It’s Prime Time for Grilling and Wine

June 09 00:00 2002 Print This Article

When people go backyard grilling, one item often left behind is wine. Its time to serve wine at even the most casual of dining occasions. Good old standbys like pop, iced tea and beer are refreshing indeed, but new alternatives are always welcome.

Since grill meals tend to be intensely flavored, grillers should be careful when selecting wines to serve with a meal. Anyone who has attempted to serve wine with spicy foods quickly learns that an overdose of spice or distinctive flavor can be fatal to some wines. The subtleties of a fine wine are washed away by overbearing, assertive food flavors.

Casual dining occasions, like backyard grilling, call for casual wines. Its the perfect time to serve wines of moderated cost, of recent vintage, and wines that possess direct and delicious tastes. This is not the time to serve revered, costly, special-vintage or long-saved wines.

To get a taste of how to bring the fruit of the vine to casual outdoor entertaining, refer to the following guidelines.

Wining and Dining Alfresco

Selecting Wine

  • Choose the wine for a grill meal to match the main dish. Since other dishes on the menu have been planned to go with the entre, they also will go well with the same wine.

  • Since grill meals tend to be fully-flavored, choose fully flavored wines. Lush, full and fruity flavors will delightfully enhance many grill menus.

Serving Wine

Though grilling usually means casual service, honor the basics of serving wine. The wine will taste better and the occasion will have more splash! Heres how:

  • Serve wine in sturdy stem glasses or caf-style wine tumblers. Avoid cardboard, paper or plastic glasses.

  • Pour wine glasses not more than one-third to one-half full. Much of the pleasure of wine is the sense of smell; the airspace in the top of the glass slightly encloses those wine fragrances so they can be fully appreciated.

  • Serve sparkling, white and rose wines after chilling in the refrigerator for three hours, to reach a temperature of about 50 degrees F. For warm-weather grill meals, you may want an even colder chill. Serve red wines at a cool room temperature about 65 degrees F., or chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Grilling and Wine

  • Avoid wines with a noticeable tannin, like red wines that leave the mouth feeling puckery. Tannins astringent mouth-feel is too akin to the brown-edged taste of grilled foods. The result of the two together is an overdose of similar impressions. A fruity, nontannic wine will counter the grilled food taste, offering an appealing contrast.

  • Try a bottle or two or even three in your price range. When you find one you and your companions like, stock up! It will serve you all summer.

  • Sometimes a grill meal is so flavorful that it overpowers any table wine. Shift to a more appropriate beverage: beer, a fortified wine or spirits. Try dry sherry, chilled or served over ice, or a light or medium rum served with water over ice. If you choose a more spirited beverage, remember that alcohol levels are higher than in table wine or beer. The best pleasures come in small sips.

  • Experiment with flavors, marinades, bastes and sauces when grilling leaner, less flavorful grill dishes. Select flavors that allow a wine to show its personality without "showing up" a plain grilled dish.

  • When grilling with pork, look for wines with full-fruit character. The more fully fruited wine varieties include; Riesling, Chenin Blanc, some Sauvignon Blancs, Gewurztraminer, Gamay and Gamay Beaujolais, Grenache, Barbera, Zinfandel and Syrah. Look for these varieties from the U.S. or in the imported wine section.

Source: NPB

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