BBQ Wine: Great bottles to drink with classic barbecue dishes

What kind of wine should you serve at a BBQ? 

With the weather (hopefully) on our side, there are few things better than a barbecue in the sunshine accompanied by a delicious glass of wine.

Choosing a good bottle for your barbecue can really elevate the occasion, although for something a little less formal, there’s plenty to choose from in terms of canned or bag-in-box wines instead.

Forget those days of washing down a burnt burger with warm Chardonnay or a cooked red served in a plastic cup, choosing wine to serve at a barbecue needn’t be an afterthought.

If you’re going big on the spice, then you could lean towards fruitier reds or whites with a touch of sweetness, such as off-dry Riesling or Gewürztraminer for example.

Grilled salmon works well with a number of wines, from sparkling rosé to a light Pinot Noir or even a glass of chilled Manzanilla.

As outside temperatures warm up, you may be reluctant to pair beef with a full-bodied red, but a Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec or Shiraz could still work well providing it is served no warmer than room temperature.

Catering for vegans? Make sure the wines you serve are as vegan-friendly as the food they’re matching.


At a glance – suggested BBQ wines:

Here are some wine pairings for classic barbecue dishes. For ease of use, we’ve overlooked the uses of marinades and sauces.

  • SteakMalbec, Syrah/Shiraz
  • Burgers – Zinfandel, Grenache blends (like Côtes du Rhône), Cabernet Sauvignon
  • SausagesTempranillo, Gamay, Pinot Noir
  • BBQ chicken – Warmer climate Chardonnay
  • Pork chops – Valpolicella, BarberaRiesling, dry rosé
  • SalmonRosé Champagne, Pinot Gris, chilled Pinot Noir
  • SardinesAlbariño, Picpoul de Pinet
  • HalloumiSauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, Assyrtiko
  • Veggie SkewersChenin Blanc (fresher styles), dry rosé, Gamay

Do you know somebody who wants to start learning about how to pair, taste and serve your favourite wines? Pairing & serving wine: a guide for the real beginner is a new online learning course from Decanter designed to introduce the basic principles and start beginners on their journey through the fascinating world of wine. Find out more… 


All-rounder BBQ wines

Choosing wine for a barbecue should be fun, with the emphasis on enjoyment of the occasion: it’s unlikely you’ll purchase 10 types of wine and impose strict pairing regulations!

There are some great all-rounder wines that tick many of the boxes needed for a great gathering with friends and family.

Styles to consider include:

  • Malbec
  • Pinot Noir
  • Gamay
  • Dry rosé
  • Riesling
  • Champagne and other traditional method sparkling wines, or a refreshing pét-nat

Best rosé wines – 20 under £20


Top tips for serving wines at a BBQ

If it’s above 20°C, 68°F, outside then it’s perfectly acceptable to chill your red wines.

Even the most powerful red wines are best at room temperature, which is no more than 18°C, or around 65°F.

Also, and this almost goes without saying these days, do avoid plastic cups if possible.


Great BBQ wine, tasted by Decanter experts

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