Which wine to pair with grilled meat, pulled pork and brisket? Here are the 12 best bottles for a perfect match!
When we talk about grilled meat, we must immediately introduce another burning topic to the party: the perfect wine.
Yes, the dilemma is real: which wine to pair with our beloved grilled meat, brisket, pulled pork sandwich and skewers?
A good question. But if the golden rule of drinking what you love is always valid, for grilled meat some general advice can be traced.
We have hundreds of vines available: between Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cannonau, Sagrantino, Nebbiolo, Grenache, Tannant, Malbec, Montepulciano, Aglianico, Sangiovese, Carmenere you are spoiled for choice.
This is not a wine and food pairings guide
We don’t want to bore you with outdated wine & food guide, but any excuse is good for uncorking a good bottle of wine. First of all, we need tannins and acidity, both excellent for defusing the fats and juiciness of the meat. So we will look for full-bodied wines that have the right thickness to offset the “fullness” of the meat.
Eating 1 kg of Fiorentina dry, without wine is a difficult undertaking, you need to find the right balance between the proteins in the dish and the hard parts of the wine.
A game of balances and contrasts that is simple but always effective, which is why a wine like Chianti Classico has become so universal despite not being structured or emblazoned like a Bordeaux. Its remarkable acidity is perfect for pairings with fatty proteins, legumes, T-bone steak and kind of BBQ dishes.
As a last tip, let’s not forget about red sparkling wines such as Gutturnio, Lambrusco, excellent for grilled pork, sausages, especially if they are cuts of meat flavored with spicy rubs or spicy seasonings. The bubbles help a lot to tame the hotness of cumin or masala but don’t ask them to do miracles. Sometimes a cold beer is all you need in your glass.
Dracone Riserva 2011, Palazzona di Maggio
Let’s start immediately with a bottle of great red wine, Dracone, a blend of 45% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Franc and 10% Petit Verdot. The tannins are powerful but smooth and the roundness of Merlot is declined with great cleanliness, without sagging, strengthened by the herbaceous influences of the Franc. The 2011 Dracone Riserva is a fabulous wine, perfect for any grilled meat, T-Bone steak or ribs with barbecue sauce.
Regina del Bosco 2012, Dezi
A strong Montepulciano, very rich, with an explosive and complex bouquet, ripe, but always ready to offer a good dose of acidity to play down so much thickness. In the mouth, it is warm, broad, structured and bold, but never too aggressive and with a delicious spicy finish. The ultimate brisket and pulled pork wine.
Mamuthone Giuseppe Sedilesu 2013
We will never get tired of talking about Mamuthone, a Sardinian wine of infinite deepness. Can we say it’s one of the best Cannonau of Sardinia? Yes, we can say it without fear of being proven wrong. Its elegance and depth are equal only to its drinkability, despite being a full and multifaceted wine. Round fruit, spices at will, balsamic returns, all enclosed in a remarkable stylistic precision. If you consider the price, about 15 euros, is a real bargain. Suggest food pairings: grilled pork chops, roast beef, hot dogs.
Merlot 2005 La Castellada winery
At Castellada winery they are famous for macerated whites, true works of art, but often we tend to forget that the Bensa family is also great at producing great reds. Let’s take this Merlot: dark nose with spicy tones and ripe fruit, dried flowers, all marked with elegance, but above all, it is the precision in the mouth that impresses. The freshness is ok, but tannins and minerality are skyrocketing and allow the wine to flow like velvet, without indecision, always composed and dynamic. A delicious red wine to pair with any cut of meat, ribs, pulled pork, gyros, skewers, grilled chicken, smoked beef ribs, Korean galbi.
