An Australian, a French and a sparkling Spanish red wine to go with the smoky flavours of burgers, sausages and steak
Brookford Shiraz-Cabernet 2014 (£6.95, Amps Fine Wines; Great Grog; Halifax Wine Company) What wines go best with a barbecue? It depends, of course, on what you’re barbecuing: even with the added smoky hit from the grill, the oily pungency of mackerel or sardines are happiest cut with a zesty, dry white (such as Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Gavi, Italy 2014, £8). For chicken with a touch of spice in the marinade, I’d be looking for a fuller white, such as A Mano Puglia Bianco (from £7.99, The Wine Society; Slurp). And for the burgers and sausages, it’s hard to look past Australia, and a ripe and juicy red such as Brookford’s superb-value blend.
Mas du Colombel Faugères, France 2013 (£8.99, Majestic) The other flavour that comes into play at a barbecue is what you’re putting in it. A Texan barbecue loaded up with mesquite chips adds a sweet smokiness to steak, a flavour that goes well with the coconut and vanilla oak of an old-fashioned rioja aged in American oak, such as Faustino VII Tempranillo 2012 (£7.99, Tesco). Even better is the Mediterranean habit of adding bundles of rosemary and lavender to a wood bonfire, infusing lamb on a spit with flavours echoed in hearty, spicy, herby French reds, such as Mas du Colombel’s supple, peppery blend of local favourites syrah, grenache, mourvèdre and carignan.
La Pamelita Sparkling Spanish Red (from £12.99, Aitken Wines; Bottle Apostle; Harvey Nichols) Another Australian barbie speciality – sparkling shiraz – has never really caught on over here: a lot of people just can’t get their head around its combination of the tannin, deep dark fruit, and peppery spice of a classic Aussie shiraz with the silky mousse of champagne. But for me, the combination works at a barbie in the same way a fruity Belgian beer would. I love the blackberry intensity of Ulithorne Flamma Sparkling Shiraz from McLaren Vale (£25.83, The Wine Register). My current favourite, La Palmelita, is an explosion of bubbles and juicy plum and cherry.
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