Al Fresco Sips from Common Vines

Common Vines

With the Fourth of July nigh on the horizon, it’s time to start planning your menu for the holiday and summery weekends to come – and that means wines, too. But what to pair with your picnic faves or backyard bbq go-tos? The folks from Common Vines, a wine store/wine bar in Downtown Crossing, have suggestions for everything from seafood to ribs for all your al fresco cooking and dining (and drinking) needs. See what they have to say below then plan a pit stop at their shop (located at 100 Summer Street) to stock up before you hit the road.

Generally speaking, are there things that you’re looking for when pairing wines with grilled foods?

Absolutely! You always want to take into consideration the smokey quality that is added to the flavor profile, which is super important to pairing. Also, different vegetables and proteins call for different wines.

If we really want to go down the bbq rabbit hole…is there something you’d recommend for more vinegar-based bbq sauces? And for the flip side: vegetarians. How about something to accompany a menu bursting with grilled seasonal veggies?

Riesling is incredibly versatile and a dry riesling should work well here. Also a Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre would incorporate some of the vegetal tones.

What about barbecue? Say, like ribs or chicken. Are there wines that stand up particularly well to the traditional sweet and tangy bbq?

There are so many options here! We gravitate towards fuller whites – for more traditional something like chardonnay, or for more “discovery” try something like Spanish Godello. For reds, a light red like Pinot Noir or Gamay for leaner proteins like chicken so they don’t overpower the flavor and the acidity helps cut the fat. For ribs, you need something a little fuller with a bit of fruit like a Cabernet Franc, Blaufrankisch or Zinfandel.

What about grilled fish? Do you have thoughts on what compliments light delicate flavors of grilled seafood like shrimp or swordfish or even more flavorful fish like salmon or bluefish?

A great way to go here is rose! Provence roses are light, crisp, and compliment the delicate flavors of shrimp or other light seafood dishes. Full-flavored fish require something with more body like light bodied red or fuller style rose (think Italian!).

How about casual fare? For folks who are keeping it simple with burgers and dogs, is there a versatile bottle that covers all the bases for a low key backyard get together?

So many! We love carignan and have a few carignan that are juicy and fruit driven that would be perfectly compliment a juicy burger – for New World, the Lioco Carignan Sativa from Mendicino, or from Old World, the Maxine Magnon La Demarrante carignan blend. Or a new favorite – Stolpman Love You Bunches- is a perfect compliment to any casual BBQ. Best served chilled, it provides the juicy red fruit and brightness that is versatile with a bunch of BBQ classics.

Let’s talk steak. For all the carnivores out there: what would you pour alongside a hot-off-the-grill (but also appropriately rested) steak?

Steak always calls for something bigger. A Bordeaux blend or Cabernet Sauvignon with its structure and body would work well. Or for a unique pairing for any adventurous wine consumer, something like Clos Cibonne Tibouren –  a Provence red that is a blend of a unique varietal Tibouren with some Syrah, its body, tannin, spice tones would stand up to the steak while also complementing the seasoning.

And now for dessert. S’mores are a campfire favorite, certainly. Any picks to pair with some charred marshmallow, melted chocolate, graham cracker-y goodness?

 We love dessert! Port is a classic pairing with chocolate, but we think a nice Brachetto – a delicate, sweet, fruit driven, sparkling red from Italy- would liven up the dish.

Last one! There are lots of canned wines popping up on the market, which can be handy for drinking-out-of-doors. Are there ones that you’ve been impressed by?

One of our favorite producers, Broc Cellars, makes a great rose called Love. We have also enjoyed Bridge Lane Sauvignon Blanc and Scribe Pinot Noir Rose.

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