Best Wines for Weekend Grilling
The dish: Salmon and tuna steaks
Traditional: Try an oaky Napa Valley Chardonnay if you are an only-white-wine-with-fish drinker.
Edgier: Lighter Pinot Noirs have become quite a popular choice to serve with heavier fish, but have you tried one of the medium-bodied Pinots from the middle Loire area around Sancerre?
More off-the-wall: A Pinotage from South Africa, the cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault with good acidity to cut the fattiness of the fish — just be sure to get a recommendation from your wine merchant as the quality varies widely.
The dish: White fish and shellfish
Traditional: I love Muscadet from the lower Loire Valley with shellfish, and it goes equally well with a grilled sole or similar fish.
Edgier: A crisp, but fruity Riesling from Australia's Clare Valley such as Grosset or Pikes — its slate minerality will balance the char.
More off-the-wall: A lightly herbal white Vermouth on the rocks (a Virgin Martini).
The dish: Hot dogs and Italian sausages
Traditional: A Merlot from Monterey County with its round fruitiness
Edgier: A blend of Rhône-style grapes from Paso Robles.
More off-the-wall: A tangy, spicy red from the south of France, such as Chapoutier Bila-Haut Côtes de Roussillon Villages.
The dish: Vegetables in oil
Traditional: A Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma County, which can match a range of veggies with its combination of fruit and acidity.
Edgier pairing: A lovely, medium-dry sparkling Vouvray made from the lightly vegetal Chenin Blanc.
More off-the-wall: A light red from Slovenia, such as the Pullus Modri Pinot, with its Beaujolais-like fruit-and-herbs flavors.