Not all barbecues are created equal. Over the course of the summer there might be spontaneous beachside seafood grills, marinated steak in the garden with friends, or chargrilled vegetables served with fresh salads galore. Of course, a cold glass of rosé would go down a treat with any of these barbecue dishes (and we’ve got the perfect bottle for that, don’t worry…), but there’s a whole range of wines to choose from for your barbecue feast. We asked nine wine experts – from sommeliers to wine buyers – to recommend a top bottle of barbecue wine. They came back with a whole range of options: from herbaceous orange wine to pair with charred meat and vegetables, to what The Pig’s head sommelier Luke Harbor claims to be ‘England’s answer to Chablis’, ideal for drinking alongside fish fresh off the grill.
For fans of a summery red that’s great to drink chilled, there’s a Cinsault, Carignan and País blend from Chile. We’ve got recommendations for everything from barbecue bubbles to the perfect summer whites and reds. Whether you’re planning a big barbecue bash or an intimate grill-side get-together, these expertly chosen wines are fit for height-of-summer sipping.
Nine expert-approved wines for a barbecue
Le Coste, Bianco 2020
This is a fresh, zesty, and herbaceous orange wine with subtle tannins and lovely texture. Great with grilled meat, roasted veg and summer salads. Essentially, I think it’s the perfect wine for a sunny afternoon with friends.
A A Badenhorst, Secateurs Red Blend 2019
Secateurs is the red blend from Adie Badenhorst, a winemaking legend from the new wave of South African producers in the early 2000s. The wine is made in concrete, which offers more oxygenation to his ferments and provides a wine of beautiful purity of fruit and barbecue-worthy texture. It’s good slightly chilled, so this summer I’ll be popping this in the ice bucket along with a few craft beers.
Finca Sandoval, Salia 2020
This is a rich and juicy number hailing from Valencia’s Finca Sandoval, which is overseen by consultant winemaker Javi Revert. These old vines of up to 80-years-old produce rich, intensely flavoured grapes capable of making truly great wine. Salia is 60% Syrah and 40% Bobal, with ripe black cherries to the fore, and hints of freshly cracked black pepper, Mediterranean herbs and a juicy palate. It’s perfect with a little chill from the fridge (14-16C), stands up to the bold flavours of grilled meat and vegetables, and is perfect with barbecued lamb and a herb sauce.
Alovini, Basilicata Rosato Le Ralle 2021
When the sun is shining, while it may be a massive cliché, I do absolutely love a good bottle of rosé with a barbecue. Drinking well chilled, inexpensive rosé out of a Pyrex tumbler while in the sunshine eating meats and salads takes me back to time spent in rural Italy. Something like Alovini’s Basilicata Rosato Le Ralle hits the spot.
Folias de Baco, Uivo Pet Nat Branco 2021
Bubbles are a fail-safe way to kick off a summer barbecue and this zesty, aromatic Pet Nat from one of Portugal‘s most sought-after natural wine producers is no exception. Its fruit-forward profile and mouth-watering freshness make it a versatile accompaniment to all sorts of barbecue dishes. It will even stand up to some chilli spice.
Miguel Torres, La Causa Red Blend 2016
A vibrant blend of Cinsault, Carignan and País – the La Causa Red Blend has bright red fruits with an undertone of sweet spices and pepper. This wine would be fantastic with a mixed barbecue of steak and vegetables, thanks to its lovely richness.
Simpsons, Gravel Castle Chardonnay 2021
- £17, Strictly Wine
- Luke Harbor, IWSC judge and head sommelier at The Pig in the South Downs, West Sussex
Here we have England’s answer to Chablis: juicy acidity, saline minerality and a preserved lemon freshness. Burgundian clones 96 and 548 were hand-picked from the Roman Road and Railway Hill vineyards, a stone’s throw from Canterbury in the heart of the Garden of England. This would be the ultimate pairing for scallops or langoustines.
Chateau Le Roc, Roc’ Ambulle Pet Nat Negrette NV
Fizz is always fun when it comes to barbecues, especially this delightful red Pet Nat from Chateau Le Roc. Roc’ Ambulle Pet Nat is made from Negrette grapes and is bursting with fresh summer fruits. It’s a little off dry and gently sparkling, so would pair perfectly with most items that get thrown on the barbecue, especially lamb kebabs. Retailing around £14, it’s an absolute steal.
Southern Right, Pinotage 2020
This wine has a smoky and sweet profile that mirrors the flavours of the barbecue. I think it would be particularly great with meat dishes on the grill, as it also has a freshness and good tannins that should cut through any fattiness.