A wine buyer’s guide to BBQ drinking

A wine buyer’s guide to BBQ drinking

Virgin Wines’ expert tips on matching food with wine


Virgin Wines buyer Dave Roberts shows how to keep the price down but crank up enjoyment levels with great wines to complement a summer barbeque.

Dave Roberts with wine glass photo

I’m Dave Roberts, one of the buyers at Virgin Wines. It’s my job to make sure people are getting the very best value from wines crafted all over the world.

In summer there really is no better way to cook food, enjoy wine and catch up with good friends than by enjoying a barbeque. For a really memorable occasion you’ll want to keep the price down but crank up enjoyment levels with great wines that complement your food.

Here I’ll focus on matching wines with great barbeque food.

Chardonnay or Manzanilla sherry with nibbles

I think it’s always good to start off with a few nibbles for when your guests arrive. I’d recommend a selection of olives, cured meats and a traditional Italian capresi salad. To add a little excitement, grab a frying pan and crisp off some padron peppers on the warming coals, then add some flaky salt to serve.

The perfect wines for this selection are simple Italian whites and crisp refreshing whites like unoaked Chardonnay. If you fancy something a little different why not try a bottle of well chilled Sherry? Manzanilla would be perfect.

Barbera with kebabs

With your guests settling in, it’s time for you to start cooking. You could start with some halloumi and red pepper skewers, or lamb kofte kebabs. Drizzle pitta bread with olive oil and toast next to your kebabs. Serve with a cucumber, mint and coriander raita. Amazing!

That bottle you popped open earlier will be long gone, so it’s time to show off your food and wine matching skills again. Lighter reds fit the bill. Unoaked Barbera is a great option and you can even chill it down a touch to soften it a little.

Sauvignon or Shiraz with fish or steak

With a little more charcoal, the barbeque will be nice and hot and ready to cook the main food. You can keep it simple with classics like burgers, sausages, and some spicy chicken. However, I like to cook up some steak or fish – bream or seabass are perfect. With the fish, just make a couple of foil parcels, baste with a little oil, season, close them up and chuck them on.

With the steak, pop two big pieces of sirloin in a large bowl and pour olive oil, some sprigs of rosemary and a good dose of salt over and mix around. Leave for a few hours, get up to room temperature and you’re ready to go. I turn mine regularly to get a nice even cook.

Now it’s time to bring out the big guns, wine wise. Open up a good bottle of well chilled Sauvignon Blanc for the fish, Sancerre if your budget allows, and for the steak try a nice aged Spanish red or a massive Aussie Shiraz from the Barossa Valley.

Let’s hope the 2014 summer is a cracker and we can barbeque every day!

Dave is one of the contributors to the Virgin Wines blog, which includes news about individual wines and suggestions about the best wines for particular occasions.

About Virgin Wines

About Virgin Wines

Virgin Wines logo

Virgin Wines specialise in hand-crafted boutique wines from around the world.

With over 500 delicious wines to choose from, you can be certain to find something that you like. Plus, if you don’t like a wine, let them know and they’ll give you your money back!

You can also get access to our personal wine advisor service, where you can get ongoing tailor-made advice and suggestions.

Visit the Virgin Wines website.

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