On a quick Google search of “Memorial Day food recipes,” you will soon find yourself in an endless hole of sweet, spicy, and smokey barbeque recipes paired with crisp, cold beers. While we fully endorse delicious from-the-grill meats and refreshing IPAs on this beloved holiday, we also want you to consider expanding your palate and pairing options to all the possibilities and flavors wine can deliver.
When pairing your Memorial Day food and wine choices, there are a few essential tips to follow.
- Red wine pairs best with red meat
- White wine pairs best with fish or chicken
- Sparkling wine and Rosé create contrast and balance in flavor
With those tips in mind, these are our top four food and wine pairings for Memorial Day weekend.
Marbled Ribeye and Malbec
Any steak lovers out there? If anyone in your family loves red meat, what better way to eat it than a perfectly marbled ribeye done medium rare on the grill?
The best wine to stand up to that strong, beefy mouthfeel is a dark fruit-forward malbec with a smoky finish. Malbec is an excellent alternative to a higher-priced cabernet or syrah, and with a medium tannin level, it won’t overpower the steak. This wine is best served slightly cool, so consider leaving it in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving up the ribeyes.
Our recommendation: Susana Balbo Nosotros Single Vineyard Nomade Malbec 2011
Grilled Pork Chops and New World Pinot Noir
There are many different “pork chops,” but for your cookout, we recommend stopping by your local butcher and requesting thick bone-in rib chops. Bone-in will provide a lot of flavor, and thicker cuts of meat mean they are less likely to overcook on the grill. Want to impart more flavor to your pork? Consider bringing or marinating them the night before.
Pinot noirs found outside of Burgundy are considered “New World.” They have a riper, fruitier, and less acidic taste with a higher alcohol content compared to their old-world counterparts. Their light fruit-forward flavor with a long finish will complement the more tame mouthfeel of the pork. The ideal temperature to serve this bottle is 55 degrees, so consider cooling it in the refrigerator earlier in the day.
Our recommendation: Peter Michael Pinot Noir Ma Danseuse 2014
BBQ Chicken and Chardonnay
It’s not Memorial Day without barbeque chicken. Whether breasts, thighs, or drumsticks, smokey grilled chicken slathered in a sticky, sweet homemade barbeque sauce is always a crowd-pleaser. Looking for an incredible recipe? This one from Bon Appetit, developed by Chris Morocco, is a winner.
In the top wine pairing tips we mentioned earlier, chicken stands up well when paired with white wine. Chardonnay is the perfect wine to serve alongside a smoky chicken thigh as it’s bold, full-bodied fruit flavor can complement the sweet and savory meat. Chardonnay is best served cold, so pop the bottle in the refrigerator at least an hour before you plan to serve the chicken.
Our recommendation: 2016 Vina Garces Silva Amayna Chardonnay
Charcuterie and Rosé
It is certainly possible that a vegetarian will be dining with you at your cookout. If that’s the case, we suggest an incredible assortment of veggies and cheeses to create a charcuterie board.
Charcuterie has been widely popular for the last few years, and it’s easy to understand why. There are endless possibilities on how you create this board, whether you focus on region-specific cheeses, crackers, and accouterments or offer a little something to accommodate everyone’s diets, the choice is yours.
If you do plan to serve a variety of cheeses, consider serving Rosé wine. You can round out the fatty salami, olives, and cheese with a sparkling and acidic palate cleanser like Rosé. You may want to buy two bottles of this wine, as it will quickly disappear from your guest’s glasses.
Our recommendation: Margerum Riviera Rose 2017
If you are concerned about serving four different wines for only a few people on Memorial Day, remember to use your Coravin System. Appease all of your guests with the gift of endless wine possibilities, and ensure unconsumed wine stays fresh in the bottle without ever popping the cork. If you opt for a wine with a screw cap, you can utilize the Coravin Screw Caps to protect your unfinished wines for up to three months-perfect for the next cookout you host.
No matter what food and wine pairing you choose, it will be an exceptional day. Whether you are surrounded by your family or friends or remembering someone special, be sure to cheers and toast to the good times ahead.
Did you try one of these wine pairings? Let us know by tagging @Coravin on social media!