Barbecue Weekend

THE weather out here on the Atlantic is always unpredictable. But it’s best to travel in hope, so it’s barbecue time in the Irish Examiner this weekend.  Michelle Darmody has five delightful dishes straight of the BBQ, and I’ve got a handful of bottles to go along with them.

Just like my food and wine pairings last week, I’d suggest today’s ones as inspiration rather than prescriptions.

In reality, any number of whites, rosés and reds will do fine with whatever’s on your plate. Some of the most delicious dishes being served up right now in wine countries are quite likely to include what we commonly regard as “mismatches” such as, for instance,  a squid and boiled spuds accompanied by a robust red. Treat wine-matching as an opportunity to let your ingredients shine, and not an exam to fret about.

As well as a handful of wines, I’m tipping a highly unusual beer for the barbie – Innis & Gunn Original. This tawny-coloured beer is oak-aged in Bourbon casks, which leaves it with beautiful tinges of vanilla and orange zest. I think it could be a cracker alongside sizzling chilli-inflected seafood, chicken or vegetable skewers.

(It’s the beer equivalent of wines I tag wth a scribbled “NFE” (not for everyone) in tasting notes. This is a broad eclectic category of less common wine styles such as off-dry, or highly armoatic grapes such as gewürz or even viognier.)

Finally, here are two broad suggestions for you + wine + barbie.

Chill out

You can get a bit swoony from a few hour’s sunshine in its own right. Add alcohol and you can go totally doolally. Rather than tucking into the wine and then switching over to water, why not  add ice and water — still or sparkling — to turn your glassful into a long cool refreshing drink. While chilled-out white even has a name, spritzer, we seldom think of doing so with red. But why not? After all, water is the biggest component in that glass of red, so it’s not like you’re breaching some principle by bigging it up a bit. And some robust reds will thank you for being toned down a bit.

Cool down

As long as you don’t let it freeze, which can damage a wine, don’t worry about overcooling your whites. Whether outdoors at the barbie or in your dining room, it’ll be zooming up in temperature in the glass anyway. And it’s not just whites and rosés either — although I know it horrifys some people, there’s a growing band of wine fans, myself included, who enjoy their reds a little chilled. Like chocolate straight from the fridge, the flavours open up as it melts in your mouth.   ♦

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One Response

  1. *Applause* The response to my asking in restaurants for my red to be a little chilled down has in the past generally been cool (not excluding those sitting at my table at the time either)… So am v happy to have my tastes endorsed here. Thank you Blake!

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