Barbecue & Wine

Wine & Food

A hearty barbecue with fruity wines

During the last couple of years, the classic barbecue has been turned into sophisticated outdoor cooking. The demands on the quality of the meat, fish and vegetables used have increased just as much as the desire to have the perfect wine to accompany the food.

When choosing a wine for your barbecue, you have to bear in mind that the taste of the grilled foodstuffs is often more intense than if they were fried in a pan, owing to the roast aromas and smoke flavors. Thus even a red wine might sometimes be a suitable partner for a grilled fish or white meat. Velvety Pinot Noir or fruity Saint Laurent spring to mind. They are low in tannins and boast a subtle fruitiness – thus they do not drown out the white meat or fish.

In case the grilled meat has stronger roast aromas, it’s better to serve a Lemberger or Dornfelder along with it, since these wines are richer in tannins by nature. And if the red wines have aged in a barrique barrel, they have a more complex structure and pleasant roast aromas themselves. This makes them perfect companions for grilled beefsteak or lamb cutlets with a Mediterranean seasoning.

If you pay heed to a few tips and tricks, your choice of wine will be just as successful as your barbecue. In addition, you will discover that the subtle, diverse nuances of wines from the German wine-growing regions are ideal companions for a barbecue menu.


What’s cooking?

Schnitzel, pork steaks and similar meats are often marinated in oil, garlic, herbs and spices. Ideal wine companions are hearty Riesling or Pinot Blanc, as well as dry rosé wines, e. g. based on Pinot Noir.

Beef: If you want to treat your guests to something really special, go for Dry Aged Beef. The dry, well-hung beef matures at constant humidity levels of 60% and – depending on the piece – between 7 and 28 days. Connoisseurs salt the steak about 15 minutes prior to putting it on the grill to get more roast aromas. Then they grill the meat on thoroughly glowing coal for one minute per side, before cooking it on indirect heat until it reaches the desired core temperature. Pepper is only added at the end. A premium piece of meat does not require anything more – apart from a red wine that is its equal in quality, such as a strong Lemberger. This Lemberger should have aged in barrique – for quite some time, ideally – so that its tannins have mellowed.

Fillet of beef or entrecote on the grill are done faster than rib eye. Consequently, they are not as rich in roast aromas. A velvety Pinot Noir is an excellent choice to accompany them.

Along with a lamb cutlet with a Mediterranean seasoning, grilled to crispy perfection, we recommend a hearty Lemberger or Dornfelder, aged in a barrique barrel, if you like.

Poultry – chicken breast, turkey escalope or breast of duck: The tender meat gets a more intense taste on the grill, which goes very well with a dry rosé. In general, rosé wines are great partners for a carefree barbecue enjoyment.

Fish such as trout, char and gilthead are often softer and juicier when grilled wrapped in tin foil rather than directly on the grate. Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and Silvaner are perfect companions. A light Riesling from the Moselle with subtle fruitiness is welcome as well.

If the fish is prepared directly on the grate or in a grill tray, maybe even marinated or strongly seasoned, it required a partner such as a stronger Riesling or Chardonnay. A lightly chilled dry red wine can also be an adequate companion for heartily seasoned fish.

Whole fish with herbs can take a juicy Silvaner, which also boats herbal aromas – or even a red wine that is not too full-bodied.

Shellfish such as scampi and prawns are roasted in a grill tray inside their shell, so they don’t lose too much of their juice. All seafood should never be cooked for too long or over too much heat. This kind of seafood likes a fresh Pinot Blanc.

Silvaner, Müller-Thurgau or Pinot Gris are delightful companions for vegetarian and vegan treats. With their subtle aromas, they bring out the best in the vegetables. And – a universal truth – a dry rosé is always a great choice. Vegetables excellently suited for a barbecue are eggplant or oyster mushrooms, served on a plate with hummus or tzatziki. Vegetable skewers – for instance with cherry tomatoes, chunks of zucchini, stripes of bell pepper and tofu – are delicious as well.

And for those who prefer an Asian-style barbecue, we recommend a semi-dry Riesling. You can even try a sweet Riesling if things get really hot, because the wine’s sweetness will soften the spiciness of the food.


Chilling wine

In the summer, wines should generally be served 2-3 °C colder, because they very quickly warm up in the glass. You might even opt to lightly chill red wines in summer, if they are not too complex and rich in tannins.

Chill with ice

If you are in a hurry, just place the wine bottle inside a champagne cooler or a large bowl filled with ice that has been sprinkled with a handful of salt. This will make the ice thaw faster and increase cooling by evaporation. If you lightly move the bottle inside the ice, you heighten the cooling effect.

Cooling cuffs

You should always keep some cooling cuffs for wine bottles ready in the freezer. They are pulled over the wine bottle and chill the wine down to the prefect drinking temperature within about 10-15 minutes. The cooling cuffs come in different sizes – there are varieties for slim wine bottles as well as more bulbous Sekt bottles.

Bottle coolers

Bottles that have already been chilled keep their temperature for a longer time in wine coolers made of clay, perspex or stainless steel. In order to add to the effect, you can put some ice into the cooler.

Delicious barbecue recipes with suitable wine recommendations

DWI’s Genießershop (gourmet shop) offers a free brochure containing delicious barbecue recipes and the wines we recommend as companions: