Wine&more Team

The Best BBQ Wine!

If you want to pick the best barbecue wine for grilling season, a couple of rules should be followed. We have selected many different options, each contributing to a specific type of food you will be grilling.


Most of the wine pairings recommendations are too general. The problem is in repeating age-old rules. Many recommend a specific variety, not the type of wine. In the real world, there are many exceptions to what is normally expected from a particular varietal of wine.

So, by blindly following these “rules”, it’s easy to make a mismatch instead of the desired synergy of food and wine pairing. We have prepared specific recommendations that are tested to deliver the umami.

But let’s start with the basics…

barbecue and wine pairing

Does wine go with barbecue?

Yes, the wine goes very well with barbecue, although the specific pairing will depend on the type of food and the complementary ingredients being used, such as sauces, seasonings, etc. 

Honestly, a beer, a true beer, not Bud Light or similar monstruosities massively sold as beer in the US, for example, is a popular choice for a reason. The carbonation in beer can help cut through the richness of the meat and refresh the palate. 

However, beers can quench thirst perfectly but can’t quite cover all the possible pairing that results in the synergy of food and wine.

And yes, personal taste and especially acquired taste shouldn’t be ignored. But bear in mind wines are traditionally considered to be a spice to food, and as a consequence, many wines you might not like on their own pair beautifully with a bite from the grill. 

So, despite the fact your perception is culturally conditioned, there are many examples of bbq food and wine pairing that work every time.

What kind of wine goes with BBQ?

The kind of wine that goes best with barbecue will depend on the type of food being grilled and the sauce or seasonings used. General guidelines, based on the type of wine, are:

For the beef: full-bodied red wines, not overly tannic, with balanced acidity. These wines can complement the richness of the beef and the smoky flavors from the grill or smoker.

For the pork: medium-bodied red wines, even lighter in tannin structure, aromatic and flavorful, can complement the savory flavors of pork and work well with the sweetness of barbecue sauce.

For the chicken: not too light, but refreshing white wines can be a good pairing with grilled or smoked chicken. These wines can complement the subtle flavor of chicken and work well with the herbs and spices used in marinades or rubs.

For seafood: lighter white wines are expected to be a good match for grilled or smoked seafood. These wines can complement the delicate flavors of seafood and work well with light or citrus-based marinades.

Overall, the best wine for barbecue will depend on your personal preferences and the specific flavors of the dish being served. It’s always a good idea to experiment with different pairings to find the one that works best for you.

bbq ribs

What wine goes best with BBQ ribs?

When it comes to pairing wine with BBQ ribs, full-bodied but balanced red wine with bold flavors and higher tannins is usually a great option. 

Here are a few wines that can complement the flavors of BBQ ribs:

Tribidrag/Crljenak/Zinfandel: Zinfandel is a versatile wine that can be a great match for BBQ ribs. Its bold fruit flavors and higher alcohol content, along with well-integrated freshness, can stand up to the bold flavors of the meat and sauce. Our recommendation is: Bedalov Castel Zinfandel

Syrah/Shiraz: Syrah is a bold, full-bodied red wine with rich flavors of dark fruit and spice. It pairs well with the smoky and spicy flavors of BBQ ribs. Our recommendation is: Krauthaker Syrah

Cabernet Sauvignon: Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic pairing for red meat, and it can be a great match for BBQ ribs as well. It’s bold flavors and high tannin content can complement the richness of the meat and sauce. Our recommendation is: Crvik Cabernet Sauvignon Satir

Ultimately, the best wine to pair with BBQ ribs will depend on your personal taste and the specific flavors of the dish. You may want to experiment with different wines to find the perfect pairing for your ribs.

What white wine goes best with grilled meat?

Grilled meat excludes poultry and fish, so pairing white wine with grilled meat presents a challenge. Not too many white wines can handle red meat well enough.

Of course, the best white wine to pair with grilled meat will depend on the specific type of meat being grilled and personal taste preferences. Still, unless we are talking about white sausages, white wine will often fail to counter the flavor intensity and richness of grilled beef, pork, or even lamb.

The answer to this question is a structured white wine with enough body to handle the heavier dish and enough of freshness to counter it. Certain Chardonnay wines can achieve that. Our recommendation is Antunović Chardonnay Sur Lie Grand Selection. It’s sur lie aged Chardonnay, but the oak aromas are not dominant, and the primary fruit is vivid and clear. This type of wine fits the description perfectly.

Another approach is to use an amber/orange wine. It is made from the white variety, only macerated as if it is red. The result is a tannic grip and different aromatics, usually with plenty of body to match the grilled red meat. Our recommendation is Trapan Istraditional, the wine is dry, full-bodied, warm, and soft and has a robust freshness. Tannins present excellent minerality and persistence on the palate. The wine is balanced, and the intensity is pronounced.

grilled vegetables

The best BBQ wine with vegetables

Grilled vegetables can be a main dish and not only a side dish during a barbecue. In that case, the best wine to complement the flavors of the vegetables without overpowering them depends on the specific vegetables being grilled. Makes sense not to choose the same wine for zucchini and paprika or mushrooms and onions.

Regardless, you should stick to lighter-bodied, non-overly aromatic white wine that can complement grilled and smoked vegetables. Our recommendation is:

These wines have unique characteristics that make them ideal to pair with grilled vegetables. This does not mean that they cannot accompany other meals equally well.

white fish

The best BBQ wine with white fish

When it comes to pairing wine with white fish on the barbecue, you’ll also want to carefully choose a wine that complements the delicate flavours of the fish without overpowering them. First, to establish what kind of fish and what manner of preparing it we are discussing. Whitefish differs from oily fish in that the flesh is usually white in colour, dryer in texture, and quite subtle in flavour—for example, sea bass on the grill. 

