Summer is finally here, and the first long weekend of the season is no time to clean out the basement, get started on yard work or dig the dead leaves out of the gutters—it's time to grill, so pull the cover off, invite some friends over and start cooking.
If you don't have a grill (or a neighbor to "borrow" from in the middle of the night), check out Sam Gugino's suggestions for buying just the right one. When your equipment is all settled, check out the links below to figure out what food will be right for you and your guests. Remember, not everyone likes meat, so think beyond the bovine and check out Sam's ideas for grilling fish, too.
Of course, we've also assembled a list of wines that work well with grilled food, from burgers to barbecue to fish. Since you should be having lots of people over to sit outside and enjoy the day, we've chosen wines that deliver on flavor for relatively low prices. Stock up, since it's always better to have wine left over than not to have enough.
Eat, drink, and enjoy the holiday weekend!
Also, check out our recipe database for other great grilling ideas.
|CUSUMANO Nero d'Avola Sicilia 2004||88||$11|
|Lovely nose here of crushed rose petals and sweet cherries. Full-bodied, with lovely fruit, fine tannins and a long, flavorful finish. Delicious. This is excellent value for the money. Drink now through 2007. 35,000 cases made.
|GABRIEL MEFFRE Côtes du Rhône La Châsse du Pape Prestige 2004||88||$10|
|Red plum and currant fruit, with juicy texture followed by tobacco and mineral notes on the moderately structured finish. Drink now. 25,000 cases made.
|SETTESOLI Shiraz Sicilia Mandrarossa 2004||88||$9|
|Lots of violets, berries and raw meat here. Full-bodied, with velvety tannins and a long finish. Some tar undertones. Incredible value. Drink now. 150,000 cases made.
|ALTOS LAS HORMIGAS Bonarda Mendoza Colonia Las Liebres 2005||87||$8|
|Clean, pure and driven with fresh plum fruit and a dash of vanilla. Uncomplicated and tasty. Drink now. 15,000 cases made.
|HERDADE GRANDE Alentejo 2002||87||$10|
|Meaty aroma, with ripe flavors of dark plum, kirsch and bacon. Robust, with a rustic edge and beefy notes on the finish. Drink now. 15,000 cases made.
|PENFOLDS Shiraz-Cabernet South Eastern Australia Koonunga Hill 2003||87||$12|
|A gentle, nicely modulated style offers a welcome balance between ripe blueberry and black pepper flavors with a sweet leather note as the finish persists. Drink now through 2009. 140,000 cases imported.
|PASCUAL TOSO Malbec Maipú 2004||87||$10|
|Juicy, with fresh raspberry and boysenberry fruit backed by judicious vanilla-tinged toast. Drink now. 26,000 cases made.
|ZANTHO Zweigelt Qualitätswein Trocken Burgenland 2004||87||$12|
|Black cherry and leather notes grace this lean red. It's light- to medium-bodied, with a touch of heat on the finish. Drink now. 12,500 cases made.
|2 BROTHERS Big Tattoo Red Colchagua 2004||86||$9|
|Medium-weight and open-knit, with black cherry, plum and mint notes. Smoky, slightly firm finish shows an herbal hint too. Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now. 23,000 cases made.
|BODEGAS OLIVARES Monastrell Jumilla Altos de la Hoya 2004||86||$10|
|Distinctive flavors of kirsch, rosemary and game mingle in this assertive red. A generous texture is buttressed by firm tannins. Needs food to unwind. Drink now through 2007. 15,000 cases made.
|CLINE Syrah California 2003||85||$10|
|A rustic Syrah, with ripe blackberry, mocha and spice aromas, and intense blueberry, licorice and coffee flavors. It shows good complexity with moderate tannins. Drink now through 2009. 11,500 cases made.
|SHEPHERDS RIDGE Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2005||91||$12|
|Bright and lithe, with lovely balance of ripe fruit, tart acidity and silky texture as the finish persists beautifully, echoing lime and passion fruit flavors forever. Drink now. 20,000 cases made.
|BUITENVERWACHTING Sauvignon Blanc Coastal Region Beyond 2005||88||$12|
|Crisp and racy, with lemon, lime and floral notes followed by a refreshing finish. Drink now. 6,500 cases imported.
|CHÉREAU-CARRÉ Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie Château de Chasseloir 2005||88||$10|
|Tangy, with nice drive to the bracing lime, mineral and citrus flavors. Textbook Muscadet. Drink now. 15,000 cases made.
|VINELAND ESTATES Riesling Niagara Peninsula Dry 2003||88||$12|
|Peach, grapefruit and passion fruit flavors mingle in this tightly wound white. It's well-balanced and bracing, with a long finish. Drink now through 2012. 4,500 cases made.
|CUSUMANO Insolia Sicilia 2004||87||$11|
|A tight white, with fresh herb and peachy character. Medium-bodied, with bright lemon, apple character. Long, lively finish. Drink now. 25,000 cases made.|
|DEVIL'S MARBLES Chardonnay-Verdelho Limestone Coast 2004||87||$10|
|Distinctive for the mineral and tangerine peel nuances around its green apple flavors, echoing nicely on the lively finish. Drink now. 9,900 cases made.
|SILVER LAKE Riesling Columbia Valley Roza 2004||87||$10|
|On the sweet side, but shows wonderful floral character around a core of ripe peach, apricot and dried pear flavors, lingering on the sweet but balanced finish, almost an auslese style. Drink now. 6,000 cases made.
|BANROCK STATION Riesling South Eastern Australia 2005||86||$5|
|Light, bright and juicy with pretty peach, green apple and citrus aromas and flavors, finishing dry and lip-smacking. Drink now through 2008. 20,000 cases imported.
|COLUMBIA CREST Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley Two Vines 2004||86||$8|
|Light and fragrant, with juicy pear and herb aromas and flavors, echoing nicely. Drink now. 20,000 cases made.
|FARNESE Trebbiano d'Abruzzo Farneto Valley 2004||86||$8|
|A medium-bodied white, with ripe lemons and some pleasant floral and mineral notes. Smooth, well-balanced palate, with a tasty, minerally finish. Drink now. 50,000 cases made.|
|S.A. PRÜM Riesling QbA Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Essence 2004||86||$10|
|Broad, with peach and licorice aromas and flavors matched to a light-bodied frame. It's juicy, with a moderate finish. Drink now. 12,000 cases made.
|MIGUEL TORRES Sauvignon Blanc Curicó Valley Santa Digna 2005||86||$11|
|Plump up front, with well-defined chive, lemon curd and gooseberry flavors backed by a crisp finish. Drink now. 45,000 cases made.
|FAIRVIEW Goats do Roam White Western Cape 2005||85||$11|
|Fresh and light, with easygoing peach and melon notes. Chenin Blanc, Clairette, Riesling, Viognier and Grenache Blanc. Drink now. 10,000 cases imported.
|E. GUIGAL Côtes du Rhône White 2004||85||$12|
|Pretty peach and melon flavors, with a hint of almond on the finish. Soft, but pure. Drink now. 33,000 cases made.
|HUBER Grüner Veltliner Qualitätswein Traisental Hugo 2004||85||$10|
|There's a nice minerality to this, with crunchy grapefruit and pear flavors, and some peppery notes on the crunchy finish. Drink now. 11,665 cases made.
|RENWOOD Viognier California Select Series 2004||85||$10|
|Tangy citrus and floral notes are clean and refreshing, with a burst of tangerine on the finish. Drink now. 5,600 cases made.|
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