When you’re barbecuing meat — whether it’s hot as hell and you’ve spent the early afternoon pounding low-calorie beers or it’s bitter cold out and you’re braving the temperatures because you need a damn grilled steak (or maybe you’re just using a stovetop grill) — you’re going to need something delicious to wash down all that great food down. Beer and whiskey are both fantastic options, but what happens when you need to class it up a little bit? That’s where red wine comes in.
The deep, rich colors and the full-bodied flavors of the best red wines (from Napa, Spain, or really anywhere in the world) can transform barbecued meat into a heavenly experience. The wines below will do just that. It doesn’t matter if it’s something as simple as burgers and dogs or a slow-cooked brisket, these are the bottles you’re going to want to pop open.
Beran Zinfandel 2014
When people describe wines as tasting or smelling like certain things — say tobacco — sometimes it’s hard to understand that. With this wine, it’s easy to pick out tobacco and cigar smoke on the nose. These notes lead into a palate of cherry and tart cranberries that are held up by a well-proportioned amount of tannins.
Domaine de La Réserve d’O Rouge 2014
A blend of 45-percent Grenache, 45-percent Syrah, and 10-percent Cinsault grapes, this flagship wine greets you with blue and blackberry notes that transition into cherry pie and white pepper. There’s a good amount of acidity here that balances out the sweet fruit notes. The minerality of the wine, too, helps it pair well with a variety of meats.
Federalist Bourbon Barrel Zinfandel 2014
Aged six months in bourbon barrels (yes, you heard me, right), Federalist Zinfandel is a blend of Zinfandel, Petite Syrah, and Merlot that exhibits both red wine characteristics, such as raspberry and black pepper, while also showcasing a bourbon-like flavors in vanilla, caramel, and baking spices. If you’re hesitant about wines, but love bourbon, try this first.
Hahn Pinot Noir 2016
With cherry and cinnamon spice that start on the nose and follow through into the palate, this wine also has some delightful woody, cedar notes to it. Low in acidity and tannins, Hahn’s Pinot Noir is a soft wine that is great for before or after the main course.
Justin Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Made in the Bordeaux style, this Cabernet Sauvignon has rich black fruits on the nose that lead into a dry body that greets you with black cherry and cinnamon spices. These spices lead into a nice oak flavor that finishes brings back the cherry notes you expect in a cab.
Kanonkop Kadette 2015
Hailing from the Stellenbosch appellation of South Africa, this blend of Pinotage (54 percent), Cabernet Sauvignon (34 percent), and Merlot (12 percent) is full of ripe, dark fruit flavors that are complemented by a hint of smokiness and a bit of earthy character — perfect for those who like a little char on their meat.