The perfect white wines for a summer barbecue | Alistair Gibson

I was reading a food column recently featuring barbecue recipes and it occurred to me that all the wines being recommended to pair with the dishes were red.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 3:45 pm
This is one of the wines Alistair recommends.
This is one of the wines Alistair recommends.

Not surprising perhaps when you think about it, after all even if you get past the classic British summer barbecue staples of sausages and burgers then most of the recipes you will find feature various takes on spicy, smoky and charred red meats. There are many things to consider when matching wines with barbecue dishes, not least the marinades or the sauces. Here are a few whites wines I’ve tasted recently that may work really well with your summer barbecue.

Picpoul de Pinet is a wine made from the unknown grape Picpoul, which is grown in vineyards by the Étang de Thau – a series of lagoons in the south of France. It is only fairly recently that this crisp, dry white wine has become fashionable. It has been referred to as the muscadet of the south, but I think to be fair its popularity has now vastly outgrown muscadet.

Picpoul de Pinet 2019, Croix de Bézard (Tesco £10) features seashells on the label and this really does remind you of the coast. It is very fresh with aromas of citrus and almost an ocean-like spray of iodine and salinity. A definite star with simple seafood and would go really well with barbecued sardines or squid.

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Albariño is another grape which has become fashionable over the past few years and a great lover of seafood but there are very few examples grown outside its native homeland of north-west Spain. Leftfield Albariño 2020, Gisborne (nzhouseofwine.co.uk £11.99, Waitrose £10.79) is one of the most successful New World examples of this variety that I have tasted. The bouquet offers the classic Albariño aromas of ripe peaches and honeysuckle along with some lemon curd. It’s very fresh with a lovely zesty, lime acidity and a long, tasty finish. If you were pushing the boat out this would be perfect with lobster on the barbecue or with any firm textured fish cooked over fire.

Greek white wines have been attracting lots of attention recently. What more could you want than some squid cooked on hot coals? Mitravelas ‘White on Grey’ 2020, Peloponnese (The Wine Society, £7.50) is made from the indigenous Greek variety moschofilero and is a wonderfully aromatic, fresh white that totally over-delivers at this price. The nose has lemon sherbet and a touch of rose water, with some spicy notes on the finish. When well-chilled, this is delicious.