Smoky, juicy meat over the burning charcoal filled grill is how a summer grilling session with friends and family should be. Although it is common for us to go for a can of chilled beer to enjoy, pairing grilled food and wines is also a good activity to do to beat the summer heat.

Beers and smoky meats are indeed a match made in heaven, but a glass of delicious vino over the malted barley is definitely a gastronomic delight! If you want to know how you can make this grilled food and wine a magic pair, take a read!

Knowing the Science Behind Wine Pairing

Technically speaking, science can explain the behind-the-scenes of any phenomena. As what people say, “there’s always a reason for everything.” So, does with wine pairing.

So, the key when you pair food with wine is knowing what will the combination tastes like. With grilled meats, bold red wines are the best pair for them. Why? That is because of the high fat in the meat and its umami balance out the tannins produced by red wine.

On the other hand, if you go for grilling fish and poultry, then the best choice would be full-flavored whites and rose. Why? Because the stated wines act as a palate cleanser that does not overwhelm the grilled fish or chicken.

Now you see why it has something to do with the dishes and the characters of wine, right? So, shall we proceed to the breakdown of the grill and wine pairing?

Barbecue Meat Wine Pairings

Since you already know that you need to take into account the used raw ingredients such as meat and poultry with the wine, you also need to think about the taste that comes with the dishes.

For instance, grilled pork dishes are more on the sweet and savory type. So, red wines that have high-fruit factor or with a hint of sweetness such as Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Ruby Port, and Riesling will pair well with grilled pork.

On the other hand, grilled beef is more on the pepper and smoky side, if you have observed. Thus, choose wines that would enhance its flavors like Chianti, Tempranillo, Shiraz, and bordeaux blend.

More About Grilled Meat and Wine Pairing

When you grill meat, you often season it with sweet, spicy, tangy, and smoky flavors with its matching sauces, right? With that said, you make use of your wine as the upper-hand that balances out the smoke and spiciness of the grilled meat with something fruity with smoky-spicy flavors.

Also, you should take into consideration the types of sauce that you will be using with your grilled meat. For instance, the North Carolina Barbecue Sauce is a sweet one, so you might want to opt for Monastrell, Pinotage, Petite Sirah, and Tannat.

Another example would be Kansas City Barbecue Sauce which belongs to the classic sauce category wherein wines like Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet blend will do the trick.

As for grilled beef, wines like Chianti (or Sangiovese), American Oak-Aged Merlot, Cabernet France, and Syrah will help out in enhancing the smoky and peppery flavors of grilled beef dish.

Chicken and Fish Wine Pairing

Let’s proceed with our grill and wine pairing, grilled fish and chicken dishes are next in line. The way we pair wines with the stated grilled dishes is not that big of a difference with the initial pairing of barbecue meat and wine.

With this said, think of how you would grill a chicken, it will be seasoned with herbs or sweet sauce, right? Thus, you should consider that. When you pair grilled chicken with wine, think about herbal or sweet. So, you should try the dish with Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, White Zinfandel, and Orvieto.

On the other hand, grilled fish are more on the flavorful and juicy side. Thus, buttery and zippy wines will delight your palate through blending in and enhancing the flavors of the grilled fish. With this, Oaked Chardonnay, Verdejo, Friulano, and White Rioja will do the dishes justice.

More About Grilled Fish and Chicken Wine Pairing

On to the grill and wine pairing of fish and chicken, one must put into account the style of the dish. Confused? Then let’s break it down little by little.

If you are someone that prefers lighter taste like a simple grilled chicken and fish, then Sauvignon Blanc, Oaked Chardonnay, or Verdejo will accompany you to a gastronomic delight of citrusy, grassy, and light taste. Think of simplicity and sophistication in one.

Now, for barbecue grilled chicken dishes, with its sticky and sweet sauce with grill marks, a more intense Gewürztraminer wine will be an excellent choice! Here’s a tip, try it with blue cheese to create an exciting blend of flavor and aroma!

Lastly, if you want to spin things differently with your essential salt, pepper, and tomatoes or cilantro for fish tacos, then you might want to take this recommendation of a nicely chilled Sauvignon Blanc, Fume Blanc, Grechetto, or Verdejo to play off a citrusy and mineral taste to the palate.


Pairing grilled food and wine is not that complicated if you know what to do and understand what you are looking for. What you always need to remember is that you need to put the individual flavors of your dishes and wine when you want it to pair with each other.


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