Dining with Dave… getting the backyard barbecue right with wine, beer and even mezcal!

Bracketed by Memorial Day and Labor Day, and with a little 4th of July in the center, summer is grilling season here in the United States.  That means it’s time to get your barbecue cleaned up and prepared for a good stretch of home grilling.

Unfortunately, if you are like most people, when it comes to matching those outdoor delights with a good wine or beer, you can often find yourself scared stiff as you consider all the options before you in your local market.

Fear no more! We asked Dave Miller’s Mexico team member and the wine know it all guy for the Premier Group, Ed Draves of Buffalo, New York for a quick primer in making your summer feast a success, at least when it comes to drinks.

DMX: Ed, thanks for taking a few moments to help us out on this.  So, we want to have some folks over for a little summer entertaining and we need some help making sure we’ve got the right wine on the table.  If I’m putting together the classic backyard BBQ, you know, burgers, hot dogs and potato salad, what should I pair with that?

Ed Draves: Dave, with the classic burger cookout, a nice Rhone wine from France, think Syrah/Grenache, is perfect. You can usually find really nice ones in the $10 range.  If you are thinking beer, look for a pale ale and if you can find it, the Live Pale Ale from Southern Tier Brewing Company would be a big winner.

DMX: Okay, but what about some of the other options.  What if I want to grill some chicken, do a little cedar plank salmon or even a light summer fruit or pasta salad?

Ed: All these scream for Riesling, sweet or dry depending on taste but always cooler climate with ample acidity.  There are lots of great local examples for people living in Idaho, Michigan, NY, Ohio, and Washington. The German examples (Kabinett level) are also fantastic.  The lemon you’d put with the Salmon has me really exited to match with a Riesling, something from the slate soil of the Moselle region.

Also, for the salmon or the salads, you could try an unoaked Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.  If you really want a red wine, try a Pinot Noir, it goes great with both salmon and chicken and is a nice light style wine.

DMX: Okay Ed, that’s the light stuff, but sometimes you need to turn up the heat and throw a couple of T Bones on the grill. What works with that or a big juicy Porterhouse?

Ed: That’s when you reach for a nice rich Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  Deep red and full-bodied.

DMX: Thanks Ed for your help on this. Any further thoughts?

Ed: Dave, just that if you are doing summer and drinks, why not try something edgy and outside the box?  Leave the vodka and rum in the cabinet and go for some premium Wahaka Joven Espadin straight out of the freezer, ice cold and undiluted.  It’s a great alternative if you are looking for something different in the spirits category.

So there you have it, our summer guide to putting your best foot forward when it comes to the backyard barbecue and drinks.

Again, our thanks go out to both Ed Draves and also Premier Group Vice President Jon Notarius for their help and input. A version of this interview was previously published by our friends at the MultiCulturalCookingNetwork.

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