Top Barbecue Wines

By Amy Reiley

Best Wines to pair with your BBQ

There may be no better way to celebrate the warmer months than cooking outdoors with family and friends. And with a great meal and great company, you’ll want a wine to match. We couldn’t possibly recommend a dozen wines that will create an unforgettable pairing with every kind of barbecue, but what we can do is recommend the kinds of wines that pair well with outdoors, fun and friendship. For this kind of gathering, you don’t want to serve your most special wines, lest their subtle nuances wind up overshadowed by the bold aromas and smells of the meal.

We’ve chosen wines that are affordable and easy drinking, but we’ve also taken the approach of finding wines in this category that still offer an element of surprise. Keep your guests on their toes this summer by offering them good value wines that feature an unusual blend, a surprising grape for the region or perhaps a varietal they really don’t know. With our list of the best wines for barbecue, you’ll have enough twists and turns to keep summer exciting.

> For more great grilling ideas, don’t miss our complete Complete Guide to BBQ..

1. 2015 Fratelli Antonio & Raimondo Langhe Nebbiolo

2015 Fratelli Antonio & Raimondo Langhe Nebbiolo

Type: 100% Nebbiolo
Origin: Piemonte, Italy
Price: $16
ABV: 14%

This Italian cousin to great, big Barolo shows Nebbiolo’s softer side. Although it isn’t a wildly complex or age-worthy wine, it has everything you need for a wine to enjoy at a backyard party. Ruby red in color, it offers bright, red currant and red cherry flavors with zinging acidity. Easy on the wallet and easy drinking with its silky tannins, it’s a crowd-pleasing wine with a bit of sophistication.

> For more information, visit the Fratelli Antonio & Raimondo official website.

2. 2015 Jonata Todos Red Wine Vineyard Blend

2015 Jonata Todos Red Wine Vineyard Blend

Type: 56% Syrah, 14% Cabernet Franc, 10% Petit Verdot, 10% Sangiovese, 7% Petite Sirah, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Viognier
Origin: Ballard Canyon, California, USA
Price: $50
ABV: 14.7%

This wine is the blockbuster on the list. It’s bigger both in price and in body than anything else on GAYOT’s best wines for barbecue. If you want to turn a backyard gathering into a night to remember, consider splurging on this lesser-known blend from California’s Ballard Canyon region. This unique blend offers an interplay of savory and sweet flavors, including a hint of mesquite, a touch of chile and notes of licorice and cilantro toward the finish.

> For more information, visit the Jonata official website.

3. NV Allan Scott Cecilia Brut

Allan Scott Cecilia Brut

Type: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
Origin: Marlborough, New Zealand
Price: $26
ABV: 12.5%

Your guests may not be surprised to hear the pop of a cork at your backyard gathering, but they probably won’t expect you to pour a refreshing glass of New Zealand bubbles. A well-priced sparkling wine, it offers freshness and grapefruit acidity guaranteed to cut through even the heaviest of barbecue flavors. And because this wine offers hints of juicy, sweet grilled pineapple on the palate, it is the kind of bubbly just made for a backyard barbecue.

> For more information, visit the Allan Scott official website.

4. 2018 Fleur de Mer Rosé

2018 Fleur de Mer Rosé

Type: Grenache, Carignan, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Syrah
Origin: Côtes de Provence
Price: $19
ABV: 12.5%

If you’re looking for a light option for your outdoor affair, this dry Rosé from Provence makes an attractive choice. One of the prettiest wines on this list, its aromas are pure wildflowers and summer fruits. It’s a lovely, fresh, soft-textured wine with yellow peach flavors and a mineral finish.

> For more information, visit the Fleur de Mer official website.

