitude Elqui Valley adds a note of aniseed and liquorice to the black fruit in a South American asado-ready alternative.
Douro, Portugal 2020 Quinta da Pedra Alta Pedra a Pedra Clarete (£11.50, The Wine Society) Many, if not most, barbecues this summer will not include any red meat at all, while other wine selections will be influenced as much by marinades as by cooking method. My favourite quick post-work BBQ approach of rapidly marinating a piece of white meat, prawns, or a few slabs of halloumi with lime juice and sweet chilli sauce pairs well with citrus-driven dry whites, such the livewire limey, zesty Western Australian, Tesco Finest Tingleup Riesling 2021 (£9). Aubergines that have been split, scored, and slathered with miso and soy sauce are full of smoke, umami, and smooth flesh. This pairs well with oaky whites such as Cune Barrel-Fermented Rioja Blanco 2020 (Waitrose, Co-op, Sainsbury’s, Majestic, from £9.99). But it also goes well with lighter reds served chilled, such the unexpectedly crisp, airy, raspberry-scented Clarete from Quinta da Pedra Alta in Portugal’s Douro Valley.