Experts Choose the Ultimate Wines for Late Summer Burgers, Dogs, and Barbecue

35 top sommeliers and other restaurant wine specialists from 16 cities share their favorite wines for outdoor drinking


Raise the classiness of your outdoor cooking get-togethers with wine pairings that prove just as satisfying as any beer or cocktail pairing around.

Don't look now, but summer is winding down. You can almost see Labor Day through the thermal waves of August. We've still got a few good weeks left, though, and there are still plenty of long, light evenings left for outdoor cooking — charred rare steak, dogs and burgers on the grill, long-smoked ribs or brisket — foods you might eat all year long but that have a special flavor when prepared over charcoal (or propane if you must) while the weather's warm.

The traditional beverages for such fare include beer, iced tea, lemonade, and did we mention beer? But wine has a place on the cookout table, too. The challenge is deciding which bottles will go best with the simple, full-flavored food you'll be cooking and eating outdoors. 

The Ultimate Summer Wine Pairings (Slideshow)

For suggestions, we reached out to the men and women who match wine and food for a living — sommeliers, wine buyers, and wine-savvy proprietors at some of the nation's best restaurants. Their recommendations cover a lot of ground: crisp, cooling whites; hearty, earthy reds; an array of sparkling wines; and, of course, rosé. One particular rosé, in fact — a Txakoli from Spain's Basque Country — was favored by several of our respondents.

Some of our experts offered detailed tasting notes and specific vintages while others proffered more general advice. The results, though, add up to a definitive guide to the many possibilities of great wine drinking with the last cookouts of the season.

Click here for the ultimate summer wine pairings.

Learn more about the world of wine.

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