Christmas is just a few days away. Now may be the time when many of us start to cut down the calories and brace ourselves for the copious amounts of food and drink that our bodies annually find themselves smothered with.
It’s undoubtedly the happiest time of the year, a time for family and friends to reunite after the year’s events and kickback and relax with our loved ones, have a good time.
Then comes New Years. Usually marked with a quick and rashly made New Year’s resolution that many of us fail to live up to. But hey, it’s not the end of the world!
So it’s time to put down the tools of our labor that we’ve been stressing over all year and bring the New Year in with a bang!
Now, for a number of the New Year’s celebratory clan the traditional alcohol is beer and cheap wine, whatever’s on offer and makes people happy, right?
Let’s change that this year. Let’s bring in 2015 with a little more elegance and class. Why not ditch the light beers and look into something that genuinely has a taste and isn’t so unhealthy. Let’s choose some wine!
Wine has always been a favorite for BBQs, but have we been utilizing them to their full potential? Probably not, and that’s fine! It just means that when we do fully make use of what we’ve got it’s just going to enhance what we taste, so much more.
It may be tempting to just pick a red wine to go with a steak or a white to go with a chicken dish but there’s a little more thinking to go into it than just the basics if you’re looking for those contrasting and complimenting tastes that will make your grilling experience even better.
The reason that the wines taste a little sweeter from the warmer grape growing climates like Chile, California, Australia etc. is because the grapes in such climates produce a higher sugar residual than in cooler climates, meaning they become riper, faster. It’s similar to other fruits work. A ripe pear is one of the juiciest, most delicious fruits there is to choose from, when it’s at its final stage of ripeness.
These same qualities are what help us define which wines go with which meats. The ripe or sweetness in a wine can help you find which meat will suit it best, in this case a Red Liore or an Australian Shiraz goes well with the spicier Indian dishes. It’s all about finding flavors through experimentation that will go in hand in hand with each other.
So what goes with what?
Sparkling Wines, Dry Rosé, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Carignan all accompany chicken well, though sauces are also worthwhile taking into consideration too.
The ideal BBQ candidate however is the Malbec. Grilling the chicken on your barbeque really intensifies that smoky taste. So you’ll need something to cut through it and with a little sweetness, but not too much. Malbec is the ideal candidate; a red wine with all the necessary qualities to enhance your BBQ’d chicken.
It’s worth noting that although it’s seen as a bit of a taboo to chill down your red before you crack it open, regardless of whether it’s 5 degrees or 85 degrees, don’t be afraid to show the red the fridge for a few hours. Even in places like France and Portugal, a little red on the rocks is starting to turn heads.
Two burgers are never alike. We all love to try slapping on a few more condiments, salad leaves or even garnishes to bump up the taste in such a grilling classic. Caramelized onions are very popular at the moment as they add a certain sweetness to the salty burger or creamy cheddar cheese which is melted on top.
Therefore, you need a wine that can help balance that taste and cut the pallet with an acidic wine.
If you’re serving up some good old fashioned beef burgers then red wines such as Sicilian Nero d’Avola, Zinfadel or Cru Beaujolais
If it’s white wine you’d like to try then a Chardonnay or a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Two household favorites, whether you’re grilling or not.
Sausages as we know, are extremely salty, that’s why we love them. Though some may have some added apple or mint (such as with Lamb) you’re going to need a wine to sweeten the taste of it. In order to fully appreciate the true contrast in tastes and find the true accompany for the grilled sausage.
For reds: try something with the Austrian grape zweigelt. It packs a punch, whilst having the cleansing properties in order to wipe up the pallet from the existing salt of the sausages. Also, the 2009 Zvy-Gelt is fresh and crisp in addition to being very reasonably priced.
For whites: Villa Wolf Pfalz Gewürtztraminer or Austrian Gruner Veltliner. The Gewürtztraminer smells great and you will succumb to the aromatic wafts of lychee a great pair for the various types of sausages. The Austrian Gruner Veltliner is similar, but can round off any dry salty tastes whilst being refreshing and light.
It’s a common misconception that to truly enjoy a bottle of wine (or two) you have to save up in order to spend an arm and a leg, and then get let down when it’s not quite the ore-inspiring performance we quite expected. The truth is that you needn’t spend any more than $10. The whole idea of buying wines to match your meats (or vice versa) is that you find the natural complimentary elements within the wines.
So all in all, these rules aren’t to swear by. Your own tastes and preferences are the primary rule to go by and if you want to drink nothing but your favorite Rioja then who’s to tell you any different? The idea of this is to help you find another side to wine other than the image of well-off people living in the South of France spitting a $10 sip of wine back into the glass and only having something like “quite decadent” to say afterwards.