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For many of us the best thing about summer is cooking on the grill. It takes us out of the kitchen and onto the deck, creating a casual atmosphere. Our selection of wines also goes casual, complementing the flavors of the grill.

Matching wines to grilled food is relatively simple. There is usually a protein with a rub, sauce, spice or marinade as the main seasoning. To compete with the smoky, bold flavor of the grill most of these seasonings are robust. Think about full-bodied wines able to contend with the strong flavors, such as merlot, cabernet sauvignon, malbec, shiraz, carmenere or zinfandel. If your grilled items are light on seasoning or are vegetarian, consider chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio for ideal accompaniments.

Another plus for summer grilling is you won’t need to splurge. Because the wines will likely be competing with smoke from the grill and the scent of much-needed mosquito repellent, less complex wines work best. Check out regions known for bargains like Chile, Argentina, California and Australia.


  • 2007 Tamas Double Decker Red, California (about $9 retail)
  • 2008 Santa Rita Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile (about $13 retail)
  • 2007 Gnarly Head Cellars Zinfandel, California (about $14 retail)
  • 2007 Ventisquero Carmenere, Chile (about $13 retail)
  • 2008 Lindemans Bin 45 Cabernet Sauvignon, Australia (about $10 retail)
  • 2009 Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc, California (about $12 retail)
  • 2007 La Playa Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile (about $11 retail)
  • 2008 Wyndham Estate Bin 555 Shiraz, Australia (about $15 retail)