Barbeque and Wine – A Match Made in Italy

It’s almost Memorial Day Weekend, which for many people marks the unofficial start of summer barbeque time. Hot dogs and hamburgers are often the meal of choice when the weather starts getting warmer. By now, we get the urge to fire up the grill, so let’s talk wine pairing! Being thoughtful about how you pair your wine and food can lead to a better sensory experience. And when paired in a complimentary way, food can actually help your palate dig deeper into the flavor profile of a wine.

First ingredient for barbeque: the umami

For barbeque, it’s important to keep the taste sensation of “umami” in mind when thinking about what wine to pick. If you aren’t familiar, umami is commonly acknowledged as being the unofficial “fifth taste.” The word umami comes from the Japanese term for ‘delicious’. It’s often described as that element in a food that makes something taste irresistible. Umami is an important factor when pairing something like barbeque with red wine, because umami-rich foods often clash with young, high tannin wines.

When you’re picking out wines to pair with fattier meats like grilled hot dogs and hamburgers that commonly have a decent amount of umami in the flavor profile, I highly recommend picking out a red that’s low in tannin but higher in acidity. Chianti Classico fits that bill perfectly, thanks to required ageing that tones down the tannins, but still bright pronounced acidity from the Sangiovese grape. Young, high tannin wines tend to clash and suppress umami-rich foods, emphasizing the wine’s bitterness and astringency. Next time you grill up a burger, try this out for yourself and taste test pairings with an aged Chianti vs. a young Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Carpineto Chianti Classico Riserva

I recommend Carpineto’s Chianti Classico Riserva for your next barbeque. The Riserva classification of this wine guarantees the wine has been aged longer, resulting in smoother tannins that still hold up to match the flavors of the meat. Notes of ripe black cherry, raspberry, violet, and hints of vanilla and allspice with a long and velvety finish make this an excellent choice for pairing with your next grilling endeavor.