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The Ultimate Summer Barbecue Guide

Summer is heating up, and so is the grill! This time of year has you reaching for something to quench your thirst and something to stand up to the meat on the barbecue. But why not both?
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Let's find out which wines pair best with summertime barbecue favorites, along with a few of our team’s go-to Markham pairings. Afterward, stock up on wine, fire up the grill, and enjoy everything this season has to offer.

The Tried and True Burger

You can’t have barbecue season without a burger! One of summer’s most versatile meals, you can top and dress your burger with just about anything, making it equally fun to pair with wine. A classic burger (or a plant-based substitute) with your quintessential toppings—lettuce, tomato, onion— is a beautiful complement to a medium-bodied red with a tannic structure, like Cabernet Sauvignon. If you’re going for funkier, more umami flavors like mushroom and swiss cheese, opt for a fruit-forward Merlot with approachable acidity. The options are endless!

“Our 2017 Napa Valley Merlot is such a food-friendly wine, I enjoy it with just about anything coming off the grill. For a Saturday night barbecue with friends and family, I’m also serving up our 2017 The Altruist paired with a lamb burger and feta cheese. Merlot’s velvety flavors really have a chance to shine in this Bordeaux-style red blend.”

Winemaker Kimberlee Nicholls

Winner, Winner, Grilled Chicken Dinner

The trusty chicken brings ample options when throwing a barbecue. From wings to thighs to chicken kebabs, you’re bound to create a meal that satisfies your guests. But when it comes to chicken and wine pairings, it’s all about the sauces and seasonings. If you’re leaning toward a traditional BBQ sauce, go with a fruity red like Merlot, often with ripe red notes of plum, currant, and raspberry. If you’re relying on spice over sauce to bring out the flavors, a medium-bodied white with bright acidity and a touch of sweetness will balance out any heat in the spice.

“When pulling a wine to pair with summer meals, you want something to complement the meal without overpowering the palate. Our 2018 District Series Oak Knoll Sauvignon Blanc has crisp and refreshing notes that go beautifully with any style of grilled chicken.” 

Wine Club Manager Greg Strange

Steak & Ribs

There are few better barbecue duos than red wine and red meat, so for a beautifully grilled steak or some slow-smoked ribs that take all day, we’re inviting Malbec to the party. Some say Malbec was born for the barbecue—full-bodied, fruity flavors, medium tannin, and moderate acidity—this is one food-friendly variety that melds equally well with beef or pork barbecue as well as any sides you may be serving up. 

“For something hot off the smoker,  you’ll need a wine that can stand up to those unique flavors. I’m reaching for the 2017 Marked Parcels Yountville Ranch Malbec when it comes to smoked barbecue pork ribs and the grippy 2017 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for a simple salt-and-pepper seasoned ribeye steak. Summer is served!”  

Events Manager Dena Chiappulinni


Do you have a barbecue pairing you can’t go a summer without? We want to know about it! Don’t forget to share all your Markham meals and moments with us on Instagram and Facebook. Cheers and bon appetit!