The 12 Best Barbecue Wines in 2023
Best Barbecue 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 GAYOT’s list of the Best Barbecue Wines, you’ll have enough twists and turns to keep summer exciting.
• BUBBLES •
1. King Estate, 2018 Brut Cuvée | Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA
Origin: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Varietal: 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay
King Estate was founded in 1991 by the King family with a deep commitment to sustainable farming. Their uniquely integrated ecosystem of vineyard and woodland, grasslands and wetlands, orchards and culinary gardens located in Oregon’s prestigious Willamette Valley led them to first obtain certified organic status, followed by the biodynamic standard in 2016. Today, King Estate is the largest certified biodynamic vineyard in North America.
Fine effervescence creates an excellent mousse. Aromas of green apple, crushed minerals, lemon and flowers fill the nose. The palate reveals bruised apple, toast, fresh bread and lemon zest, all wrapped in bright and fresh acidity.
> For more information, visit King Estate official website.
• WHITES •
2. Kenefick Ranch, 2021 Sauvignon Blanc | Napa Valley, California, USA
Origin: Calistoga, Napa Valley, California, USA
Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc
Kenefick Ranch is a family-owned vineyard located in Calistoga, CA. The vineyard was founded when Dr. Tom Kenefick, a practicing neurosurgeon in San Francisco, first visited – and fell in love with – the Napa Valley. In 1980, he purchased a 250-acre ranch located in the region’s northernmost American Viticultural Area (AVA) – Calistoga, where half the land is planted with grapevines. In 2002, Dr. Kenefick retired from neurosurgery and Kenefick Ranch began producing and selling its own portfolio of wines. Today, Kenefick Ranch sells its own label, and 90 percent of its grapes to such prestigious labels as Caymus Vineyards, Cade Estate Winery, Eisele Vineyard, and Nickel + Nickel.
This estate Sauvignon Blanc displays a light straw yellow color. The nose reveals Meyer lemon, lychee, peach and fresh cut grass. Grapefruit and tangerine zest show on the palate, mixed with mineral and juicy acidity.
> For more information, visit Kenefick Ranch official website.
3. Valdadige, J. Hofstätter, 2020 Pinot Grigio | Alto Adige, Italy
Origin: Alto Adige, Italy
Varietal: 100% Pinot Grigio
This Pinot Grigio comes from Hofstätter-owned vineyards located within the Alto Adige DOC. These plots are characterized by mainly marly subsoil. They are well ventilated and are subject to good sun exposure. The grapes are destemmed, lightly crushed and the sediment separated by natural precipitation. The must ferments in temperature-controlled stainless-steel containers, where it then remains to stabilize until bottling.
This Pinot Grigio shows a bright straw color with attractive aromas of pear, peach and lemon. The palate is light-bodied and elegant, with citrus elements, mineral and fruity acidity on the finish.
> For more information, visit J. Hofstätter official website.
• ROSÉ & REDS •
4. Raeburn Russian River Valley, 2021 Rosé | Sonoma, California, USA
Origin: Sonoma, California
Varietal: 61% Pinot Noir, 36% Zinfandel, 3% Grenache
Raeburn is inspired by founder Derek Benham’s mother, Phyllis, a lifelong lover of nature. She thrives in the outdoors and ultimately, her passions turned to a commitment to protect and conserve the wilderness she loves. Her way of life is to leave a light footprint or none at all. Raeburn uses the same approach when crafting their wines by picking the best fruit from Sonoma County’s best vineyards. Raeburn borrows its name from an Old English term that means the river where one goes to drink. A fitting nod to those who prefer to slow down to observe, appreciate and flourish in nature’s surroundings.
The wine has a light pink color. The nose reveals red berries, white blossom and herbal notes. The palate boasts raspberry, watermelon, guava, some mineral notes and finishes with ethereal acidity.
> For more information, visit Raeburn official website.
