Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.
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Dear Dr. Vinny,
Summer is coming and I am considering buying some wines for summer and also for barbecue. Barbecues are the most popular family gathering in the summer. What are the best wines for the summer season and barbecue?
—David W., China
It depends a little by what you mean by "barbecue," but in general my advice is to go for bold wines. If you’re simply grilling red meat, then reds like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are great choices, as they can stand up to smoky notes. If you’re putting barbecue sauce on these grilled meats, then Zinfandel, Sangiovese or Riesling (yes, Riesling) hold up to tangy, sweet flavors. If barbecue to you means grilled poultry, fish or veggies, then Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio are my suggestions.
But the best all-purpose barbecue wine—one that can stand up to everything I’ve listed above—is a rosé, especially one from France's Rhône Valley.
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