3 Perfect Food and Wine Pairings for Labor Day

Timeless pairings for your end-of-summer barbecue

Labor Day weekend conjures up memories of cool summer nights, back-to-school prep, and the season’s end of mosquito bites. This year, why not enjoy three foolproof food and wine pairings that are less than $30? Enjoy this holiday weekend. Cheers!

Grilled, Teriyaki, or Barbecue Chicken

Sometimes you just want to keep it really simple food-wise (as when grilling for a group). Enter plain, grilled chicken, chicken teriyaki, or chicken with some tasty barbecue sauce. We recommend keeping it equally "all American" with a classic Carneros chardonnay

• Daily Sip Pick: CLOS DU VAL Chardonnay 2008 (Carneros, Calif.) $26; find it here. This full-bodied, lush, creamy chardonnay will pair perfectly with a juicy, succulent grilled chicken breast. A glass of two of wine and a plate or two of food, let alone a crisp, early fall night — talk about a great way to send off summer!

Good, Old-Fashioned Hamburger

Since the best burgers are juicy and tasty, whether adorned in lettuce, tomato, onion, and cheese or something more unique, they make the perfect pairing for an all American "claret" (bordeaux blend).

• Daily Sip Pick: CHAPPELLET Mountain Cuvee 2008 (Napa Valley, Calif.) $25; find it here. Blackberry and black cherry flavors dominate this delicious Napa Valley bordeaux blend. Almost equal parts cabernet sauvignon and merlot, the wine has a hint of smokiness that makes it a perfect pairing for grilled items.

Grilled Steak

If you’re going to splurge on your Labor Day barbecue by serving friends and family grilled steak, you might as well go all-out with some delicious wine, too. And there’s nothing more American than our great nation’s iconic zinfandel.

• Daily Sip Pick: CHATEAU MONTELENA Estate Zinfandel 2008 (Napa Valley, Calif.) $28; find it here. The opposite of the super raisiny, high-alcohol zinfandels, Montelena’s is balanced, thus totally food-friendly. Ripe blackberry flavors and balanced by a wide array of spices (nutmeg, pepper), culminating in a powerful yet restrained finish. Zinfandel’s lush and often natural spice character make it a perfect pairing for grass-fed steak — however prepared.

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