If it is prepared in a simple and the best way, all it takes is fresh fish, open fire, olive oil, and sea salt. Perfectly grilled, it creates an umami-like emulsion of oil, salt and smokes you usually grab from the plate with high-quality white bread. 

With this purest form of grilling the white fish, we can wholeheartedly recommend:

These wines are the perfect example of their varieties, and these wines are traditionally paired with grilled white fish. However, it’s because of their structure that they create a balanced whole with a white fish and work as an ideal spice to this plate.

grilled seafood

The best BBQ wine with seafood

Seafood such as clams or shrimps can also be grilled and in many Mediterranean places, this is the preferred way of preparing them. 

Again, delicacy is the key. The wine should be lifting a bit and dry with a more pronounced aromatic profile. 

Many Rose wines fit the description perfectly. And definitely, sparkling ones as well. This is why we choose the:

With shrimps more on the sweeter side of the sea and clams with their saltiness, they both share a need for the additional uplifting of the bite. That is why sparkling wine, or vivacious rose, comes in. Complementing frilled seafood with fresh red fruit aromatics and firm structure.

oily fish

The best BBQ wine with oily fish

Again, it is not all the same whether you’re grilling a salmon or a tuna, or a mackerel for that matter, but there is a type of wine that will accompany every oily fish beautifully. 

That would be a medium-bodied, balanced red wine, with low tannins, ideally younger with a touch of minerality beneath fruit flavors.

Such a wine is:

Both are excellent and versatile, and both bring Mediterranean aromatics to the table to spice the things in the right way, and to pair the grilled oily fish perfectly with their body and balanced structure.

In addition, with oily fish, you can pair the white wine. White wine should be structured, to be able to handle the oily fish. With a firm body, not under or overpowering, and with an embedded freshness to lift the experience. It could be a more layered, more complex white wine with the ability to age and develop herbal as well as fruity aromatics.

And such a wine is:

bbq chicken

The best BBQ wine with chicken

Concentrating on the chicken meat and supposing it is marinated beforehand makes the difference. Assuming the bbq chicken is marinated with red pepper and other seasonings to become spicier, we should seek refreshment in the wine to counter the spiciness. 

The meat is supposed to be quite tender and texturally doesn’t ask for tannins at all. 

The answer is a white wine with refreshing qualities, not overly aromatic because it might clash with the chicken’s spiciness, but it needs to have enough body to carry the bite.

Our recommendation is:

turkey skewers

The best BBQ wine with turkey skewers

Assuming the turkey was also marinated and the fact the turkey meat is richer than that of a chicken, the wine to pair ideally should have even more body and structure.

It could be red wine, but in most cases, turkey meat is too tender, even when grilled on a barbecue, to be paired with anything tannic. Therefore, only lighter red wines are an option. 

Or, more structured aged white wines:

bbq pork

The best BBQ wine with pork

After beef, pork meat covers most of the bbq menu. Sure, it could be paired with certain white or rose wines, but why bother when there are many excellent options for ideal bbq wine for pork meat. If you desire to stick with white wine, only and still enjoy bbq pork, probably the best option is an orange wine

Taste the uniquely balanced Sagul Orange, a macerated white wine, refreshing and elegant that will spice the grilled pork with intense aromas of dried citrus fruit and orange flowers. And just the right kind of tannic grip is necessary to carry the bite.

Our recommendation for the best bbq wine with pork is:

Babić – Delusional Wine, Testament Babić, Prgin Babić

Sansigot – Ivan Katunar

Generally, bbq pork requires a hearty red wine, which is not too heavy on the palate, with a strong aromatic impact and softer tannins.

bbq sausages

The best BBQ wine with sausages

Sausages and barbecue come hand in hand. Another challenge is what kind of wine should come hand in hand with a specific sausage. Face it; beer is the most common accompaniment to a grilled sausage, especially with all the sauce it could be served with.

But some wines can complement the richness and spiciness of the sausage while also refreshing your palate. Most commonly, the answer is found either in so-called fruit bombs or in wines of more earthy aromatics, but always within a red wine category.

Basically, you can use the same recommendations for a bbq wine that goes with pork. But, there is another category recently on the rise that is getting more attention, and that is Pet Nat. If you decide to venture down this road, our recommendation is:

After all, these wines resemble beer in their appearance anyway 🙂

burger bbq

The best BBQ wine with burgers

Now, this is what all the excitement is usually about. The smell and taste of the grilled beef burger. This opportunity undoubtedly calls for a fuller-bodied, hearty, red wine unashamed of its tannin but also with acid structure and ideally earthy and mineral undertones in otherwise fruity aromatics.

Since many wines fall into this category, and you can hardly miss them completely, the challenge is to go with something more exciting. So, we can recommend the following:

Teran is a variety of hearty freshness and fruit&dirt aromatics that provides the necessary touch of rustic to the burger and achieves synergy.

e thrill, have a bite of red wine with bubbles. In many ways, the dry Lambrusco style elevates dark fruit even more and creates a new whole – try the Griffin Dark Side!

beef steak bbq

The best BBQ wine with beef steaks

A Plethora of wines is enjoyed specifically in this combination. Grilled beef steak, especially dry aged, requires a proper wine. You can hardly miss it with a powerful red wine, full-bodied and full of flavor. 

Our recommendation is:

Crljenak or Tribidrag is more into dark fruit and less tannic, but ideally, ripe and full-bodied wines, while Plavac is more tannic, has lower acidity, is more herbal but balsamic and is just right with an aged beef steak.

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