5. 2017 Halter Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon

2017 Halter Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon

Type: 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot
Origin: Paso Robles, California, USA
Price: $45
ABV: 14.6%

If you simply crave Cabernet Sauvignon with a plate of grilled meats, then consider a slight splurge for this wine from Paso Robles. A bright rendition of Cabernet Sauvignon, it offers a freshness reminiscent of California sunshine. Cherry and black current flavors dominate with hints of caramel and pencil shavings on the finish.

> For more information, visit the Halter Ranch official website.

6. 2016 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red

2016 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red

Type: 31% Merlot, 27% Syrah, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, 7% Mourvèdre, 4% Grenache, 2% Sangiovese, 1% Petit Verdot
Origin: Columbia Valley, Washington, USA
Price: $20
ABV: 13.9%

A fun blend from Washington state, this red is loaded with dark fruit and cola aromas. A solid choice for an evening outdoors, it offers the warming heat of both chile and black pepper on the palate. However, this wine delivers more than a rush of heat. The palate also brings cherry, dried cranberry and even a hint of grill char. This is a wine to make your mouth water for anything fresh off the grill.

> For more information, visit the Tamarack Cellars official website.

7. 2017 Beckmen Cuvée Le Bec

2017 Beckmen Cuvée Le Bec

Type: 47% Syrah, 34% Grenache, 11% Mourvèdre, 7% Counoise
Origin: Santa Ynez Valley, California, USA
Price: $25
ABV: 14%

California meets the Rhône with this well-priced red blend. This is an easy-drinking wine with an attractive bouquet of blueberries, forest floor and spice, with just a hint of something floral to give it freshness. On the palate, it offers a silky texture and a refreshing bite of acidity. The only problem with this wine is that you’re sure to run out quickly, so keep an extra bottle or two handy.

> For more information, visit the Beckmen official website.

8. Hogue Riesling

Hogue Riesling

Type: 100% Riesling
Origin: Columbia Valley, Washington, USA
Price: $10
ABV: 12.5%

This is a wine we would happily drink at most any meal, any time of year. However, it’s on GAYOT’s list of the best wines for barbecue because of its accessibility. Not only is it an easy wine to buy wherever you go but it’s an easy wine to enjoy, the way you would an icy Coke or tropical cocktail with a burger and potato salad. Made in an off-dry style, it offers bright apple and melon aromas and flavors, with a nice thread of lime acidity.

> For more information, visit the Hogue official website.

9. 2017 Cline Ancient Vines Carignane

2017 Cline Ancient Vines Carignane

Type: 100% Carignan
Origin: Contra Costa County, California, USA
Price: $23
ABV: 15%

This wine practically bursts from the glass with a perfume of violets and plums, espresso and clove. It’s a big wine that packs a punch of alcohol, so don’t let it sneak up on you. You’re likely to be so attracted to its bright acidity and lingering finish that you’ll find it hard to turn down that second (or third) glass.

> For more information, visit the Cline official website.

10. 2018 Dark Horse Rosé

2018 Dark Horse Rosé

Type: Grenache, Barbera, Pinot Grigio, Tempranillo, Zinfandel
Origin: California, USA
Price: $8
ABV: 13%

If you’re looking for an affordable wine to serve at your next barbecue, this Rosé will certainly fit the bill. It’s crisp, fresh and nicely balanced with attractive floral aromas and ripe white peach and pineapple flavors. There’s faint minerality on the finish. A simple wine with refreshing lemon acidity, it’s the kind of wine to please a crowd without breaking the bank.

> For more information, visit the Dark Horse official website.

11. 2015 Ammunition Wines “The Equalizer”

2015 Ammunition Wines “The Equalizer”

Type: Merlot-based blend
Origin: Sonoma County, California, USA
Price: $25
ABV: 14.5%

A very approachable red from California’s Wine Country, this easy-drinking wine is one even white wine drinkers can enjoy. On the nose it offers black fruit and prune with a hint of vanilla. Sweet berry flavors dominate on the palate, making it a welcome choice to serve with meats marinated in sweet and spicy sauces.

> For more information, visit the Ammunition Wines official website.