Many opt for red wines for grilling, yet white wines bring a refreshing “chill” along with acidity and often veggie-friendly flavor profiles. Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Chardonnay are go-to grilling finds for a variety of fresh fare, but each makes its mark for signature barbecue options. Spicing it up? Opt for something sweet, Riesling will tame heat in sauces and secret spices.
Going buttery? Grab a Chardonnay to amp up a complementary pairing with anything from corn on the cob slathered in butter to poultry picks carrying a rich, cream-based sauce.
Grill-friendly White Wines
White wines typically find their best grilled matches with shellfish, grilled fish, poultry and some pork picks. The innate acidity and generous citrus, apple, pear and stone fruit flavors combined with the refreshing aspect of chilled serving temperatures make these wines a natural fit for all things summer. Best bets in the white wine arena for grilled fare include zesty Sauvignon Blanc, the sweeter-style and elevated acidity of Riesling and the fuller-bodied, often buttery profile of Chardonnay.
Sauvignon Blanc – If grilled veggies are your thing, then Sauvignon Blanc is your wine. Showcasing bright citrus fruit character with often earthy and herbaceous undertones, Sauvignon Blanc carries the acidity and fresh palate appeal to coax the most out of grilled peppers, asparagus, yellow squash or zucchini and onions.
Sauvignon Blanc also handles grilled oysters, shrimp and sea bass along with chicken that has spent time in a lemon and herb marinade. Whether you opt for zesty marinades or keep things au naturale, stellar Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley to New Zealand will keep the season’s savory pairings humming.
• Sauvignon Blanc to Try: Wine Butler California Sauvignon Blanc . Light grass and tropical aromas with a hint of smokiness from the toasted oak. Smooth flavours of gooseberries and kiwi. $150 winemaking package to craft 28 bottles.*
Riesling – The sweeter, off-dry, high acid style of many of the market’s Rieslings offer the perfect counter-pairing to beat the heat of spicy barbecue sauces, while also providing a delicious contrast in an almost “sweet tea” theme for supporting barbecues that embrace their savory, vinegar-based sides. Delicious with smoked salmon, pulled pork or honeyed ham, and perfectly capable of handling the heat of spicy Asian barbecue or the fiery punch of hot mustard-laden dips, Rieslings promise palate presence and true refreshment as they tackle the gutsy kick of dry mustard, cayenne, chili powder and vinegar with generous levels of residual sugar and innate acidity.
• Riesling Wines to Try: Wine Butler German Style Riesling. A light, fresh wine with a flowery bouquet. Medium bodied wine with the fruity flavours of lime, apricot and honey. Includes elderflowers. $180 to craft 28 bottles.*
Chardonnay – While Chardonnay may not be a typical top pick for grilled fare, it has its place alongside butter-based dishes, grilled lobster and pork, or smoked salmon, halibut or sole. Think corn-on-the cob drizzled with butter, grilled chicken or shrimp served with garlic butter and fresh veggies topped with a cream sauce. Or consider familiar barbecue sides like rich mustard sauce with the forward fruit of an unoaked Chardonnay.
Chardonnay to Try: Wine Butler BC Style Chardonnay. Plenty of ripe fruit both on the nose and on the palate such as fresh peach, pear and apple nicely accented by refreshing lemon and lime and a sprinkle of spice. Vanilla undertones add subtle complexity without masking the fruit-forward bouquet and flavours. $210 to craft 28 bottles.*
• Bottles not included 1$ ea or bring your own. $3.90 HST not included. Must be 19+ with valid id.