If you’re anything like me, with summer in full swing it is no surprise that the backyard grill is in a constant state of usage. Anything remotely edible, and is considered a candidate for grilling, typically ends up on my barbeque. In my personal opinion, everything seems to taste just a bit better with some char marks on it. Also, as it probably goes without saying, I’ve found a number of our Miner wines are a perfect complement to the summer cookout.
So, without me wasting any more time that could be used for grilling, here are my recommended meat and wine pairings for the next time you plan to light up those coals and pop a few bottles…
Pork Ribs and The Odyssey:
The Odyssey is one my favorite wines that we feature for its diverse and ongoing complexity. With trace elements of smoke along with a bacon nuance, the sultry savoriness is an ideal pairing with any pork dish…but especially ribs. Obviously there are many ways to prepare ribs, but I like to slow boil them in Coca Cola for a few hours and then grill them on low heat thereafter. By doing this, you get the sugar in the soda to caramelize on the meat. Feel free to slather the ribs in your favorite sauce and then whip together some sides of mac & cheese and baked beans for the perfect BBQ trifecta.
Scallops and Rosella’s Pinot Noir
I realize that not everybody is a fan of seafood, or scallops in particular. However, for those of you who do like scallops, I’m sure you’ll agree that these little shelled sea morsels are delicious. Paired with richer meats, a finesse-driven and delicate wine like our Rosella’s Pinot might get overpowered, but with scallops it is balanced perfectly. Expect subtly sweet, briny flavors to be matched with the Pinot Noir’s undertones of cedar and rose petals for a duet of deliciousness.
Also, as an FYI when barbecuing scallops, remember that those little buggers cook quick, so try to use the larger ones as they tend more more forgiving on the grill. The last thing you want is to bite into one that has the consistency of a hockey puck.
Ground Beef Burgers and Stagecoach Merlot
Arguably the quintessential barbecue food, it only makes sense to pair a classic burger with a classic Bordeaux varietal like Merlot. Merlot has received somewhat of a bad rap in recent times for unwarranted reasons, but when given a chance is a truly an underrated wine. The Miner Stagecoach Merlot is no exception. With notes of cherry, blackberries and olives, everything in this wine is going to bring out the best in your burger.
Although you’re more than welcome to slap a patty together and throw it on the grill, I wouldn’t shy away from getting experimental or gussying-up your ground beef concoctions with all types of embellishments. Try stuffing the patties with minced onions, garlic cloves, blue cheese…whatever you think will add to the awesomeness.
Grilled Salmon and Wild Yeast Chardonnay
For many of you familiar with our wines, the Wild Yeast Chardonnay does not need any introduction…yet I suppose I’ll introduce it anyway. It is a wine that features a rich, butterscotch and crème brûlée front end with a finish of hazelnut and baking spices; making an ideal companion for any type of grilled fish (but definitely salmon in particular). To make the most of this pairing, I recommend bedazzling your fillet with a healthy garnishment of english thyme and lemon peel, then slow-cooking the fish on a cedar plank over the grill. With the zest from the lemon, the smoked flakiness from the fillet, and the oaked butter elements of the chardonnay, you can expect a pairing that will blow your flip-flops off (not literally).
Bonus: By cooking your fish outside, instead of your kitchen, you get the added benefit of not having your house smell like low tide at the ocean. No matter what, you never have enough Febreze to mask that fish smell completely…
Benedetto Series Cabernet Sauvignon and Filet Mignon
This pairing might seem like a no-brainer to some, but for those unaware, any fatty cut of beef will generally pair great with a bold red wine that is higher in tannins. The Miner Benedetto is one of those wines. Created from the best representation of Cabernet Sauvignon fruit we source, the Benedetto deserves a food companion of equal fortitude. Filet Mignon is a perfect choice…but you are more than welcome to substitute for a different steak of your choosing.
With the succulent tenderness of the Filet Mignon and the lush fruit, pepper, and toasted-herb components of the Benedetto, it is a guarantee that your gustatory senses will be sent into a frenzy. While I’m not one to tell you how to cook your filet, I would recommend a doneness level of medium-rare or rarer. A Filet Mignon cooked well-done is a punishable crime in some circles.
Although this list of pairing recommendations should get you started, it really only scratches the surface in terms of BBQ food and wine options. My best advice is to go outside, throw on your apron, and start experimenting with your own favorite barbecue recipes and varietals. You’ll soon discover how summer is supposed to be spent: intoxicating smells coming off the grill, a glass full of vino, and the tranquility of warm evenings engulfing you.
Chief Hat Wearer (literally), Resident Hunky Ginger and Wine Club Coordinator at Miner Family Winery, I like to surround myself with good friends and great times. I feel that wine plays a big part in that. My goal is to provide unpretentious insight on wine culture from a guy’s perspective, as well as the Napa Valley in general. I also love baseball and dogs.