For many, Labor Day is summer’s “last hoorah.” Why not use it as an excuse for one final chance to gather friends and family to enjoy food, drinks and (hopefully) nice weather before getting back into fall routines? Labor Day is also one of the last times to make use of the outdoor grill before it gets stored away for fall and winter. Labor Day and grilling go hand in hand for many. For wine lovers like me that have found themselves in the position of choosing the food and drink menu for their Labor Day event, many wonder where to start with their menu plan. My response is: start with the wine! You can find food to pair with any wine. If the wine selection means a lot to you and is a special and important piece of your Labor Day spread, choose your wine and let that be the inspiration, then let the grilling choices follow. This is right in line with my general response when asked for wine recommendations, which is typically “drink what you like!” Listed below are different wine varietals along with some complementary grilling options and links to recipes.
Calling all fans of savory, herby-ness! Herby wines go with herby meals. Cue my bestie, Sauvignon Blanc! You could keep it very basic and pair a Sauvignon Blanc with any of your favorite grilled chicken recipes. Sauvignon Blanc pairs best with grilled chicken that’s been seasoned with a savory marinade, rub or seasoning salt rather than a sweet sauce, such as BBQ. Any go-to recipe with lemon, garlic, balsamic or rosemary would be great!
Pairing suggestion: 90 Plus Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Lot 2 & Grilled Chicken With Balsamic Herb Marinade
This Sauvignon Blanc is fermented in stainless steel, is from Marlborough, New Zealand and is under $12. Need I say more?
Link to Recipe:
Ah, Rosé. That delightful option when you’re leaning towards red over white, but it’s just too HOT to really commit to red. A light bodied, acidic and refreshing Rosé goes really well with salmon or shrimp – think pink meat, pink wine! Of course, there are a million different ways to prepare salmon and shrimp. My recipe choice below is for a smoked, grilled salmon. The saltiness of the smoked salmon is a mouthwatering pairing to the acidic, refreshing Rosé. Don’t forget to chill that Rosé, and send me an invite!
Pairing Suggestion: M. Lawrence Sex & Quick-Smoked Grilled Salmon
Lawrence “Sex” is a dryer, sparkling Rosé by one of my favorite Michigan winemakers. It is light-bodied and floral with a lingering bubbly/fizzy finish. Learn more about this Rosé (and the interesting name) here.
Link to Recipe:
Pinot Noir is my favorite red wine to drink in the summer. If you are a “pinoteer” like me, there are many great grilling options to pair with it. When I think of Pinot Noir, I think “rustic,” so I like to pair it with food that is in the rustic category as well. Pinot Noir goes really well with pork. Both can be slightly sweet but also “rustic” or smokey.
Pairing Suggestion: Dreaming Tree 2016 Pinot Noir & Grilled Pork Chop with Whole Grain Dijon Sauce
I liked this Pinot Noir. And THEN I found out that Dave Matthews had a part in it’s creation, then I REALLLLLY liked it. Hashtag basic. The most notable part about this Pinot Noir to me is how smooth it is. It’s also earthy with flavorful dark fruit notes. YAAASSS!
Link to recipe:
If you’re a member of the oaky Chardonnay club, some great grilling options to consider are grilled vegetables, burgers or rich fish. Too much oak can overpower any food, but a lightly oaked Chardonnay can be a great compliment to savory vegetables or meat.
Pairing Suggestion: 2016 Butternut Chardonnay & Grilled Portobello Burger
A quintessential, lightly oaked, American chardonnay called “Butternut.” The name itself just lures the chardonnay fans right in! Pair it with this Grilled Portobello Burger with pesto to leave your taste buds dancing with joy.
Link to recipe:
A tip to REALLY be a grilling and wine serving pro: while your guests are waiting for your masterpiece dish to be grilled to perfection, keep them happy with a “cheese tease” (I made that up...I’m weird, moving on…) A cheese board appetizer or charcuterie plate would be the perfect starter. Check out Home Euphoria’s bamboo cheese board! Shop here.
Fire up the grill, pop that cork and toast to summer’s end! Happy Labor Day, Happy Grilling and CHEERS!