Leg of lamb and Syrah. Steak and Cabernet Sauvignon. Spiced chicken and Merlot. Smoked turkey and Pinot Noir.
Are you hungry yet?
The Fourth of July is a wonderful time for wine enthusiasts to fire up their grills, roll up their sleeves, open their spice jars, and grill up the next gourmet recipe. All it takes is a little creativity, a little time, and the right meat and wine combination.
Typically, you can find an Oregon red to pair with whatever you're cooking on the BBQ. There are a few guidelines to follow, but other than that, the rest is up to you and your imagination. Here are a few tips for finding the right wine.
Pairing Red Meat With Red Wine
First, when grilling up red meats, the proteins and flavors in the meat tend to dominate your palate. What you don't want to do is counter it with an explosively fruity red. Instead, try pairing your grilled delight with a dry red wine.
Generally speaking, red meats that do work well with herbsal spicing, such as lamb or steak (stuffed with rosemary, thyme, or oregano, for example), also tend to pair well with Syrah, Grenache, or even Tempranillo.
Red meats, if seasoned with more 'traditional' items such as sea salt, cracked black pepper, chilis, and garlic, tend to work well with heavier, dry reds, such as Cabernet Sauvignon.
If you're grilling hamburgers, take comfort - given the variety of flavors and herbs, you can usually pair any type of heavier red wine. Note that the condiments -- all those extra goodies you pile on top -- will overpower any kind of wine. However, you can try Tempranillo, Merlot, Syrah -- a few fruity, rich varietals that 'simply taste good' with that juicy burger.
Pairing White Meat With Red and White Wine
Whiter meats tend to be less seasoned, and have a softer impact on your palate. These meats pair best with lighter-bodied reds, as these wines tend to have more fruity flavors and aromas, which allows them to stand out more as the meat takes a back seat. Your options include such varietals as Merlot or Pinot Noir.
If the meat is very lightly seasoned, or served with a fruit chutney, you can also try it with a white wine. Remember that this is a chance for the wine's flavors to stand out. You will want to find a semi-dry white (neither dry nor sweet), so that the varietals flavors (not the added sugars) stand out most.
In any case, there are many whites whose fruity flavors will pair well with chicken. These include Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and even Viognier (lovely with an herbed chicken).
These are just a few general guidelines to help you on the 4th. Overall, the choices are up to you. Enjoy your day, set off a few fireworks, and remember to celebrate it with a glass of Oregon wine!