Wines for grilling out

By Columbus Alive
From the May 24, 2012 edition

Beer is a real attention hog around the summer grill and smoker, but we’re nudging it aside to make room for some great-with-grilling wines. Beer pairs well with warm-weather eats because it’s cool and crisp, and its bubbles help wash down all the fixins. Wine can play the same role, boosting the profile of food and refreshing you at the same time.

We asked the pros at Wine on High to choose a few moderately priced wines for typical grill menus: chicken, beef and barbecue.

Chicken

Chateau Mas Neuf Rhone Paradox Blanc

Region: Costieres de Nimes, Rhone Valley, France

Varietals: 65 percent white grenache, 35 percent roussanne

Tasting notes: Medium body, a tad buttery, clean apple, pear and apricot flavors, Meyer lemon notes. Pleasant acidity that results in a super-clean finish.

Also pairs well with: This wine was born to be paired with food. In addition to chicken, try it with pork, seafood, shellfish, grilled summer vegetables, or grilled or broiled fruit. Tarragon (sweet, with a hint of anise) was an especially nice flavor with it.

Price: $12

Beef

St. Kilda 2010 Shiraz

Region: New South Wales, Australia

Varietals: 100 percent syrah

Tasting notes: Vanilla, toasty oak, cardamom, dark dried fruit (cherry, raspberry, plum). It’s very fruit-forward and pretty sweet, but a pleasant acidity prevents the soft body from feeling flabby.

Also pairs well with: S’mores — the cardamom and vanilla in this wine play well with graham crackers, milk chocolate and roasted marshmallow. It could also work well with a red-sauced pasta and some sweet Italian sausage.

Price: $10

Barbecue

Chateau Andron 2009 Medoc

Region: Medoc, Bordeaux, France

Varietals: 50 percent merlot, 48 percent cabernet sauvignon, 2 percent cabernet franc

Tasting notes: Ripe cherries, raspberries, plums, assertive spice up front. Packs a tannic punch. Very dry. Buy two bottles; try one now and hold on to the other one for a year or two. Age might resolve the harsher elements of this wine.

Also pairs well with: This big wine needs big food flavors. Pasta with Bolognese sauce, hearty lasagna, lamb, bison, flourless dark chocolate cake.

Price: $15