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Food & Drink
Summer Wine Pairings for the Grill from Europe to California
2014-06-09 07:58:07
By Carole Dixon

We know you’ve got grilling on your mind this summer along with picnics by the beach and long road trips out of town. Here are some new wine finds that should pair perfectly with all your summer fun, even just lounging by the pool. But before you start popping corks, pick up a copy of Chef Ben Ford’s book “Taming the Feast’ which features not only grilling and roasting but step by step recipes and instruction for a smoking shed, baking barrel and cinder-block oven. Ford is known for his whole pig roasts at his Culver City eatery Ford’s Filling Station, but give the woodfired paella with shrimp, chorizo and rabbit meatballs a try – if that is too daunting you can also use small chicken legs and thigh pieces.

A few wines that will stand up to the myriad of flavors in Ford’s delicious paella, is something from the pinot noir range from MacMurray Ranch. They boast ‘a pinot for every palate’ from the Russian River Valley to the Central Coast. The Winemakers’ Block Selection 2011, also pairs well with a sundried tomatoe puree - which is never an easy feat, but the silky smooth tannins do not fight with the acid in the fruit. The Russian River Valley Reserve 2011, actually marries well with the distincitve spices of both Spanish and Indian food quite well. The smooth pomegranate and cherry notes of the wine hold up and don't get lost in the complex flavors of the food. The caramel and vanilla undertones to the 2012 Russian River Valley Chardonnay would be a great addition to Chef Ford’s bacon wrapped dates or deviled eggs with smoked trout and fresh dill.

Beaujolais is always the perfect light red during the warmer months and you should always have a bottle or two of Georges Duboeuf, Chateau Des Capitans, Julienas, 2011 on hand for a juicy beef Tenderloin dish with a hearty bell pepper sauce on the side.

We love rose for just about any occasion and Las Rocas hails from Calatayud, in the southeastern corner of Spain’s Aragon region, where they produce a unique varietal made from 30 to 50-year-old Grenache grapes makes the wine full bodied with a hint of spice and sweetly priced under $15.00.

Summer would not be complete without a bottle from one of our favorite Provence producers Caves d’Esclans – Sacha Lichine. The Les Clans 2012 has a subtle sharpness that blends well with creamy dishes and at close to $60, will be a welcome companion with haute cuisine.

For something a little different from your typical pink wine before dinner, try the Apothic Raspberry Rose - made with Apothic Rose from E. & J. GALLO WINERY in Modesto, with fresh lemon, raspberries and club soda with a charcutterie platter. Please find the recipe below.


  • 2 oz Apothic Rose 
  • 0.5 oz lemon juice 
  • 1 oz club soda 
  • Top with club soda (about 2 oz) 
  • 3 raspberries + mint sprigs, for garnish


  1. Combine all ingredients (except the club soda for topping) in a glass with ice. 
  2. Add the remaining club soda. 
  3. Top with raspberries and mint sprigs.

For a trio of whites under $20, we recommend the new kid on the block Columbia Valley Pinot Gris from Porter & Plot which is a great value and sourced from small lot vineyards around the globe. We loved the honey and vanilla undertones, try pairing with roasted red peppers and burrata.
Also under the ‘great find range’ The William Hill 2012 Estate North Coast Chardonnay is perfectly citrusy with a creamy mouth-feel and we’d like to drink this with grilled salmon. Try the Dancing Bull Savignon Blanc if you’re looking for a zesty or slightly tart finish along with pork ribs marinated a basil or cilantro mixture. These wines are known for being exceptionally ‘grill friendly.’