Grilling Calls for Certain Wines

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By Lauryn Shabanowitz; Certified Sommelier and Owner of A Crushed Grape- Denver
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Spring is in full bloom, and summer is just around the corner. It's the perfect time for us to host an outdoor party and fire up the grill.

Backyard wine parties are a great way to share your favorite warm weather wines with your friends, as well as try new ones. It is also a good time to start experimenting with wines and make a new version of a wine spritzer, or sangria.

The great thing about grilling is that many fabulous wines pair well with grilled meats and vegetables. For most of us, we like a little bit of char grilled into our meats. That smoky flavor pairs well with smoky and earthy wines.

You don't want to pair a very acidic or tannic wine, as that will strip away the flavors of the grilled foods. Instead, pick a wine that will complement the flavors of the food, while bringing out the characteristics of the wine.

Great examples include:

• Sauvignon Blanc: This crisp, acidic wine, has earthy and tropical flavors that pair well with any grilled meal.

• Tempranillo: This wine has soft tannins and flavors of tobacco and leather that will pair well with the charred flavors of the grilled meats and veggies.

• Zinfandel: Like the Tempranillo, this wine has soft tannins and a nice tobacco flavor. In addition, this wine has big, bold, jammy fruit flavors that complement the spice and smoke of the grilled meal.

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