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    It is always said that the British love a barbecue and will seize upon even the slightest increase of temperature and glimpse of sunshine to throw on their shorts and light the coals.

    Eating and socializing outside with friends and family is always a winner and it is easier than ever to pick up a inexpensive grill and start cooking. With the British weather notoriously unpredictable (especially in our beloved Manchester!), no wonder we're keen to do it when we can.

    Our confidence has grown too and we're now cooking a wider variety of foods on the grill, which opens up more opportunities for wine pairing - but also potential challenges. Those extra relishes, sauces, marinades and salad dressings can create a complex combination of flavours for wine to handle. But don't fear - we've got some great tips on what to go for to make your barbecue top tier.

    Our top tips for pairing:

    • Bold, ripe sweet-fruited reds work best with red meat. Less tannic, juicier reds with be great with burgers - Zinfandel can be a winner here. Fuller bodied options will enhance the peppery, savoury flavours in the barbecued beef or steak and will be where your Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon shine.
    • It's sometimes better to match the sauce or the marinade if it is particularly spicy or sweet, as these are flavours that can clash with dry wine.  You could a try an off-dry Riesling or Gewurztraminer instead.
    • For chicken dishes you could choose a lightly oaked chardonnay, viognier or perhaps enjoy them with a glass of Cava. 
    • If you're serving fish or grilled veggies, think crisp white wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Picpoul de pinet and dry rosé or light reds like Pinot noir and Mencia.
    • It's useful to remember that if it's a hot day, you should keep your red wine cool. Warm red wine can be overly jammy and alcoholic, so keep it out of the sun and even chill it down a bit.

    However, the main thing about barbecues is to enjoy them, so don't worry if you'd prefer to ignore the above and just choose your favourite.

    If you're catering to a bigger group and looking for some great value wine that will be versatile with a number of different dishes you could go for our Favourite Easy Drinkers case. It contains some juicy reds and refreshing whites that can handle a bit of spice and work well with burgers and fish dishes.

    For when you are going the extra mile and cooking up a serious feast, this is the selection for you:

    Heilan Coo Shiraz Mataro

    A new wine to our range that really delivers that fruit-forward easy-drinking Australian style. It's a really expressive, bright, contemporary red. The nose of soft, open, chocolatey fruit has a clove note with a palate of fresh brambly, cherry-red fruit that leads to a gentle spicy finish.

    One for smoked brisket or ribs.

    Jeanneret Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz

    Jeanneret make bold, characterful wines in Australia's Clare Valley and this is a great introduction to their style. Since their wines arrived with us I've been dreaming of the day when I can pair them with BBQ food. Cabernet delivers black fruit, dark chocolate and liquorice. Shiraz brings blackberry, boysenberry jam and cherry fruit with added depth of coffee and oak flavours from a combination of 9-32 months ageing in various barrels. It's full bodied and soft on the finish with lots of spice. If you're having barbecued beef or grilled lamb chops served simply, this is just the sort of thing you want.

    Painted Wolf, Guillermo Pinotage

    South Africa's braai food culture has developed alongside its wine and their signature grape variety Pinotage can be delicious with its concentrated fruit and smokey depth. The Guillermo by Painted Wolf is a serious staff favourite at Reserve HQ. It's rich with spicy red berry, blueberry and black cherry aromas and flavours leading to a long, complex finish. One for venison burgers or sausages.

    Solara Rose

    This one from Romania is by Cramele Recas who also make our popular Calusari wines and we're happy to welcome this delicious rose just in time for summer. It has intense notes of strawberry and cranberry on the nose and is fresh fruit packed and crisp. There are hints of cherry, raspberry and strawberry, with crunchy acidity so it's really refreshing and fresh.

    You could try this with Thai red curry tiger prawns, or with barbequed swordfish.



    Iona, Sauvignon Blanc

    We're very much in UK asparagus season and a few spears on the grill makes for an easy side dish. This excellent Sauvignon from South Africa would be a great match but it also would shine with grilled fish seasoned with a slightly spicy rub. Fragrance of pure white grapefruit, intense tropical fruit, ripe gooseberry and fleshy kiwi fruit over-lay Iona's distinctive herbal and floral undertone. The palate is keenly balanced showing cut green apples and lime marmalade, followed by great minerality and length. Lipsmacking stuff.

    Deep Roots Riesling

    As mentioned before off-dry Riesling can a winner with sweeter marinades however this superb dry Riesling from Germany makes a freshener between courses. Anything with a zesty dressing or a lime-drenched marinade will taste great with this. It delivers aromas of fresh green apple and pear. A racy acidity that makes your mouth water and keeps you wanting more. 

    If you like the sound of these wines, we've put together a 6 bottle case with a little saving which you can can find here.