BBQ Wine Pairing Guide
Take your next backyard get-together to gastronomic heights with our delicious barbeque and wine pairing guide. Enjoy beautiful recipes for meats, poultry and seafood, along with grilled vegetables and spectacular salads – all with suggested wine pairings.
Shop Best Australian Wine
What Wines Pair With Bbq Meat?
Richer and fuller bodied reds such as Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Sangiovese and Tempranillo are ideal pairings for barbequed red meats. They are spicy, tannic and robust and pair particularly well, especially if the meat is a touch fatty as the wine will provide balance – one won’t overpower the other.
Wines That Pair With BBQ Beef
Shiraz is a great pairing with beef. Its fruit power and tannin backbone help to match the richness of the beef.
Grenache blends are a natural match with barbeque food. The combination of spice and ripe fruits matches the richness of the marinade and the smoke notes of the grill.
Pair this rich beef dish with a blend of Shiraz and Cabernet. The Shiraz brings fruit intensity to match that of the dish, while the Cabernet tannins help to offset the fat of the brisket.
Wines That Pair With BBQ Pork
This dish has a real Mediterranean feel with the herbs, fennel and garlic playing a major role. Reach for a dry savoury Rosé that will not clash with the strong flavours.
A sweetly-fruited Aussie Pinot Noir is the perfect wine pairing with this sticky pork recipe.
Meats don’t always call for red wines. Aromatic whites like Riesling are a great match with flavour-filled pork dishes such as this. When combined with Asian flavours, alternative whites, Grüner Veltliner or Gewürztraminer are also glorious.
Wines That Pair With BBQ Lamb
While Cabernet Sauvignon is the classic and much-loved match for Aussie lamb, sauces, marinades and cooking methods can also influence your choice of wine. Add a Tempranillo or Merlot to change things up a little.
Tempranillo is a great choice for this dish. The fruit intensity helps to match the flavour of sauces and the tannins in the wine help to offset the fatty nature of the lamb.
Cabernet Sauvignon and lamb are made for one another. The tannins in the wine help to offset the fatty nature of the lamb. The herbaceous elements of Cabernet and the rosemary rub are a natural combination.
Merlot with its bounty of fruit and fine polished tannins is the perfect variety to pair with this juicy burger.
What Wines Pair With BBQ Poultry?
Fuller and textural white varieties such Chardonnay, Verdelho, Arneis, Fiano and Pinot G pair well with flavoursome poultry dishes with neither overpowering the other. Also, consider the sauce, herbs and spices, and marinades – aromatic whites love Asian flavours, and don’t forget lighter reds like Pinot Noir or Gamay.
Wines That Pair With BBQ Chicken
This is a complex dish with loads of aromatics plus the smoke from the grill. Pair this with an equally aromatic variety such as Gewürztraminer or Viognier.
Chicken can pair with both red and white wines, but given this dish has a spice element to it, a white wine like Pinot Gris, that has lower acidity, won’t clash with the spices.
Miso is full of delicious umami characters and it also helps to add an extra weight of flavour. Go for a lighter red such as Gamay or Pinot Noir – both varieties are full of savoury characters themselves.
The key to pairing wine with this dish is take note of the punchy Aji sauce. It’s a complex amalgam of spice and aromatics. Pair with a juicy and fruit driven blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.
Wines That Pair With BBQ Duck
The timeless match of Pinot Noir and duck will not let you down with either of the following recipes.
What Wines Pair With BBQ Seafood?
The fantastic range of seafood we have access to in Australia means we also get to enjoy it with a wide range of wine varietals and styles. Light and aromatic whites such as Sauvignon Blanc and blends, Semillon, Riesling, Pinot G and Vermentino won’t overpower delicate seafood. Richer dishes like lobster, however, are best paired with richer whites like Chardonnay.
Wines That Pair With Lobster And Marron
When you’re after an easy to prepare, but impressive and quite luxurious seafood dish – this is it. The rich flavours call for a white wine that is equally as rich and powerful. Chardonnay and lobster are a classic match for a reason, so go with the proven.
Marron is a rich flavoured shellfish and it needs a wine with equal flavour intensity. The garlic and herb butter also add an extra element and one that should have you reaching for an oaked Sauvignon Blanc or Semillon.
Wines That Pair With Bbq Prawns
Australia’s wonderfully sweet and fresh prawns are national heroes to savour any season. Enjoy them natural and unadorned with Sparkling, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. When they are cooked with Asian-style ingredients and flavours, Grüner Veltliner or Gewürztraminer are simply gorgeous, or when combined with sauces and meat flavours, a chilled Rosé can be a great choice.
Super quick to prepare and cook, this prawn dish will become a firm favourite. Make sure you pop a Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Riesling, Pinot G or Vermentino in the fridge in advance.
With the Mediterranean flavours of the prosciutto and rocket aioli in this dish, Rosé is a natural wine match.
An Albarino, Rosé or lighter-bodied red are ideal matches with the Mediterranean flavours of oregano and olive oil.
