Skip to content

Column: Backyard barbecue wines

Three wine recommendations to enjoy while enjoying a barbecue meal.
Casual backyard wines
Casual backyard wines for the informal barbeque season.

As the days grow longer and the evenings grow warmer, most of us like to gather on the patio or deck, basking in the aromas of barbecued house specialties. With spice rubs and a profusion of sauces to fill the air, it’s no wonder we’re drawn to the barbecue like bees to honey.

But the grill serves up such a wide range of treasures that pairing them with wine can be seen either as a challenge or a golden opportunity to make the most of your bbq dishes and your wine!

The Backyard Vineyards 2018 Nosey Neighbour Red ($18.95; 87 points Very Good) is their house blend with 81% Merlot, and small amounts of Cab Franc, Syrah, and Cab Sauv. Winemaker Liam Berti has been leading the winemaking team for the past five vintages, sourcing premium fruit from the Fraser Valley and Okanagan.

This vintage was awarded a Silver Medal in the 2019 San Francisco International Wine Awards. It has an attractive transparent purple-ruby colour that gleams in the glass. Enjoy aromas of blackberry and boysenberry with plum and vanilla. The medium - light body has black and red fruit flavours that are juicy and enjoyable with moderate tannins to go with a barbecue meal.

I enjoyed the Nosey Neighbour red because it doesn’t require too much thought. The key to successful wine-food pairing for outdoor dining is simplicity. The wines should fit the food, but they should also fit the casual mood of the gathering.

Serve slightly chilled as pre-dinner sipper. Or pair with rosemary pork chops, hoisin-glazed pork chops with plum sauce, or pork and mango skewers with Vietnamese dipping sauce.

Next is the 2019 Backyard Vineyards Cabernet Franc ($30; 90 points Very Good). Produced from a selection of two vineyards in the South Okanagan, the Cab Franc spent 30 days macerating on its skins to extract maximum colour and flavour before undergoing malolactic fermentation in stainless steel.

As expected with the long maceration, this red displays a very dark ruby colour. Generous red and black fruit aromas with a sprinkle of earthiness and dried herbs diffuse from the glass. There are ripe flavours of raspberry, boysenberry and black cherry with hints of green peppers plus medium tannins and body, and good acidity for a red.

Because of the acidity, Cab Franc lends itself to food with tomato sauces like spaghetti and meatballs. And because of the herbal and vegetative characteristics of the wine, grilled chicken kebabs with green pepper would be a

splendid match. So would a barbecued tapenade-coated rib-eye accompanied by a mixed baby green salad with fresh basil, mint, tarragon, parsley, and chives.

We end with a Bordeaux blend, the Backyard Vineyards 2018 Cabernet Merlot ($30; 89 points Very Good). After crushing and fermentation, the red undergoes 12 months of barrel aging with some new oak, “This stunning Cabernet Merlot is one of my favourite ‘big’ wines,” declares Winemaker Liam Berti.

There’s a deep garnet colour that invites you to savour the aroma of cassis, cherries and plum with a gentle toasty essence, On the palate expect flavours of black currant with red berries, smooth medium tannins and a whiff of smoke in a medium-full body. It’s definitely a wine of character!

Enjoy with barbecued rosemary lamb chops and roasted potatoes, hamburgers, or smoked baby back ribs with cola sauce. You will discover that the fat and the proteins in the meat will soften the tannins to produce a smooth fusion of flavours.

In 45 minutes, Richmond residents can visit Backyard Vineyards in scenic Langley at 3033 232nd Street. Go online and Get 10 per cent off your first Pick Up order by entering the promo code at BYVCURBSIDE at checkout. There’s also free shipping on orders of six bottles or more. Enter BRINGMEWINE at checkout. Now go out on the patio and light them coals!