5. Baldacci Family Vineyards, 2019 Syrah | Carneros, Napa Valley
Origin: Carneros, Napa Valley, California
Varietal: 100% Syrah
Baldacci Family Vineyards is located in a beautiful part of the Napa Valley just off of the Silverado Trail (west side) slightly south of the Yountville Cross Road. Records show the property was originally planted with grapevines in 1888; it was purchased by Tom and Brenda Baldacci in 1998. For approximately six years, the family sold grapes, including to notable producers such as Rombauer, Shafer Vineyards and Clos du Val. Eventually, Tom decided to build a winery rather than selling the property. Perhaps his family heritage had something to do with his decision, being the grandson of Italian immigrants, who made their own wine.
Syrah is a cool climate varietal and their Honey B vineyard in the Los Carneros appellation is an ideal location for bringing out the full expression of this grape. The winemaker chose to select barrels with a slightly heavier toast profile which imparts an additional layer of smokiness to the wine.
This deep red wine with purple hues reveals a bouquet of blackberries with hints of spices. The palate flashes lush dark red berries, a well-measured touch of oak, fine tannins and a savory, long finish.
> For more information, visit Baldacci official website.
6. Casa Ferreirinha, 2018 Vinha Grande | Douro, Portugal
Origin: Douro, Portugal
Varietal: 45% Touriga Franca, 30% Touriga Nacional, 20% Tinta Roriz, 5% Tinta Barroca
A Douro Valley pioneer and leader, Casa Ferreirinha has carried the torch for creative, quality winemaking in the Douro becoming the region’s most historic and iconic house. The story of Casa Ferreirinha is inextricably associated with one extraordinary woman: Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira. She was born in 1811 in the country town of Régua, the gateway to the wines of the Douro Valley. Though small in stature and reserved by nature, Dona Antónia was a charismatic visionary with entrepreneurial drive. In 1845 at age 33, she took over her family’s business, Ferreira Port, the first Portuguese family owned Port House in the Douro. During her tenure at Ferreira Port, Dona Antónia expanded her estates, created new expanses of terraced vineyards and improved the hard lives of the local farming families. She was affectionally called ‘Ferreirinha’ – ‘the little Ferreira.’ Dona Antónia’s legacy and quest for excellence continues to be a fundamental pillar of Casa Ferreirinha.
This Douro wine shows an intense ruby color. The nose expresses notes of ripe, red fruit, spices and nicely integrated oak. The palate is bold with layers of black fruit, present tannins and balanced acidity.
> For more information, visit Casa Ferreirinha official website.
7. Garzón, 2020 Tannat, Single Vineyard | Uruguay
Origin: Maldonado, Uruguay
Varietal: 100% Tannat
When Alejandro Bulgheroni and his wife, Bettina, discovered Garzón, they had a family dream come true: to have the most emblematic winery of modern viticulture in Uruguay and premium wines with an intense personality and a deep sense of belonging to the land. With the advice of international enologist Alberto Antonini, they apply their philosophy focused on producing wines that are a true expression of their origins. Experts on viticulture, environmental care, gastronomy, hospitality and tourism complete a team committed to this unprecedented project.
This crimson red wine is perfumed with blackberry and spice aromas. The palate delivers ripe dark fruit, a smidgen of oak, chocolate and ripe tannins, all wrapped in juicy acidity and a lovely texture.
> For more information, visit Bodega Garzón official website.
8. Kokomo Winery, Dry Creek Valley, 2021 Zinfandel | Sonoma, California, USA
Origin: Sonoma, California
Varietal: 95% Zinfandel, 5% field blend of Carignan, Alicante Bouschet, Petite Syrah
The Kokomo Winery Dry Creek Zinfandel is comprised of fruit from two different vineyards: Mizany Vineyard and Pauline’s Vineyard. Although both are located in Dry Creek Valley, the different vineyards bring two unique wines with their own distinct personalities. Mizany Vineyard is planted to the Du Pratt clone of Zinfandel, which has a spicier character with a darker fruit profile. Pauline’s Vineyard is planted to the old Zinfandel mother-clone of Dry Creek. This vineyard is on the valley floor in the famous Cortina gravelly loam. They take a lot of pride that Dry Creek Valley is known to grow the best Zinfandel in the world, and they feel like blending two different vineyards gives an overall picture of the special terroir that is Dry Creek Valley.
