Even though Memorial Day weekend is almost a month ahead of the astronomical beginning of summer this is the big kickoff weekend for the most of us (well, here in my part of the world anyway). This is the time in the wine world when we shift from some of the heavy reds to cool crisp whites, rosés, and yes, sangrias! (goes well with anything outdoors). A lot of BBQ’ed meats tend to have a sweetness due to the sauces we use and so here are some wines that go well with some of the most popular grilled meats, seafood, and salads.
Burgers – do well with Merlot, Shiraz, Zinfandel, and for the hearty, Cabernet Sauvignon
Ribs – Zinfandel, Shiraz, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Barbera, Barbaresco
Steak – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or any red you like
Chicken – White Zinfandel (if you must), Chardonnay (depending on how the chicken is prepared), Rosé
Sausage – Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Sangiovese, Merlot, Zinfandel, Shiraz, Rosé
Fish – Chardonnay, Pinot Gris/Grigio, Pinot Noir, Rosé
Salad (with vinegar based dressings) – unoaked Chardonnay, Pinot Gris/Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Fume Blanc, Orvieto,
Me, I find it hard to drink those big reds if I’m out in the heat so I start to think of a big fruity pitcher of Sangria. Below are two recipes, one very simple and one with a little more substance to it. There are many out there. For the basic one I have to say this is where I often use the cheapest jug wine out there – Carlo Rossi. You can go a little more highbrow but I’m telling you this is a crowd pleaser and no one gives a thought to the base wine. This is what Carlo Rossi exists for. Try them out and let me know which one you prefer.
- one bottle red wine
- a shot (or two) of brandy or other liquor
- juice of one lime or lemon
- assorted chopped fruit
The fruit you choose will depend on your tastes, but the idea is to use things that will soak up the alcohol and give their own juices to the mixture. Strawberries, grapes, peaches, oranges, kiwi, mango and melon are all good choices.
Mix all the ingredients together and chill. If you can leave this overnight, that would be great, but even a few hours to chill the whole thing down and get the flavors mixed together will be helpful.
To serve, pour some of the sangria and put some pieces of fruit in the glass.
**This can also be made as white wine sangria! Choose a fruity white such as Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc or unoaked Chardonnay and add rum or brandy, slices of lemon, lime and orange and top off with seltzer or sprite!
RED, WHITE AND BLUE SANGRIA
Recipe from Kim Haasarud’s “101 Sangrias and Pitcher Drinks,” (Wiley, 2008)
1 bottle dry white wine
1/2 cup triple sec
1/4 cup citrus- or berry-flavored vodka
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup simple syrup*
3/4 cup blueberries
3/4 cup hulled and sliced strawberries
3/4 cup raspberries
1/2 cup pineapple chunks
Combine all ingredients in a large glass punch bowl or pitcher and stir well. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours. Serve over ice.
To make simple syrup (the sweetener used in many sangria recipes), combine 1 cup water with 1 cup sugar in a small saucepan, then heat until the sugar is dissolved. Cool completely before using.
Have Happy, Healthy, and Safe Memorial Day Weekend.
And let’s remember why we celebrate this weekend, and give a thought to those who have died in service to our country. Fly your flag, heat up the grill, raise a glass, and salute our service men and women out loud in front of your friends and family!