Gwendolyn Osborn on How to Serve Wine at Your Summer BBQ

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This is a guest post from Gwendolyn Osborn, the Director of Education and Content and resident wine expert for Wine.com. She is enthusiastic, and fun…and she looks to help others become enthusiastic about wine while having fun. Gwendolyn comes with a Diploma in Wine & Spirits from the London-based WSET, let me tell you, this is no easy diploma to get. For Gwendolin,  this is by no means an end to her studies. For her, wine knowledge is a never-ending pursuit; the more you know, the more you learn you don’t know and the more you want to taste!

At summer BBQs and picnics, we’re outdoors with big groups of people and often reach for the beer. Wine doesn’t always come to mind for these gatherings, but maybe it should. Just look at all the foods at outdoor summer parties – grilled chicken, ribs, hamburgers, colorful salads. These flavors are screaming for wine (BBQ-friendly wine, that is!).

Here are a few of my favorite tips and tricks for excellent wine sipping at your
summer BBQ.

Look for wines that still taste good in a plastic cup – Think big aromatics, juicy fruit and refreshing acidity. While I love pretty tulip shaped glassware (the shape concentrates the fragrances to your nose!), that’s not always possible at these outdoor gatherings. You may have to sip from plastic cups, which dissipates those lovely aromas. Luckily, intense and aromatic wines can overcome this problem. And in the summer heat, you’ll need something juicy with nice, crisp acidity. So pour away into those plastic cups and enjoy the outdoors glass free.

For whites I recommend the Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontes, or a Sauvignon Blanc like Veramonte or Kim Crawford. Yalumba Organic Shiraz is a juicy and spicy red wine, with lots of fruit and a great freshness to it. And of course, rosé! My current favorite is the Chateau d’Esclans Whispering Angel Rose 2011.

Pack screw cap wines – When you’re packing for a picnic, there’s a lot to remember. Leave the corkscrew behind and stick with screw cap wines. Most quality wine regions utilize screw caps for their early-drinking wines, so there is a wide variety to choose from. It’s easy, fast, and you don’t even have to wipe the sauce off your hands.

Chill wines in advance – This time of year it’s probably really hot outside, so you’ll find yourself wanting your wine nice and cold. But if you forget to put your bottles in the fridge earlier that day, don’t panic! One of the most effective methods is to fill a bucket with ice and some water and submerge the bottle for 10-20 minutes. At my house, we always keep an empty wine bottle in the freezer and pour just enough wine for a couple glasses into it (smaller amounts at a time help it chill faster). This works well if you’re in a pinch and you don’t own an ice bucket.

Go for a reasonable price – This is my last requirement for summer BBQ wine. Keep your spending in check – your kid may come running by and spill your wine out of that plastic cup anyway!

Happy summer sipping!

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Blanca Valbuena
I am one of the co-founders of FriendsEAT. Obviously, I love to eat. Other passions include A Song of Ice and Fire, Shakespeare, Dostoyevski, and Aldous Huxley.
Blanca Valbuena
Blanca Valbuena

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