Whether you use charcoal, wood, electric, propane — or even dig a hole in your back yard to make an old-fashioned wood-fired grill — Memorial Day weekend is a time for us to roast, toast, char, and put grill marks on our food.
When it comes to knowing what wine to drink, here are some traditional, edgy, and off-the-wall pairing suggestions. But remember — in the end, wine and food pairing is a matter of personal preference, so try your wines in advance before you put them on the table.
The dish: Marinated portobellos
Traditional: An earthy, somewhat spicy, lighter red wine such as a Côtes du Rhône.
Edgier: A Cabernet Franc from the East Coast with pencil-lead notes.
More off-the-wall: A Tannat from Uruguay, such as Pueblo del Sol, with its blend of mellow fruit and spicy bitters finish.
The dish: Chicken with tangy BBQ sauce
Traditional: Merlot-based rosé from California's Monterey County.
Edgier: Search out a citrus-accented rosé made from Sangiovese grapes, perhaps one from Emilia-Romagna.
More off-the-wall: And while we're in Emilia-Romagna, let's go really radical with a sparkling Lambrusco, the fruity-but-fresh every-night wine in many homes in the region.
The dish: Strip steak
Traditional: Nothing goes better with steak than a Bordeaux red, so try a less-expensive but sturdy one labelel Bordeaux Superieur or Côtes de Bordeaux.
Edgier: Surprisingly, Barbera d'Asti is seldom mentioned as a steak wine, but it makes an excellent one.
More off-the-wall: A sturdy, lightly spicy Kadarka from the south of Hungary.