Memorial Day Planning: Wines to Pair with Grilled Foods

Beer is the go-to backyard beverage when the barbecue gets fired up, but wine is a match for anything that bears grill marks.

Tequila-Glazed Grilled Chicken Thighs

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1. Barbecue Chicken:  A juicy red with plush fruit and light tannins will be a gentle partner to the bold, tangy sauce and smoky grilled chicken.
Try a primitivo blend from southern Italy. Known as the Italian version of zinfandel, primitivo has the same lush fruit and spice as its California cousin but is often more food-friendly. The roasted fruit character will play well with the spicy-sweet barbecue sauce and hint of smoke from the grill.

Cedar Plank-Grilled Salmon with Mango Kiwi Salsa

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2. Cedar-Plank Salmon: Cedar-Plank Salmon is rich in healthy fat, so it needs an equally rich wine. The fish oil coats your mouth, so it works like a charm with buttery chardonnay. Avoid over-oaked bottles.

Simple, Perfect Fresh-Ground Brisket Burgers

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3. Burgers: Burgers are not steak, so resist the temptation to reach for a colossal, in-your-face California cabernet or Left Bank Bordeaux that overwhelms or overcomplicates. Instead, a bright and juicy red, such as a Malbec, complements the burger’s beefiness, as well as any veggies that are likely part of the equation.

Grilled Pork Chops with Nectarines

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4. Grilled Pork Chops: Grilled pork chops should be juicy, especially if they’re brined before cooking. This meat can stand up to a red wine of some substance and tannin.

Pinto, Black, and Red Bean Salad with Grilled Corn and Avocado

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5. Side salads and grilled vegetables: As a general rule, match rosés, tart whites, and lighter reds like pinot noir with salads and veggies. And when in doubt, reach for a sparkling wine, because like salad itself, bubbly is light, refreshing, and infinitely satisfying on a summer evening.

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