Whether it’s a casual cookout or gastro grill, we’re a nation that loves a good barbecue, and there couldn’t be a better time to get a head-start on one of the most important elements – the wines.
A glass tumbler in one hand (makes sense to go stemless) and a good set of tongs (16-inch grilling tongs will get the best results when it comes to flipping heavy meats and slippery veggies) in the other, this smoky affair calls for lip-smacking reds to get the juices flowing.
Here are seven of our favourites…
1. The Big Gun Spanish Red, Central Spain (£5.49, Aldi)
A crowd-pleasing fruit bomb that’s ‘Big’ on flavour, powerful, heady aromas of blackberry fruits spiked with pepper meld with a sweet sun-drenched juiciness that floods the palate. A tempranillo blend, the sweetish, jammy finish keeps you coming back for more – and at this price, you can afford to serve it in a generous glass. Made for big plates of burgers and buns.
2. Les Jamelles Syrah 2018, Vin de Pays d’Oc, France (£7, Co-op)
A little gem from the sunny South of France, this has a smooth, polished feel with all the generous, fruity brightness (expect swathes of wild berry fruits, spice, cinnamon and hints of violets), a delightful richness and enough structure to pair with barbecued meats, sweet and sticky glazes and wild boar sausages with a side of creamy coleslaw.
3. Tesco Finest Fair Trade South African Pinotage 2017, South Africa (£7.50, Tesco)
South Africa’s flagship red grape loves smoke, and the streak of smokiness flowing through this ripe, plummy, earthy, bushy red with a slightly dryish finish, makes this a great all-rounder to mop up sticky, sweet sauces – especially if you’re planning to tap into the trend for smoking pork and ribs with oak, hickory and milder wood flavours, such as apple, this summer.
4. Palataia Pinot Noir 2017, Pfalz, Germany (£9, Marks & Spencer)
Germany’s floral, delicate pinot noirs are becoming increasingly popular, and this has ripe summer berries and raspberries galore. There’s a silky elegance to the lush berry fruits, which are brightened by scented strawberry notes and a kiss of oak. Try serving it lightly chilled on a hot sunny day and you’ll be in good company – really lovely and uplifting.
5. Quinta do Espirito Santo 2016, Vinho Regional de Lisboa, Portugal (£9.99, Laithwaite’s)
A tasty little number that’s easy, approachable and a great match with lamb chops, herbs and potato salad. Fragrant and gloriously rich, it shows engaging damson fruits infused with warm spice on the nose with intense waves of blackberry, plummy-damson fruit and juicy redcurrants topped with the faintest hint of coffee and lick of vanilla. A smooth ride all the way.
6. Cape Classics Braii Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, South Africa (£10.15, Frontier Wines)
An extremely delicious cabernet, braai (pronounced ‘brye’) is South African for grilling – and this is definitely one for the BBQ king and wood master if you want to drink in the country’s outdoor lifestyle and braii culture of ‘fire with food’. Rich and appealing, with beautiful blackberry and blackcurrant flavours laced with a smoky plushness, this food loving red cries out for grilled meats, chicken wings and classic BBQ sauces.
7. Bird in Hand Two in the Bush Shiraz 2017, Mount Lofty Ranges, South Australia (£13.99, Waitrose Cellar)
Leading winery Bird in Hand have been making some pretty good wines – their 2017 Bird in Hand Syrah romped home with the trophy for best Australian red wine at the prestigious IWC 2019 (International Wine Challenge) – and here’s another beauty at a slightly lower price point.
Opulent and rich with a wealth of perfumed, velvety smooth blackberry fruit, the wine spends 16 months in French oak and is elegantly structured with subtle hints of chocolate and pepper. Really impressive, enjoy with a seasoned T-bone steak for a match made in heaven.
- Press Association