This Zinfandel displays a bright garnet color. Black cherry, anise, tobacco and a touch of garrigue emerge from the nose. The palate reveals red plum, spice and mineral, all lingering into a seamless finish.
> For more information, visit Kokomo Winery official website.
9. The Mill Keeper Multi Vintage, Cabernet Sauvignon | Napa Valley, California, USA
Origin: Napa Valley, California
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
The Tom Gamble family’s historic relationships with farmers allows The Mill Keeper to source fruit from generational vineyards and give second life to smaller, overlooked sites with the goal of preserving family-owned farms. In doing so, The Mill Keeper sources responsibly grown fruit to create high-quality, environmentally conscious wine at a value. Like the first settlers of Napa, The Mill Keeper strives to be a steward of the land and pledges to safeguard its health and surrounding ecosystems for future generations through strategic partnerships with sustainable agencies.
Today, The Mill Keeper is a proud sponsor of Napa’s State Historic Park, Bale Grist Mill, which served as part of the early inspiration for the brand. The mill was established in 1849 by Dr. Edwin Bale, an Englishman and chief military surgeon to General Vallejo. An untimely death left his widow, María Ignacia Soberanes Bale, to become the new mill keeper. She successfully operated the mill and became a pillar of the early Napa Valley community. Inspired by her legacy, The Mill Keeper Multi Vintage Cabernet Sauvignon label features artwork that commemorates the artisans who crafted some of the earliest wine in the Napa Valley.
The wine shows a bright crimson red color. The nose unfolds dark berries and plum which are repeated on the palate, with the addition of baking spice, some floral notes, all balanced with ripe, elegant tannins.
> For more information, visit The Mill Keeper official website.
10. J. Christopher, Volcanique, Dundee Hills 2018 | Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA
Origin: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Varietal: 100% Pinot Noir
Located in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, the J. Christopher winery specializes in Pinot Noir made using the traditional methods of the Old World. Owned by renowned Mosel winegrower Ernst Loosen (of the Dr. Loosen estate), the wines emphasize focus, length and balance. This wine is made from grapes coming from five of the finest vineyards in the Dundee Hills AVA: Baptista Maresh, La Colina, Bella Vida, Black Walnut Inn and Kolbe.
The wine shows a lighter ruby red color with complex aromas of raspberry, black tea, volcanic earth, some floral notes and baking spices. The palate has good concentration with lots of red fruits, Asian spices and polished tannins.
> For more information, visit J. Christopher official website.
11. Orfila Reserva, 2019 Malbec | Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
Origin: Mendoza, Uco Valley, Argentina
In 1905, José Orfila founded his winery in Mendoza, Argentina, on lands that were once owned by José de San Martin, the country’s founding father. Part of the Gancia family emigrated from Italy to settle in Argentina in the 1940s. Their renowned winemaking roots, passion for wine and profound values were shared by the Orfila family. In 2010, the Gancia and Orfila families merged their winemaking traditions. The pioneering spirit inspired by their legacy continues throughout the years, offering classic wines of singular character.
The wine displays a bright red color with purple hues. A bouquet of red fruit, cacao and a touch of oak unfold in the nose. The palate delivers ripe cherry, chocolate, good acidity and juicy tannins, all balanced and ending in a long, elegant finish.
> For more information, visit Bodegas Orfila official website.
12. Trivento, Malbec Reserve 2021 | Mendoza, Argentina
Origin: Mendoza, Argentina
Varietal: 100% Malbec
Bodega Trivento is an Argentine winery located in the Mendoza wine region, which is known for producing high-quality wines. Trivento was founded in 1996 and has become one of the leading wineries in Argentina.
The name “Trivento” translates to “three winds” in Spanish, which refers to the three prevailing winds that influence the Mendoza region: the Polar, Zonda, and Sudestada winds. These winds play a crucial role in the vineyard’s microclimate, helping to create favorable conditions for grape cultivation.
This ruby red shows aromas of fresh berries, plums and vanilla. Its medium-bodied palate is balanced with juicy acidity, red fruit and soft, velvety tannins.
> For more information, visit Trivento official website.