There is a lot of argument surrounding what makes good summer barbecue wine, mainly because every culture has its own outdoor grill traditions and flavors. For those living in New Zealand where there are more sheep than people, and sun-drenched Australia, there are many affordable choices that make good candidates for outdoor grilling.
Barbecue season is upon us, time to bust out the charcoal and lighter fluid and get to cooking!! I bet you thought I was going to open up with a cheesy line like “Let's throw some shrimp on the barbie” because these wines are all from Australia and New Zealand? It might not have been the first line but it was definitely the 2nd.
Now that we are past the cheesieness, let's get to the meat of this subject. I chose these wines because they are not only great for drinking but they are also good for pairing with anything you want to throw on the grill. I would say the best part of grilling is the versatility; you don’t have to just do meat, you can grill veggies, fish, even fruit!
Having all of these options makes it a breeze to find a wine for whatever you are throwing down. My goal was to find a something of all the varieties New Zealand and Australia have to offer. We kick off with A Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand that would be killer with.
2017 Wildflower Sauvignon Blanc, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
This wine is fabulous, and the label makes it a great addition to any table. It doesn’t have the same typical profile flavor we are all used to in Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. I like to think this wine is a bit more gentle and subdued but still full of amazing flavor and body. This wine would go great with a lot of different fish dishes along with the usual sides you would find at a BBQ. I would also highly suggest it if you plan on grilling up some veggies or fish. The grapes for this wine are grown on the highest north facing shingle terrace vineyard in Maraekakaho in Hawke’s Bay. The grapes love the long hot summer days and cooler nights above the Ngaruroro River. After the fruit is harvested it is cool fermented right away to ensure optimum freshness. The cool fermentation ensures the wonderful juicy fruit flavors Sauvignon Blanc should exude. Right away with this wine there is an explosion of fruit on the nose. Passion fruit, fresh citrus, and gooseberry lead onto the palate with a juicy flavor profile, purity and concentration. The finish is crisp and clean with amazing longevity.
$13.99 per bottle
This Sauvignon Blanc is closer to the style you typically think of when you think of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc but has a special something we look for in the wines we bring into the store. This is the wine I would throw shrimp on the barbie for. Shrimp skewers with pieces of bell pepper and bacon in between them would be great with this wine. This wine has a bright and exuberant aroma including green apple, honeysuckle, and a hint of nettle. The palate is lovely and precise with a core of zesty fruit and long satisfyingly dry textural finish. The finish is brought on by the use of stainless steel and French Oak barrels.
$22.99 per bottle
This organic wine comes from two different vineyards in South Australia. One next to the Murray River and the other is located in Barmera. Both vineyards are organic and hand harvests all of their grapes to ensure the highest quality possible. The winemakers follow organic winemaking procedures by fermenting with indigenous yeast and have little intervention from the winemaker. The pale yellow color with green hues and enticing aromas of fennel, apricot nectar, and curry leaf. On the palate you can expect apricot nectar, and fennel that are joined by white flowers and star fruit leading to a creamy rich and long mid palate with Asian five-spice on the finish.
$15.99 per bottle
This wine is made by a group of 20 winemakers who are all friends and their philosophy is making wine with friends to be enjoyed by friends. They have chosen to keep the blend a secret because for the life of me I can’t find what it is. But what I can tell you is this medium bodied wine is has a rich fruit sweetness with juicy tannins. The blackberry, spice and juicy ripe plum make it a great pairing for a juicy steak.
$12.99 per bottle
This deep purple wine has a long linear structure with dark fruit character. The nose brings a fragrant spicy layer with sweet cherry and red berries and small hints of licorice and cocoa notes. On the palate there is an initial sweet sensation that is driven through the palate that has an almost chewy finish. This wine would go amazing with a beef burger off the grill with a slice of pepper jack cheese melted and gooey on top.
$22.99 per bottle
A blend of 40% Grenache, 38% Shiraz and 20% Mataro (Aussie for Mourvedre), this is just as gulpable as they come, but with some character. Although this wine is really delicious and friendly, it also has very good balance and structure, with good natural acidity and a bright juicy finish. There is also a bit of complexity, with a nice subtle minerality and a hint of savory black olive. One of the best under $20 reds in the store! Another great wine to pair with any sort of beef you want to throw on the grill!
$16.99 per bottle
Every once in a while, a wine just hits that sweet spot of high quality and great price. Smooth, supple and sensually textured, this is a full bodied but impeccably balanced Shiraz. There is big, spicy red and black fruits with a pretty floral overlay - violets -on the rich nose and elegantly textured, oh-so-smooth dark fruits - cassis - and a supremely satisfying, round, smooth finish that has good length and complexity. For the exceptional quality, this is a smoking bargain - it's easy to spend more for less. Now for this wine I think I would consider throwing some lamb with a spicy dry rub on the BBQ for this big wine. Another great option would be grilled short ribs. The spicy red and black fruits would go amazing with this flavor profile.
$24.99 per bottle