May 11th, 2015 – CTV Morning Live

Today on CTV Morning Live, Host Lianne Laing and Matt showcased some terrific wines to enjoy this long weekend, and throughout the summer.

Check out the video here: BBQ Wines for May 2-4 long weekend – As seen on CTV Morning Live May 11th

May 2-4 weekend is a great time to get together with friends and enjoy a BBQ with refreshing wines.

Although beer is a great choice when the temperature is sky rocketing, wines offer terrific food pairing options and knowing the right wine to pair with the right food is the number one trick to ensuring perfect pairings, all summer long!

On that note, there are a few basics to understand about wine and food pairings.



Pro Tip #3: MATCH WINE with SAUCE


Pro Tip #5: CHILL IT!

More details:


Pair spicy foods with wines that a bit of residual sugar (eg: Riesling, Alsatian Pinot Gris, Chenin Blanc, (red) Zinfandel, Moscato D’Asti). Residual sugar helps cool down spice and creates balance between the food and the wine.

Similarily, avoid pairing spicy food with highly alcoholic or tannic wine (example: Bordeaux reds). The heat of the food will actually intensify the alcohol and the tannins in the wine, which in turn will make the dish seem even spicier.  A great way to spoil both a nice dish and a nice wine.

And never pair sweet food with a dry wine. Match the sweetness in your wine with that in your food to ensure one doesn’t taste bitter. I recommend that your wine be slightly sweeter than your food, otherwise your wine will taste bitter, and that’s no fun! A good pairing is tangy BBQ sauce based pork tenderloin paired with a sweet and tangy California Zinfandel. The bold flavours in both the wine and the BBQ sauce covered pork will complement each other very well.


Pair BBQ fare with wines that have been aged in oak (eg: oaked Chardonnay, Fumé Blanc, Semillon, Zinfandel (same as Primitivo), Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon). Because oaked wines are often more intense, and fuller bodied, they can overwhelm the flavours in a dish, so they need to be paired with foods that match that intensity. BBQ grilled foods tend to balance that vanilla rich oaked intensity and allow the fruit flavours of the wine to shine.

Pro Tip #3: MATCH WINE with SAUCE

Instead of pairing your wines just based on whether it’s fish, chicken, or beef, think of what sauce you may be placing on it and try to match the characteristics of the sauce with that of the wine (eg: sweet and spicy BBQ sauce on beef or chicken commands a wine with characteristics that are equally intense and that will stand-up to the sweet and tangy BBQ sauce), whereas lemon on fish or chicken pairs best with crisp white wines such as unoaked Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or Pinot Gris.

Be mindful of the sauces you’re adding to your meat. Simply using salt and pepper is a great way to season fish and beef. Typically that will make the most options for wine pairing, whereas adding high sugar based sauces such as BBQ sauce will make any dry red or white wines taste bitter, so think ahead when planning your wine and food selections.

I’m a big fan of tangy BBQ sauces so I tend to reach for slightly sweet white and expressive red wines which work out terrific. Examples include: slightly off-dry Riesling and Chenin-Blanc, or Zinfandel and Primitivo (same grape!) for the reds. These wines complement sweet and tangy foods perfectly! If reaching for a beer, Porter, or Russian Imperial Stouts each offer great pairings for rich and tangy BBQ fare.


If you’re lost for wine pairings go with this basic rule of thumb:

Match the colour of the food with the colour of the wine. Examples include: light white wine (like Sauvignon Blanc) with salads, vegetables, white fish; golden white wines (like Chardonnay or Semillon) with roasted chicken or corn on the cob; rosé with tuna steak or charcuterie; red wines with red meat (pair pork with lighter reds and beef with more robust reds).

Pro Tip #5: CHILL IT!

When enjoying wine outside in the heat of the summer, chill it first.

That’s right, chill not only your white and rosé wines, but throw your red wines in the fridge or place them on ice before service to ensure they’re kept cooler than ambient temperature. Pinot Noir should be served around 10C and big red wines should be served around 15C. If those wines get warm, they won’t be as refreshing as they otherwise would have been had they been properly chilled prior to service.

Chilled Pinot Noir in the summer is a terrific wine to enjoy with grilled fish.

Here are a few terrific wines to enjoy this long weekend, and throughout the summer, that are sure to complement your BBQ fare:

  1. 13th Street Winery 13th Street Vineyard Riesling 2012 – Ontario – $19.95 (Named Ontario’s best Riesling!)
  2. Niche Wine Co. Small Batch White 2013 – Okanagan, BC – $18 (Best of Show – Osoyoos Oyster Fest 2015)
  3. 13th Street Winery Pink Palette 2014 – Ontario – $14.95 (just released in LCBO – great for summer!)
  4. Niche Wine Co. Rosé 2013 – Okanagan, BC – $18 (order winery direct!)
  5. Creekside Estate Winery Pinot Noir – Queenston Road Vineyard, Ontario – $18.95 (Incredible value, a must try! Being released via Vintages May 30th or available winery direct)
  6. 13th Street Winery Burger Blend 2013 – Ontario – $14.95 (great with BBQ sauce drenched burgers and ribs, available winery direct or via Vintages in June)
  7. Peninsula Ridge Shiraz – Ontario – $14.95 (awesome value priced beauty!)
  8. Quinta Ferreira Syrah 2010 – Okanagan, BC – $30 (2009 vintage won Canada’s Best Red Wine award in 2012! – order winery direct).
  9. Creekside Estate Syrah 2013 – Ontario – $15.95 (another fantastic value priced gem!)
  10. The Hidden Sea Shiraz – Australia – $16.95 (everyone will love this Aussie Shiraz – Double Gold winner – Sakura Japan, 2015)
  11. The Grinder Pinotage 2013 – South Africa – $13.95 (fantastic price for this robust and expressive wine – and now a Vintages Essential product!).

Our friends at VinePair put this sweet infographic together and I stand by it (although I’d put bubbly with a few more too…but I love bubbly with just about anything)!

Wine pairing chart for backyard BBQ by Vinepair.

Matt Steeves is a certified sommelier, wine writer, & Director with the National Capital Sommelier Guild – follow Matt on Twitter @Quercusvino or www.quercusvino.ca

13th Street Winery - Burger Blend available winery direct or in LCBO starting late June 2015.
13th Street Winery – Burger Blend available winery direct or in LCBO starting late June 2015.
Tangy BBQ’d ribs