Serving Wines at Your Next Barbeque is as Simple as Red, White and Rose’
This article appeared, in part, in the August, 2021 edition of Bellingham Alive Magazine
There’s no denying that an ice-cold beer and just about anything cooked on the outdoor grill make a great combination.
But how about serving wines at the barbeque? Not only is the answer to that question a solid ‘yes,’ but it could become a regular habit if you put just a little thought into your food and wine pairings. From there, the sky’s the limit as to what wines you might have on hand the next time you fire up the grill.
Start off with a few white wines, which make excellent accompaniments to grilled shrimp, scallops or oysters. Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris top the list of wine-pairing partners to serve with these and a variety of other shellfish.
Sedro-Woolley’s Skagit Crest Vineyard & Winery has a number of tasty white wines that should fit the bill. Their 2017 Sauvignon Blanc is packed with citrus flavors of lime and ruby red grapefruit, with undertones of green herbs and lemongrass and a crisp finish with plenty of bracing acidity.
Their 2017 Pinot Gris also makes a great choice to serve with seafood and shellfish. It carries lovely aromatics of honeysuckle and field grasses with generous flavors of green melon, stone fruits, and a brisk, citrus-like finish. You’ll find these wines at Skagit Crest’s tasting room in downtown La Conner.
If you’re serving grilled salmon, consider matching it with a light to medium-bodied red such as Pinot Noir. Pinot’s natural acidity cuts through the fat content of the fish and its inherent earthy/savory qualities also work as a nice complement to the charbroiled flavors of the food.
Spoiled Dog Winery, located near Langley on Whidbey Island, is earning a reputation for producing some stellar Pinot Noir. Owner/winemaker Karen Krug sources her Pinot from a number of Pacific Northwest vineyards, including her own. Her 2018 Pinot Noir – Puget Sound from Whidbey’s Hezel Family Vineyard is a knockout, with huckleberry, raspberry, and strawberry flavors along with an overall ‘fresh’ quality that make it an absolute pleasure to taste.
Spoiled Dog also offers a just-released 2020 Rosé of Pinot Noir. Krug notes that the wine “has aromas of tropical fruit and citrus…with flavors of strawberry, lemon, soft rose petals and a dash of white pepper.” Its dry yet fruity flavor profile makes it a terrific choice to serve with barbeque salmon.
And does any wine pair better with grilled beef or pork than a full-bodied red? Winemaker Mark Hulst has really hit his stride with his amazing Skagit Cellars 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, sourced from Burgess Vineyard in Pasco, Washington. Stunning black cherry aromatics lead off, with more cherry and lush, Marionberry flavors on the palate. The mile-long finish is silky, yet slightly textured, giving the wine incredible mouthfeel and an overall gorgeous quality.
Serve this Cabernet with a variety of grilled meats including burgers, steaks, pork chops or ribs. It’s available at Skagit Cellars’ two tasting rooms located in La Conner and the town of Manson on Lake Chelan.
Finally, be sure to have a sweeter wine on hand to pair with the dessert course of grilled fruit such as pineapple or fresh peaches. Bellingham’s Vartanyan Estate Winery 2020 Sweet Riesling is a newly released dessert wine that promises to be spectacular. Brimming with pear, tropical fruit, and nectarine flavors, the wine’s sweetness is perfectly balanced with vibrant acidity, making it a mouth-wateringly delicious choice to serve at the conclusion of your next barbeque.