Barolo Lazzarito 2010, Vietti winery
Let’s never forget Barolo when we are preparing a nice summer grill party. It’s a ruthless carnivorous wine, especially if it comes from Castiglione Falletto, an area renowned for the intensity and tannic power of its wines. And this Barolo from Vietti winery does not disappoint, even though it is still at the dawn of its existence. Classic nose, quite incisive with a slender fruit and forest echoes and licorice notes that invite. In the mouth it is long, elegant, without treble, but with vigorous and well-modulated tannins. If you are looking for a bold wine to pair with fillet with porcini mushrooms or tri-tip with coffee rub, stop looking.
Pieve Santa Restituita Brunello di Montalcino 2010
We were undecided until the very end whether to include Gaja’s Brunello in our ranking. It’s a nice wine, but it’s not a champion of typicality, in fact, we are talking about a too muscular Brunello, carved by the wood that has deeply marked the life of this wine. Nevertheless, it’s a nice and super tannic, perfect for pairings with grilled meat. The problem is that it lacks sharpness, a flicker of originality and when I read Brunello on a label I get excited and I expect austerity, deepness, shades, and finesse, instead this wine is fat and too round. Pair it with chimichurri skewers, lamb shish kebab or grilled lamb chops.
Ronco Delle Ginestre 2009, Castelluccio winery
Vittorio Fiore has accustomed us to wines that are always very precise and reliable, although with the latest vintages is the territory of Modigliana to emerge, offering a deserving, very original cross-section. The 2009 Ronco Delle Ginestre is dense, but precise, spicy, but not exaggeratedly: let’s say that its evolutionary phase is starting now, despite being 2009. If the bouquet is flowery and evolved, finesse, flavor, and rythms are ok. Good balance, long finish that invites you to drink without hesitation. A thick wine to pair with cumin lamb kebabs.
Montevertine, Pergole Torte 2011
The Montevertine winery is the epicenter of the revolutionary return to an era of purity. It sounds strange, naturist Zen stuff, but we are talking about stylistic purity, rigor, a return to beauty, after the excesses of the Golden era of Chianti. It is about respect, to respect the grape variety, not to make it become what it is not or cannot be. And Pergole Torte is the style of Sangiovese, angular and with a dark nose, but full of charm and games of shadows and lights. Give it some hours in the glass and here come spices and coffee, it opens up, showing the majesty of the real Sangiovese. On the palate, it is tense and flickering, mineral, driven by flowery freshness and tannins. Still very young considering the potential it has, but if you want to grill bistecca alla Fiorentina now you what wine to match.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Praesidium 2010
The charm and majesty of Abruzzo are contained in this amazing Montepulciano. The nose is concentrated between a fleshy and dark fruit and a series of mentholated returns that are intertwined with flowers. On the palate, it is warm and modulated by great depth, but drinkability remains high, despite being a rebellious wine. But don’t worry, the more rustic tones of the classic Montepulciano do not belong to this wine, an exceptional companion for grilled lamb, rack of lamb with bbq and arrosticini (lamb skewers).
Torri d’Orti Rosso
An excellent wine to pair with grilled pork, thanks to a light spiciness, lots of pulp and vigorous but well-made tannins.
Rocce Rosse (Red Rocks) 2002 Arpepe
This Nebbiolo, called Chiavennasca in Valtellina, is one of the most intriguing and elegant Italian wines in circulation. Ethereal nose full of earthy aromas with aromatic herbs and mineral notes that follow one another in a symphony of rare beauty. In the mouth, it is tense, mineral and brisk. Savory finish. It is not muscular, in fact, it is the quintessence of finesse: a real wine that should be drunk to the last drop, not smelled. Suggested pairings: Korean galbi, beef ribs marinated with soy sauce and garlic.
Sangue di Drago, Teroldego, Marco Donati winery
We end with an opulent, spicy, tannic and wide-ranging wine, Teroldego Sangue di Drago, suitable for all types of grilled meat, from ribs to spicy grilled sausages. The name already says it all (Dragon’s Blood), an epic wine, born from great care and the best bunches of vineyards that are born in the Piana Rotaliana, a small paradise surrounded by the Dolomites.