Grilling season kicks off this Memorial Day weekend and we’ve been in the backyard testing out some of the great new sauces and rubs that are available on We Olive store shelves*. We’ve also been thinking about what to drink, as we tend to do, with all of the tasty things that will be coming off our grill. Here are our picks for the best BBQ-friendly wines (and beer) with some delicious pairing suggestions to boot!
If you’re making veggies or fruit:
Carmen’s Habitual Habanero Gourmet Dressing & Marinade
This one packs in the heat! Made with habañero chilies, extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and other spices, it has the punch necessary to satisfy the most dedicated heat-lover. Marinate or baste your veggies with this for kicked up flavor and spice.
Just Cook Any Day Chicken All Natural Spice Blend
Although this rub was designed for chicken, this creatively sophisticated blend of flavors is delicious as a seasoning for grilled fruit (think apricots, peaches, and figs) and veggies. A burst of orange, a hint of cardamom, and accents of lavender and sage will add personality to any creation.
Our Wine Pick: Chenin Blanc is crisp, refreshing and aromatic and pairs up nicely with the complex flavors of grilled veggies. Our favorite is the 2012 Dry Creek Chenin Blanc, currently available at We Olive & Wine Bar at the OC Mix.
If you’re making chicken:
Earth & Vine Pineapple Sake Teriyaki Marinade
This daring blend of sake and pineapple is an excellent marinade for pork, chicken, seafood or tri-tip. It turns salmon into “candy” on the grill. Stir fry vegetables and toss with soba noodles and pineapple chunks. Excellent over rice or grilled tofu. This is a one of a kind teriyaki!
Just Cook Ancho Chicken Rub All Natural Spice Blend
This combination of bold, spicy, smoky, and sweet flavors puts your chicken on center stage. Ancho chili, cumin and basil lead the charge, with a subtle blend of supporting flavors following swiftly behind. Try it on grilled chicken wings, duck breast, even potato salad!
Our Wine Pick: Riesling and Gewurztraminer are two aromatic whites that tend to have soft fruit and subtle sweetness that make them a natural match to anything with a little bit of heat. We love the 2010 Tatomer “Vandenberg” Riesling from Santa Barbara and the 2011 Handley Gewurztraminer from Anderson Valley, both available at We Olive & Wine Bar La Jolla.
If you’re making seafood:
Earth & Vine Mango Tequila Jalapeno Grilling Sauce
Cool and spicy, this tropical sauce is great over fish tacos or chicken tostadas. Brush on prawns and pineapple kabobs, or grilled fish, chicken or pork. Toss into a jicama, avocado and red onion salad. Dip corn chips or sour dough bread. Blend into your favorite salsa.
Just Cook No 19 Salmon All Natural Spice Blend
This Creole-inspired blend of paprika, lemon and bay strikes a perfect harmony with the flavors of coriander, cumin and smoked chili. It’s delicious on salmon, but it works beautifully on any grilled seafood. Try a grilled version of shrimp cocktail, scallop skewers, or tuna steaks.
Our Wine Pick: Rosé is as versatile as they come having the body of a red wine with the refreshing crispness of a white. Plus, even a dry rosé, which we prefer, will have enough fruit to stand up to a little spice. Our favorites are the 2011 Tablas Creek Rosé made from Paso Robles Mourvedre, Grenache and Counoise and currently available at We Olive & Wine Bar at the OC Mix. We also adore the 2011 Blackbird Rosé from Napa Valley with its Bordeaux blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc, which you can find at We Olive & Wine Bar La Jolla.
If you’re making pork, burgers, or ribs:
Earth & Vine Spicy Apricot Bourbon BBQ Sauce
This stick-to-the-ribs barbecue sauce is sure to create a back yard sizzle. Spicy chipotle purée and tart apricots slowly simmered with brown sugar and bourbon is the perfect pairing for chicken, pork, ribs and corn-on-the-cob. Brush it on meats at the very end of grilling for a sweet glaze. Dip French fries, onion rings or fried zucchini sticks. Sure to spice up the grill.
Carmen’s SLO Serrano Gourmet Dressing & Marinade
This zesty vinaigrette and marinade has a not-too-hot kick of Serrano peppers and a subtle sweetness that comes from balsamic vinegar. Try marinating pork, chicken, or beef for kebabs or toss it with a fresh salad of tangy greens like arugula and chicory. You’ll want to have a crusty baguette on hand to mop up every drop left on your plate.
Robert Rothschild Blackberry Chipotle Sauce
Sweet, juicy Blackberries are mixed with smoky chipotle peppers. The result is a delicious, sophisticated sauce flavored with a unique spice blend. Try basting meat with it or mixing it into ground beef for a tasty twist on a burger.
Our Wine Pick: Zinfandel is a sure bet when it comes to anything off the grill. It’s bold fruit flavors and peppery spice are a natural match for grilled meats, even those with a spicy kick. Look for a fruit-forward version which will help balance the heat in your dish. We like the 2011 Hawley Zinfandel, Ponzo Vineyard, from the Russian River Valley, available at We Olive & Wine Bar at the OC Mix or the 2009 Saxon Brown Sonoma Zinfandel, currently available at We Olive & Wine Bar La Jolla.
*Check your local We Olive for availability as products vary by store.