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With summer thus far proving itself to be our finest in many years, many of us - keen to savour every last bit of sunshine - have taken to outdoor barbecues en masse in recent weeks. After grilling your food to perfection, what better reward for an aspiring chef than a large glass of wine? Within this article, we attempt to discover the best type of red, white and pink wines to go alongside your summer grilling.
Not to be confused with the increasingly popular White Zinfandel (which is - confusingly - a rosé), this is a robust red wine that pairs well with most grilled foods - but especially barbecued meat. Try and choose a Zinfandel that has plenty of berry fruit and a hint of pepper - both of which combine with the smoky aroma of the barbecue to form a delicious partnership. America is the world powerhouse for this type of grape, and prices range from the reasonable to the absurd.
No discussion of red meat and wine is complete without mentioning this full-flavoured, semi-tannic tipple. Goes well with all forms of red meat, but is perfect with beef and hamburgers - making this a barbecue favourite. Grown in almost every wine-producing country, there is no specialist in Cabernet Sauvignon production. However, both Australia and Chile produce excellent value 'cab sauvs' that don't compromise in taste.
It's easy to forget, but barbecues are not always about the meat. Every bit as important are the 'greens', be they grilled or fresh, and this lighter red is the perfect accompaniment to the non-meat section. Pinot Noir is light enough that it won't mask the more subtle flavours of certain foods. A French bottle is perhaps preferable, but America and Italy both do excellent Pinot Noir that won't break the bank.
Of course - while red wine may be most associated with barbecues - most gatherings will have a mixture of red, white and rosé drinkers. Therefore, it would be remiss not to recommend a white wine to compliment your grilling. Sauvignon Blanc is a fruity, crisp drink that will not be overpowered by the flavour of your grilled cuisine - but will also provide refreshment and cooling on a balmy summer evening. New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs are the market leader, but Chile provides an inexpensive and eminently drinkable alternative.
In the middle of red and white wine drinkers, sit the rosé aficionados. Providing perhaps the best of both worlds, this soft and berry-tinged grape is ideally suited to grapple with the smoked undertones from your grill. Excellent with meat, chicken and salad, this Spanish delight is perfect to sip as the coals on your barbecue die and the sun sets!
Clearly, there is no definitive wine for your summer grilling. In fact, there isn't even a definitive wine colour! Hopefully, however, this article has provided an array of recommendations to suit all palates. All that now remains is to sit back, relax and enjoy the long, hot summer with your favourite grilled food and a glass of your favourite tipple.
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