Wines That Pair With BBQ Fish
Light and aromatic whites such as Sauvignon Blanc and blends, Semillon, Riesling, Pinot G and Vermentino won’t overpower delicate fish. Richer and oily fish like salmon and tuna are best paired with Chardonnay, and even Pinot Noir.
Go for white wines with some natural acidity like Semillon, Pinot Grigio, Vermentino or Fiano.
While salmon is a richer fish, this dish incorporates a lot of salty, spicy and aromatic Asian flavours and ingredients, so Pinot Grigio, Vermentino, Fiano, Albarino or a fresh unoaked modern Australian Chardonnay are all good pairings.
Wines That Pair With BBQ Octopus Or Squid
When it comes to pairing wine with barbequed octopus, squid or cuttlefish, the main thing to consider is the flavours, herbs and spices they are being cooked with.
For Thai and Vietnamese flavours, go for aromatic and medium-weight whites, while Mediterranean ingredients like tomato, olive oil, olives, chorizo and capsicum can carry a Vermentino, Rosé or a lighter-bodied red.
Sauvignon Blanc Semillon is a delicious partner for this ocean-inspired dish. Its crisp citrus characters contrast with the smokey char-grilled octopus and sweet flavours of the roasted capsicum, while the tropical notes complement the spices of the chorizo.
There’s a reason Pinot G is paired with a range of Italian food: it’s so versatile and extends from light and crisp to the richer Gris style. Grigio with lovely fruit depth, crisp acidity and almost creamy mouth-feel have the zesty balance to pair with the range of fresh flavours and textures in this octopus salad.
Vermentino is a great white wine match for this cuttlefish dish, while for red wine lovers, try a lighter-bodied red like Tempranillo.
What Wines Pair With BBQ Vegetables?
The barbeque is not exclusively the domain of meat eaters. Vegetables also lend themselves to this style of cooking which brings out their earthy richness and textural crunch. When pairing barbeque vegetables with wine, take the lead from the country of origin, the flavours and the textures. Light to medium weight and savoury reds such as Merlot, Pinot Noir, Nero d’Avola and Grenache are a good choice, while whites including Sauvignon Blanc or a Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blend have herbaceous notes that pair well with green vegetables, especially asparagus.
These fresh and vibrant vegetable flavours are enhanced by the flavour of the grill. An oaked Sauvignon Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blend has similar herbaceous notes and the extra weight of barrel fermentation.
Pair this delicious peach dish with a Fiano. The southern Italian variety has similar white peach notes with the extra weight and texture needed to match the extra flavour the grill imparts.
Eggplant and olives are full of umami and savoury notes. Pair this dish with a red variety such as Sangiovese that has an equal amount of savouriness.
What Wines Pair With Bbq Salads?
Barbequing fruit brings out their natural sugars so adds a little sweetness however, you also need to consider what other flavours are being incorporated into each salad dish.
Sweet, salty and nutty – this dish has a lot going on. Don’t try to find a wine that will match all of the elements, rather look for a dry and understated, but fresh variety. Pinot Grigio would be perfect.
Blue cheese has a strong flavour and one that is difficult to match. Look to a blend of three Rhône Valley white varieties, Viognier, Marsanne and Rousanne, for wine with the body to match the blue cheese dressing.
BBQ + Wine Pairings At A Glance
BEEF – Shiraz, Mataro/Mourvèdre
LAMB – Cabernet, Tempranillo, Merlot, Malbec
PORK – Riesling, Grüner Veltliner, Gewürztraminer, Roussanne, Viognier, Rosé, Pinot Noir, Dolcetto.
CHICKEN – Chardonnay, Roussanne, Verdelho, Viognier, Marsanne, Pinot G, Arneis and Fiano
DUCK – Pinot Noir, Rosé
LOBSTER/MARRON – Chardonnay, Roussanne, Verdelho, Viognier, Marsanne
PRAWNS – Sparkling White, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Grüner Veltliner, Gewürztraminer or Rosé.
OCTOPUS/SQUID – Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Grüner Veltliner, Gewürztraminer, Pinot G, Vermentino, Rosé, Grenache or Tempranillo.
FISH – Chardonnay, Semillon, Riesling, Vermentino, Pinot Noir, Grenache
VEGETABLES – Rosé, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Nero D’Avola
SALADS – Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé
Other Considerations When Pairing Wine
It is very important to consider the marinade or rub used in a recipe when deciding on a wine match. A lot of marinade and rubs are made with spice and vinegars, which can be hard to match with wine. As a general rule, match the sweeter, richer marinades you find with beef with richer, more tannic red wines. The spicy rubs work well with red wines with soft tannin such as Shiraz, Pinot and Grenache.
The cooking method will also have an influence on how much flavour is added to the dish. Grilling over a flame will add a heavier smoke and char flavour – this will generally mean you need a richer red or white. Slow cooking like rotisserie means you get a gentle smoke character rather than the influence of char marks. Food cooked this way can work well with lighter wines.
Want To Learn More?
For more great food and wine combinations, be sure to check out our dedicated Food and Wine Pairing pages.