Fire up the grill and pop that cork! Wine and grilled ribs will work beautifully together as long as you’ve picked the right wine. Accompany it with homemade coleslaw and potato salad, or any of your favorite sides that aren’t too sweet.
Do you retire your grill as soon as its not “grilling weather” anymore? Or in your world, is it always grilling weather? I feel like this time of year as fall creeps in quicker and quicker, we are trading barbecues and grilled dinners for pot roasts and soups…but I’ve decided to squeeze in one last recipe this season!
So let’s get one thing straight…today I am not pairing wine and “barbecue”. I am pairing wine with grilled ribs. What’s the difference? True barbecue is when meat has been slow cooked for hours and is usually slathered in sweet, sticky sauce. Sweet foods and dry wines equal disaster, so please don’t open a bottle of wine when you’ve made true barbecue. Its actually one of my greatest pet peeves when I see barbecue and wine paired together. More info.
Today we’re talking about Grilled ribs, which are not slow-cooked all day like barbecued ribs, but cooked quickly over an open flame. Grilled meats all have delicious, toasty, charred, slightly burnt flavors in them which work perfectly with wine and beer.
What kind of wine? The biggest reds you’ve got! There are many wines here that will pair nicely, but in particular, I suggest opening a bottle of California Zinfandel with grilled ribs. Zinfandel is big on flavor and alcohol, which will stand up to the richness of grilled ribs. I like to call Zinfandel a “fruit bomb” because it can have flavors anywhere from raspberry and black cherry to black plum, blackberry, and raisin. Often the fruit character is jammy or stewed, which contrasts incredibly well with the grilled flavors of the ribs.
And although its a common misconception that Zinfandel is “spicy”, it does go excellently with foods that have a little spice going on in them. Think about spices you encounter in dry rubs.. those go great with fruity zinfandel.
Other wines that will work great with grilled ribs include Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Syrah (especially those from the Rhone Valley in France) or red blends. I suggest these because they generally have higher alcohol, bigger bodies, or both that will stand up to the big flavors in grilled ribs. Grenache and Syrah often carry black pepper flavors which will also pair excellently.
Some Wine Suggestions to Serve with Grilled Ribs:
- Terra d’Oro Zinfandel, Amador County $
- Ravenswood Zinfandel, any appellation $-$$ (found in most stores)
- Francis Coppola Director’s Cut Zinfandel, Dry Creek $$
- Inglenook’s Edezione Pennino Zinfandel, Napa Valley $$$
- Torres Sangra de Toro Garnacha, Spain $
- Chapoutier Belle Rouge Cotes du Rhone, France $$
- Qupe Syrah, Central Coast $$
Cabernet Sauvignon/Red Blends
- Spring Valley Vineyards “Frederick”, Walla Walla, WA $$$
- Cline Family Vineyards “Cashmere”, California $$
- Gamble Family Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $$
So fire up that grill one last time this season and enjoy with a big glass of red wine! Happy Pairing!
Looking for a Pairing for Sweet Barbecued Ribs? Click here.
Thirsty for More? Check out these Pairings: