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Experts Choose the Ultimate Wines for Late Summer Burgers, Dogs, and Barbecue Slideshow

Experts Choose the Ultimate Wines for Late Summer Burgers, Dogs, and Barbecue Slideshow



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35 top sommeliers and other restaurant wine specialists from 16 cities share their favorite wines for outdoor drinking

Don't look now, but summer is winding down. You can almost see Labor Day through the thermal waves of August. We've still got a few good weeks left, though, and there are still plenty of long, light evenings left for outdoor cooking — charred rare steak, dogs and burgers on the grill, long-smoked ribs or brisket — foods you might eat all year long but that have a special flavor when prepared over charcoal (or propane if you must) while the weather's warm. The traditional beverages for such fare include beer, iced tea, lemonade, and did we mention beer? But wine has a place on the cookout table, too. For suggestions, we reached out to the men and women who match wine and food for a living — sommeliers, wine buyers, and wine-savvy proprietors at some of the nation's best restaurants. Here's what they had to say.

Experts Choose the Ultimate Wines for Late Summer Burgers, Dogs, and Barbecue

Don't look now, but summer is winding down. Here's what they had to say.

Ryan Babb, Manager and Beverage Director, The Glass Onion, Charleston, S.C.

Jerry Sass of [Sass Winery] has been providing wines for The Glass Onion for years. His vineyard in Oregon's Willamette Valley incorporates non-invasive, natural techniques to produce wonderful wines. One of my got-to-have wines in the heat of the summer is the Sass pinot gris. This wine is the perfect balance of crisp apple, good minerality, and bright finish. Poached or grilled fish lend the perfect accompaniment to this affordable wine. Rosés have become part of the natural pastime for wine drinkers who want a refreshing libation on a warm summer day. The Muga Rioja rosado is one of my favorites for its wonderful combination of sweetness, freshness, and bright acidity. Unlike many rosés, however, this wine has an underlying complexity that pairs well with a variety of snacks such as prosciutto, asparagus, or a summer vegetable quiche. Although the heat of summer does not lend itself to big, bold, complex red wines, the Rosso All'Antica Lambrusco from the winemaker Bertolani in Central Italy provides a delicious alternative. This red is made to be chilled to the same temperature as your white wines and pours a deep ruby color with a slight effervescence. Full-bodied and complex, Lambruscos hold up to grilled meats, pizza, and good back porch conversations.

Eduardo Bolaños, Sommelier, Terroni Group, Los Angeles

In the summertime, you have to have some rosé. What I think goes amazingly with hot dogs is the Penville Rosé of Grenache 2015 from the Santa Ynez Valley on the Central Coast of California. This rosé is refreshing with beautiful notes of apricot, watermelon, and strawberry and sharp acidity. Definitely good with a hot dog topped with some mustard and sauerkraut, or even just some ketchup.

For summertime grilled meats, I recommend the Benanti Rosso di Verzella Etna Rosso 2014 from Sicily. This red is made from mainly a native grape called nerello mascalese, which delivers some great salty cherry and red currant notes. The wine is grown around the Mount Etna volcano, where these grapes are planted in mainly volcanic soils, giving the wines a beautiful light smokiness that goes really well on top of the fruit notes, along with low tannin and good acidity — all making it a perfect pairing for grilled steak or smoked barbecue.

Kieran Chavez, Corporate Beverage Manager, Boqueria, New York City

White wine: I love summer salads with sugar snap peas or fresh, sweet corn. I pair cool, summertime salads with Txakoli, a slightly effervescent wine from the Basque region. I recommend the Rezabal 2015; it's lip-smackingly tart and bursting with aromatics. It's about as refreshing as wine can get. These wines also have a low alcohol content, so you can keep on drinking.

Summer greens and fruits scream for albariño. The Forjas del Salnés Leirana 2014 has vibrant stone fruit and citrus, a mineral-laced palate, and fantastic salinity. It reminds me of ocean breezes and summer fruit in a glass.

Reds wine: Dominio do Bibei Lalama 2011. Mencia is the star red grape of Galicia and lovers of Northern Rhône wines will fall in love. The Lalama has fantastic, deep, wild berry notes and mountain herbs. It is very plush, yet the wine has incredible freshness. This wine has all of the depth you want in a red wine, but is lighter bodied, which is perfect for warmer weather.

La Rioja Alta Viña Alberdi 2009. Complex and fruit-driven, this wine packs in all of the depth of flavor of an older wine. Its bright cherry, cocoa, leather, and soft spice notes with a medium body match very well with the complex flavors of grilled meats.

Mauro Cirilli, Beverage Director, Schroeder's Restaurant and The Press Club, San Francisco

My best suggestions for summer foods such as hot dogs, burgers, and grilled meats are bubbles. Generally speaking with these foods, we can be happy with a beer... We are in America, right? But for wine-lovers like us, it would be much better sharing a few glasses of sparkling. It would be great enjoy some Champagne, but burgers and hot dogs are kind of less expensive food items, so I would prefer to pair them with some of the best value of sparkling in the market. Look for Vouvray or crémant d'Alsace from France, cava from Spain, sekt from Germany, Prosecco from Italy. A few names: Vouvray; crémant d'Alsace: Pierre Sparr, Lucien Albrecht, Allimant Laugne; cava: Summaroca, Bodega Muga, Raventòs; sekt: Bollig-Lehnert, Fitz-Ritter; Prosecco: Valdellovo, Nino Franco, Merotto.

Sennen David, Food & Beverage Director, Ethan Stowell Restaurants, Seattle

BTR Cellars: The Shift 2013. In keeping with Seattle’s love of local, this is a wine produced 30 miles outside of town. Washington State Rhône varietals have a smokiness and spice that pairs great with grilled meats. Made from syrah and grenache, this lusty red boasts ripe fruit with just a hint of sweet. BTR Cellars is the everyday, drink-'em-now line from esteemed winemaker Mark Ryan [of Mark Ryan Winery]; their price point is spot on for casual eating.

Ameztoi Rubentus Txakolina Rosado 2015. Once you go Basque, you’ll never go back. These intriguing rosés are sturdier than those from Provence, and their rich fruit handles barbecue spice well. The Ameztoi's light effervescence — typical of Txakoli — makes this tasty rosé perfect for any backyard affair.

Dan Davis, Wine Director, Commanders Palace, New Orleans

The rosé wines of the Provence region in southern France are always crowd-pleasers. Some consumers are still turned off by the misconception that rosé wines are too sweet — not true! Most quality rosés are dry, dry, dry, and they pair beautifully with all summer foods. One of my favorites is Domaine de Triennes rosé, a blend of several grapes with cinsault making up the majority. Also, the "other" reds of Piedmont. While we all know about the amazing nebbiolo and barbera wines of Piedmont, we should never forget the “simple” red grapes of the region. Two of them stand out as great summer options: dolcetto and brachetto. You should be able to find a good dolcetto in any reputable wine shop. Finding a dry brachetto, however, can be a bit of a challenge. Most brachetto wines from Piedmont are produced as slightly sweet, slightly effervescent wines (such as brachetto d’Acqui) that are amazing poolside quaffers and are highly recommended. If you can find a dry brachetto, however, you’ll have the world’s ultimate hamburger wine. Here’s one: Tenuta la Pergola “Il Goccetto,” imported by Kermit Lynch. It is gorgeous!

Paul Ellis, Wine Educator/Sommelier, Rao’s in the Caesars Palace Resort, Las Vegas

Hot dogs or bratwurst are seasoned for white wines. Think Alsace pinot blanc, Soave Classico, or Rueda. For burgers, try zinfandel, cru Beaujolais, or Valpolicella ripasso.

Vonda Freeman, Beverage Director, The Indigo Road Group, Charleston, S.C.

I look for reds that have loads of fresh, bright fruit, and that drink well slightly chilled. Both of these selections are not only fruit-driven but have great acidity that cuts through the fattiness in grilled meat. They are my go-to wines for the summer: Domaine des Gaudets Morgon 2013 and Centonze Frappato 2014 [a light Sicilian wine made from the local frappato grape].

Roni Ginach, Wine Director, Cliff’s Edge, Los Angeles

Favorite wine with grilled steak: Roagna Barbera d'Alba 2013. Deep red fruit, rich, and bloody. Enough body to burn through any cut of red meat, but drinkable on its own as well. It's definitely a grassy/green barbera, which will bring out the top notes of the steak, keeping you awake and engaged rather than drowned and obliterated in smoke.

Favorite wine with stone fruit: Boundary Breaks Riesling No. 239 2013. The best domestic riesling on the market, with the most beautiful notes of elderflower on the nose and honeysuckle on the palate. You'll want to pour it all over the super ripe, gorgeous California stone fruit, put it all in a blender, and make some paletas.

Favorite wine with hot dogs/meats with a lot of char on the grill: Poggio Delle Baccanti Gragnano 2014. Funky sparkling red from Campania, super dry and glugable by the boatload. You won't even know you're drinking it (just like you forgot how many hot dogs you ate), but by the end of the night you'll be full and happy.

Favorite wine with grilled summer vegetables: Methode Sauvage Wunderkind Chenin Blanc 2013. Chad Hinds, the mastermind behind the Methode Sauvage line, is one of my go-to domestic producers for the restaurant and my favorite to introduce to friends. Always challenging, but endlessly fun to drink and approachable natural wines. This chenin is round, herbaceous, and super expressive — perfect for grilled asparagus, zucchini, or anything green.

Gina Goyette, Sommelier and Wine Director, Bottle & Bine, New York City

Casa de Vilacentinho Vinho Verde: A fun, light, and often slightly spritzy wine from Portugal. Its crisp green aromas and citrus notes makes it the perfect pairing for summer salads, ceviches, or just kicking up your bare feet with a book. A high-quality version out of the arinto grape shouldn't set you back more than $15.

Ameztoi Rubentis Txacolina Rosado: Coming out of the Basque country, you'll find another slightly effervescent gem for the backyard: Txakoli. Serve this wine with chicken or pork cooked on the grill. Its aromas of strawberries and cream also make it the perfect accompaniment to strawberry shortcake.

Steven Grubbs, Wine Director, Empire State South, Atlanta

I love the vegetables we get in the late spring and summer like crunchy squash, okra, and the smorgasbord of heirloom tomato varieties we see down south (in good years, at least). [With them] I love a cool, lean style of rosé made from a grape variety that can handle Mediterranean flavors like Commanderie de la Bargemone from Aix-en-Provence. That, or a versatile Italian white — verdicchio for the crunchy things, greco di tufo for tomatoes.

I generally see no reason not to drink a cold, cheap beer with a grilled hot dog or burger (Coors Banquet or Schlitz are preferred), but when you're away from civilization and all you can find are fine wines, I like a fresh, approachable style of off-dry riesling — like Von Winning's Winnings from Germany's Pfalz — with the hot dog. Burgers are really tough. They already involve so many competing flavors that it's hard for a wine to fit in there and not get totally knocked around. As a result, you need something really assertive but with plenty of acid. Sangiovese made in an easy, generous style should do the trick, like La Mozza's I Perazzi Morellino di Scansano.

The challenge with barbecue is similar to that with burgers: so many competing flavors. And here you have the addition of powerful smoke and actual capsaicin heat along with tons of other spices, all of which are really hard on wines, so you have to go with something that's both fairly bulletproof, and what you choose depends on what the meat is. For pork, I'd go with riesling again, but this time I wouldn't be shy with the sugar — spätlese or above — and with beef, I like something really inexpensive and Spanish, like Lechuza garnacha. There is zero reason to break out your prized bottles for barbecue. You will likely be using a Solo cup, after all.

Drew Harris, Wine Director, Foragers Tables, New York City

Domaine des Lises “Equinoxe” Crozes-Hermitage: This classic French syrah is known for its inky purple hue, subtle olive and bramble nose, and silken tannins. That, combined with a subtle smokiness, makes this the go-to wine for a blue cheese burger.

Ignios Origenes Listan Negro: Unique to the Canary Islands, this full red has aromas of red plum, rhubarb, and savory garden herbs, making it the perfect pairing for grill-charred tomatoes, corn, or summer squash.

Elizabeth Huettinger, Sommelier, Otium, Los Angeles

When you're matching wine with summer barbecue favorites, I recommend either going super fresh or rich and bold. Rosé is my go to for crisp and refreshing, and syrah or grenache for something much heavier to pair with grilled and charred meats. Here are some New and Old World examples:

New World: Tatomer rosé, made from pinot noir in Santa Barbara; Cirillo Old Vine grenache from Barossa, Australia; De Iuliis shiraz from Hunter Valley, Australia.

Old World: Thierry Richoux Bourgogne rosé from Burgundy; Thierry Allemand Cornas from the northern Rhône; Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage, also from the northern Rhône.

Jason Huerta, Sommelier, Counter 3. Five. VII, Austin

Rosé: A popular summer wine because it is released around this time of the year. Dry rosé is easy drinking. Other sought-after options are the rosé from cabernet sauvignon, particularly from the region of Aglianico, Italy, which is unusual. Another favorite is cabernet franc rosé.

Riesling: Every year, the Summer of Riesling is launched. German riesling is light, bright, with off-dry sweetness. The Weingut Maximin Grünhaus from Mosel is an excellent choice. It is incredibly intense, but with just the right amount of sugar, and highly recommended to pair with backyard grilling. The gamut runs from the classic German style to the drier Australian version, and most recently [to Rieslings] from the Pacific Northwest.

Deanna Killen, Beverage Director, Killen's Steakhouse, Houston

Lucien Lardy Les Chênes Fleurie 2011: This pairs with almost all carnivorous items, from fish dishes to Wagyu beef, even to fried chicken. Recommended for its lightness and low cost.

Arnot Roberts "Que Syrah" 2013: A light and beautiful syrah with floral notes that doesn't take itself too seriously.

Michael King, Group General Manager and Wine Program Director, Knightsbridge Restaurant Group, Washington, D.C.

For the summer, I think that two of my favorite wines to drink are Champagne and rosé. I am a huge fan of Champagne and drink it often, as I find it to be a very versatile wine. If you're eating your favorite summer barbecue foods and want something to stand up to the smoky grilled flavor, I would drink Agrapart Champagne. For every day, I'd choose Les 7 Crus; although it is labeled blanc de blancs, I believe it has a small percentage of pinot noir added to give it richness. I like the floral and citrus notes as well as the hint of almond on the palate.

I really think that this Champagne drinks far better than its price tag. If not Champagne, then I would choose to drink rosé. One of my favorite rosés for summer is Ameztoi Rubentis Txakolina. Although hard to pronounce, this wine is amazing. Made with both red and white grapes, this Spanish rosé has just a slight amount of carbonation, which dances on the tongue. The combination of bright red fruits and citrus on the palate make this rosé a great complement to many summer dishes.

Charles Kirkwood, Sommelier, Vic and Anthony's, Houston

Wine selection number one is Château Simone rosé. It is technically a rosé, but it almost drinks like a red wine. This wine has the richness to hold up to burgers, hot dogs, and summer foods alike, but it is also a very serious wine.

Second choice is dry German riesling, which is refreshing and quaffable. Its acidity will cut through the richness of summer-esque dishes.

Elise Loehr, Sommelier, Table 3 Restaurant & Market, Nashville

Côtes du Rhône is terrific with grilled meat, hamburgers, hot dogs, and the like, and offers good value, which goes hand in hand with summertime outdoor cooking. If you're using any barbecue seasonings, try a zinfandel, which has terrific spice aromas and flavors that are a great partner to zippy sweet barbecue ribs, chicken, etc. If you plan to go extra spicy hot, ditch wine altogether and cool your lips off with a good beer. (Remember to keep your red wines slightly cool during the hot summer months, so as not to add "fuel to the fire"; think cool indoor temp... 70-ish.

Dave Lund, Sommelier, Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW), III Forks,

Classic rosé: This is the quintessential summer wine for hot locations like Austin. Varieties range from cabernet franc to pinot noir. Another notable choice is the sparkling rosé, particularly made with the Champagne method, such as crémant de Loire.

Dry Riesling: This is very popular for its perfumed aroma. It is the American understanding that all rieslings are sweet; the fact is that the best ones are not.

Vihno Verde: A young Portuguese wine prevalent with barbecue. It is inexpensive, a great price to quality ratio, and palatable.

Lewis Wines: For those interested in locality focus, Lewis Wines, headquartered in Johnson City, where wines are made from 100 percent Texas grapes.

Johnny Mandola, Owner and Wine Director, Damian's Cucina, Houston

Prunotto Barolo 2010: The 2010 vintage is the vintage of the century for both the Tuscany and Piedmont regions. Both regions produced nice ripe grapes, which tend to result in rich, fantastic wines. The Prunotto is big and intense, tannic wine that cuts through fatty meats like ribeye steak.

San Felice Campogiovanni Brunello di Montalcino 2010: Spicy in flavor, this particular selection pairs best with beef tenderloin or spaghetti bolognese.

Neal McCarthy, Co-Owner, Miller Union, Atlanta

For a hot dog, a nice rosé from southern France such as 2015 Château Pradeaux from Bandol. For a burger, young cabernet franc from the Loire Valley (for instance, 2013 Olga Raffault Chinon Les Picasses). I would put a little chill on this wine for the warm summer months. Grilled meats always look for wines that have a little smokiness. I would suggest a nice little wine from the southern Rhône Valley like 2012 Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas, or maybe something from Mount Etna like 2012 Romeo Del Castello Vigo Rosso.

Chris McFall, Sommelier, Hudson's on the Bend, Austin

Hans Wirsching Iphöfher Julius-Ecther-Berg GG Silvaner 2013: Although extremely difficult to pronounce, it is a real delight when the heat is on. Clean, lean, and refreshing, loaded with strong mineral content and high acid to refresh the freshest of vegetables on the grill or accompany the most marbled of meats. This silvaner [from Germany's Franken region] is a perfect balance of strong citrus fruits, clean white flowers, and a salinity or savory nature, with the high mineral content leaving the palate refreshed, no matter the fare.

Sadie Family Wines Soldaat Grenache Noir 2013: My perfect red accompaniment for the summer barbecue! A great pairing with smoked meats, ribs, brisket, steaks, and even hot dogs and hamburgers. Although the wine is light in color, it is strong in stature. Grenache noir is a thin-skinned black grape varietal, like a pinot noir from a warm climate. The wine has a nice dark raspberry bouquet with baked rhubarb, a hint of Thai basil, and red flowers, along with white and pink peppercorns. The structure of the wine is much deeper than the ruby color, but with the power of fruit and alcohol harmoniously balanced, it finishes elegant. Eben Sadie has helped refocus the world's attention to South Africa with a wide array of amazing wines. The Soldaat, meaning "soldier," is a beautiful example of grenache.

John Minx, General Manager, Davio's, Boston

Cabernet sauvignon or Barolo: Something with structure, as well as a little tannin to stand up to the smoke and char you get from grilling.

Devin Muylie, Beverage Manager and Level 2 Sommelier, Vertical Detroit, Detroit

Saldo zinfandel (primitivo) pairs well with barbecue everything, but particularly pulled pork. Font-Sane Gigondas is best with the classic grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. Domaines Ott Côtes de Provence rosé for something crisp and seasonal like watermelon salad.

Femi Oyediran, Advanced Sommelier, Charleston Grill, Charleston, S.C.

If you want to be the coolest person at your summer grill-out party, bring a good bottle of cru beaujolais and watch what happens. It’s the perfect serious but also not too serious genre to slam with burgers and hot dogs. It can be lean enough to not be overwhelming on a hot day, and the combination of red fruits and their astounding juicy quality are not to be missed. Louis Claude Devignes Javernières Les Impénitents Morgon is an extracted, robust, mind-blowing show-stopper to share with friends. On the lighter end, Dirty and Rowdy "Familiar" mourvèdre [from California] is definitely a juicy, refreshing counterpart that would be a pretty delicious addition.

Paul Ozbirn, Sommelier and Beverage Director, Parkside Projects, Austin

Ameztoi Rubentis Txakolina Rosado 2015 has been one of my favorite summer release wines since I first tried it back in 2009 at Wink. Produced from grapes indigenous to the Basque country of northern Spain, this rosado (rosé) wine is thirst-quenchingly delicious: light-bodied, ever so slightly effervescent, bright acidity, and has the ability to pair with just about anything you would possibly be eating. The fruit profile is under-ripe for sure (think green strawberry rather than ripe strawberry), and lends a tart, herbaceous quality to any food pairing. Drink poolside with minimal clothing for added effect!

Szigeti sparkling grüner veltliner NV, produced south of Vienna by Austria’s first sparkling wine house, drinks like the best arugula salad you’ve ever tasted: spicy, green, lemony acidity, medium-bodied, and mineral-driven. Austria’s answer to the Champagne style but with less sourdough and weight. Burgers and hot dogs are inherently fatty so this lean machine cuts right through to lighten and refresh your palate after every sip. And, please, skip the traditional flute and drink out of a glass you can actually get your nose into!

Marc Papineau, Co-Owner, Bar Ferdinand, and former Sommelier, Bar Sajor, Seattle

La Collina Rosa Luna: In the summer, every day feels festive with backyard barbecues. This calls for bubbles. This biodynamic lambrusco is just the right red, dry, but not too dry, and rich, but not too sweet. It stands up to salt really well, so it is the perfect pairing for hot dogs and grilled steaks.

Clos Cibonne Cuvée Tradition Rosé: At a barbecue, not every rosé will do. You need a robust rosé that can handle the hearty flavors. The 2014 Clos Cibonne Cuvée Tradition Rosé, made from tibouren, a rare grape that Clos Cibonne has grown in their Provençal vineyards since the 1930s, is treated like a serious wine, aged in big format oak. This unique aging process gives this atypical rosé the heft and character to stand up to smoky meat.

David Sawyer, Sommelier/Manager, Husk Restaurant, Charleston, S.C.

White: Fuori Strada Grillo 2014 in a 1-liter Tetra Pack. No longer should box/Tetra Pack wines carry the stigma of containing cheap, unwanted plonk! We're seeing more quality wines on tap and in box every week. This is a good thing, as it's more cost effective and environmentally friendly, and in this 1-liter pack you have some delicious backyard-porch-guzzling, barbecue-grill-accompanying wine. Made from the native Sicilian varietal grillo, this white has a lovely weight and mouthfeel, with delightful notes of jasmine, white flowers, and white peach, and a slightly bitter almond finish. The mineral undertones and crisp acidity make this a shoe-in with grilled skewered shrimps, fresh grilled clams in their shells, or a side of skin-down salmon.

Red: Broc Cellars Green Valley Valdiguié 2014. From just southeast of Napa, made by Chris Brockway from average-age 60-year-old vines. Valdiguié was formerly known as Napa gamay in California. This wine is naturally made with indigenous yeast, minimal sulfur, and 12 percent alcohol. It is balanced, fresh, easy-drinking, and ready to go once the grill gets lit. With bright ruby-purple with notes of rose petals, fresh red berries (lingonberry, raspberry), sour cherries, a hint of peppery spice, and cleaning acidity, it will pair with your backyard burgers, dogs, and other fun, grill-worthy proteins beautifully.

Darren Scott, Sommelier and General Manager at Red Room Lounge and Estate Wine Brokers, Austin

Lieu Dit Melon 2015 is a collaboration between winemaker Justin Willett and sommelier Eric Railsback that focuses on Loire Valley varietals in the cool climate region of Santa Barbara County, California. This limited bottling of melon is an American analogue to Muscadet: a refreshing bone-dry white with flavors of lemon zest, saline, and crushed rock. The wine works well on its own as an apéritif, but makes a sensational pairing with shellfish and light summer salads.

Jean-Charles Abbatucci is a proud defender of the winemaking traditions of Corsica, and his Domaine Comte Abbatucci Rouge Frais Impérial 2014 is made from the indigenous sciacarello grape and aged in a mixture of stainless steel and concrete tanks. Free from the influence of oak, this red is remarkably fresh and energetic, showing high-toned notes of wild berries, Mediterranean herbs, and fresh flowers. Light in body, elegantly perfumed, and absolutely delicious with grilled and wood-fired dishes, this is a perfect wine for the summertime.

T.J. Siegal, Beverage Director, The Milling Room, New York City

Senorio de Iniestra Vino de la Tierra de Castilla Bobal Rosado 2015. The word rosé (or rosado in this case) means "pink," but this is a vivid, primary red in color. It has enough acidity to accompany all of your lighter-style food, as well as your barbecue tang. This bottle is bursting with aroma of rhubarb pie and cherries jubilee. You'll find yourself drinking it down well after your picnic basket is emptied.

Domaine de Fa "En Bisset" Beaujolais 2014. Light in body and perfumed with wild, fresh strawberries from the field, En Bisset, made by Maxime Graillot, winemaker at Alain Graillot in Crozes-Hermitage, goes from dusk to dark effortlessly. It makes for an easygoing, all-evening wine that's suitable for sipping outside but can easily stand up to grilled steak or pork chops.

Rick Stiles, Sommelier, Triniti, Houston

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A dry rosé, preferably from southern France, Italy, or Sonoma. Rosé has the flavor of red wine, which is whole and fruity, but whose acidity can cut through the roughness of meat and is delicate enough for vegetables. Also, sparkling wine of any kind: Champagne is a good option, and sparkling wines from Spain, Austria, and the United States are refreshing.

Sam Stoppelmoor, Sommelier, Union Common, Nashville

Sometimes it’s best to look at history when pairing food and wine. Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Gewürztraminer from Alsace is my all-time favorite pairing for hot dogs. There is a reason the Germans have been drinking gewürztraminer with bratwurst for hundreds of years: It’s absolutely delicious! For hamburgers, go Northern Rhône syrah, particularly a smoky, meaty, peppery one like Yves Cuilleron Crozes-Hermitage Laya. The wine smells like bacon, for goodness sake! Salty fries to match the peppery wine? Yes, please. Let’s not forget about context, here. No need for fancy stemware: Give me a Solo cup, a hefty pour, and a lounge chair by the pool.

Braithe Tidwell, Sommelier, Brennan’s, New Orleans

For grilling outdoors, particularly with meat and fresh vegetables, such as steak kabobs with onions, peppers, and mushrooms, I would recommend a light Old World syrah. Many consumers pair steak with cabernet or zinfandel, but syrah’s flavor profile has a cured meat element that perfectly complements the charred notes from the grill. On our wine list at Brennan's we offer a Rhône Valley Crozes-Hermitage from the producer Dard & Ribo called C'est le Printemps!, which translates to "It's springtime!" This specific cuvée is released in spring following the harvest, and like a Beaujolais Nouveau, it has a slightly surprising carbonic spritz to it, but follows through on the palate with smooth tannins, lush purple fruits, and a hint of spice — ideal for drinking with meat and vegetables on a hot summer night.

At the outset, hot dogs may seem like a tough pairing, but considering the origins of sausage, I think most sommeliers would recommend a pinot blanc from Alsace or a dry German riesling. As an avid fan of all sparkling wines, however, I would pair hot dogs with a sparkling rosé from the Languedoc region in southern France. Gérard-Bertrand makes a fantastic Crémant de Limoux rosé, which is a blend of chardonnay, chenin blanc, and pinot noir. This wine is crisp, and will cut through the fattiness of the hotdog. It also has a honey quality from the chenin blanc that adds some rich flavor. The chardonnay will also provide structure and slightly toasted bread notes that pair beautifully with a hot dog bun.

Wayde Vizena, Sommelier and Wine Director, Flagstaff House, Boulder

Domaine Fontsainte Corbières Gris de Gris 2015. This wine is easy to drink, lower in alcohol, and has the flavors of orange blossoms, white peach, and strawberries. It is brilliantly acidic and works nicely as a background to the stronger flavors of grilled meats and vegetables. It has the aromas and flavors of red wine without the weight and tannins — a wine that's good from 4 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Berhhard Ott Grüner Veltliner 2014. This is a bright, acidic white with flavors of white peach, pear, and pepper. It is light and crisp, and has enough structure to stand up to grilled meats, but has a savory component of pepper that work well with savory dishes such as grilled pork.

Kelly Wooldridge, Sommelier, Table 6, Denver

Red: Robert Biale Black Chicken Zinfandel 2013. Big, plush, fruity taste with lower acidity. Does not compete with spicy foods. Foods that are rich in umami tend to make wines fall flat, but this one doesn’t do that. Originally, this was made during Prohibition by the Biale family, who were truck farmers. In addition to groceries, those in the know would order a “black chicken” — which was code for this bottle of alcohol.

White: Robert Weil Winery Tradition Riesling 2014. Has a peach, apricot, fruity, off-dry style. This one has a nice balance of sweet and sour, and is good to have ice cold. It is a great offset or with spicy foods. It has just the right amount of acidity to cut through fatty summer foods. This wine, which goes back to the 1860s, is grown in Germany's Rheinhessen.


Use These Summer Menus to Inspire a Season of Fabulous Warm-Weather Meal

Next time you're wondering what to make for a fabulous summer meal, we've got you covered. And we're doing more than just sharing recipes: We went ahead and put together curated menus that will take you from Memorial Day straight through Labor Day, whatever that occasion may be. Each menu includes appetizers, main courses, side dishes, and dessert that you can serve al fresco—or indoors with plenty of tropical cocktails and mocktails, too.

To kick things off, you'll find the ultimate menu for a Memorial Day picnic. We're keeping things low-key and delicious with homemade potato chips that have a patriotic spin, burgers, and a vegetable side dish that you can grill. After all, it's not truly an all-American holiday unless you're firing up the grill. To complete the meal, we have a recipe for a spectacular fruit crumble that makes use of one of summer's brightest produce stars: blueberries. Don't forget to serve with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Holidays aside, you'll also find summer menus inspired by Italy, coastal New England, and other all-American regions. Complete with dishes like tomato-basil bruschetta, butter-poached lobster rolls, and fried chicken sandwiches, these menus are loaded with recipes that you'll want to eat all season long. And even if you can't take a dream summer vacation, we think you'll find that these menus have the power to transport somewhere special.

Next time you're wondering what to make for an outdoor dinner party, summer weekend supper, or special occasion, turn to these menus.


Use These Summer Menus to Inspire a Season of Fabulous Warm-Weather Meal

Next time you're wondering what to make for a fabulous summer meal, we've got you covered. And we're doing more than just sharing recipes: We went ahead and put together curated menus that will take you from Memorial Day straight through Labor Day, whatever that occasion may be. Each menu includes appetizers, main courses, side dishes, and dessert that you can serve al fresco—or indoors with plenty of tropical cocktails and mocktails, too.

To kick things off, you'll find the ultimate menu for a Memorial Day picnic. We're keeping things low-key and delicious with homemade potato chips that have a patriotic spin, burgers, and a vegetable side dish that you can grill. After all, it's not truly an all-American holiday unless you're firing up the grill. To complete the meal, we have a recipe for a spectacular fruit crumble that makes use of one of summer's brightest produce stars: blueberries. Don't forget to serve with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Holidays aside, you'll also find summer menus inspired by Italy, coastal New England, and other all-American regions. Complete with dishes like tomato-basil bruschetta, butter-poached lobster rolls, and fried chicken sandwiches, these menus are loaded with recipes that you'll want to eat all season long. And even if you can't take a dream summer vacation, we think you'll find that these menus have the power to transport somewhere special.

Next time you're wondering what to make for an outdoor dinner party, summer weekend supper, or special occasion, turn to these menus.


Use These Summer Menus to Inspire a Season of Fabulous Warm-Weather Meal

Next time you're wondering what to make for a fabulous summer meal, we've got you covered. And we're doing more than just sharing recipes: We went ahead and put together curated menus that will take you from Memorial Day straight through Labor Day, whatever that occasion may be. Each menu includes appetizers, main courses, side dishes, and dessert that you can serve al fresco—or indoors with plenty of tropical cocktails and mocktails, too.

To kick things off, you'll find the ultimate menu for a Memorial Day picnic. We're keeping things low-key and delicious with homemade potato chips that have a patriotic spin, burgers, and a vegetable side dish that you can grill. After all, it's not truly an all-American holiday unless you're firing up the grill. To complete the meal, we have a recipe for a spectacular fruit crumble that makes use of one of summer's brightest produce stars: blueberries. Don't forget to serve with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Holidays aside, you'll also find summer menus inspired by Italy, coastal New England, and other all-American regions. Complete with dishes like tomato-basil bruschetta, butter-poached lobster rolls, and fried chicken sandwiches, these menus are loaded with recipes that you'll want to eat all season long. And even if you can't take a dream summer vacation, we think you'll find that these menus have the power to transport somewhere special.

Next time you're wondering what to make for an outdoor dinner party, summer weekend supper, or special occasion, turn to these menus.


Use These Summer Menus to Inspire a Season of Fabulous Warm-Weather Meal

Next time you're wondering what to make for a fabulous summer meal, we've got you covered. And we're doing more than just sharing recipes: We went ahead and put together curated menus that will take you from Memorial Day straight through Labor Day, whatever that occasion may be. Each menu includes appetizers, main courses, side dishes, and dessert that you can serve al fresco—or indoors with plenty of tropical cocktails and mocktails, too.

To kick things off, you'll find the ultimate menu for a Memorial Day picnic. We're keeping things low-key and delicious with homemade potato chips that have a patriotic spin, burgers, and a vegetable side dish that you can grill. After all, it's not truly an all-American holiday unless you're firing up the grill. To complete the meal, we have a recipe for a spectacular fruit crumble that makes use of one of summer's brightest produce stars: blueberries. Don't forget to serve with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Holidays aside, you'll also find summer menus inspired by Italy, coastal New England, and other all-American regions. Complete with dishes like tomato-basil bruschetta, butter-poached lobster rolls, and fried chicken sandwiches, these menus are loaded with recipes that you'll want to eat all season long. And even if you can't take a dream summer vacation, we think you'll find that these menus have the power to transport somewhere special.

Next time you're wondering what to make for an outdoor dinner party, summer weekend supper, or special occasion, turn to these menus.


Use These Summer Menus to Inspire a Season of Fabulous Warm-Weather Meal

Next time you're wondering what to make for a fabulous summer meal, we've got you covered. And we're doing more than just sharing recipes: We went ahead and put together curated menus that will take you from Memorial Day straight through Labor Day, whatever that occasion may be. Each menu includes appetizers, main courses, side dishes, and dessert that you can serve al fresco—or indoors with plenty of tropical cocktails and mocktails, too.

To kick things off, you'll find the ultimate menu for a Memorial Day picnic. We're keeping things low-key and delicious with homemade potato chips that have a patriotic spin, burgers, and a vegetable side dish that you can grill. After all, it's not truly an all-American holiday unless you're firing up the grill. To complete the meal, we have a recipe for a spectacular fruit crumble that makes use of one of summer's brightest produce stars: blueberries. Don't forget to serve with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Holidays aside, you'll also find summer menus inspired by Italy, coastal New England, and other all-American regions. Complete with dishes like tomato-basil bruschetta, butter-poached lobster rolls, and fried chicken sandwiches, these menus are loaded with recipes that you'll want to eat all season long. And even if you can't take a dream summer vacation, we think you'll find that these menus have the power to transport somewhere special.

Next time you're wondering what to make for an outdoor dinner party, summer weekend supper, or special occasion, turn to these menus.


Use These Summer Menus to Inspire a Season of Fabulous Warm-Weather Meal

Next time you're wondering what to make for a fabulous summer meal, we've got you covered. And we're doing more than just sharing recipes: We went ahead and put together curated menus that will take you from Memorial Day straight through Labor Day, whatever that occasion may be. Each menu includes appetizers, main courses, side dishes, and dessert that you can serve al fresco—or indoors with plenty of tropical cocktails and mocktails, too.

To kick things off, you'll find the ultimate menu for a Memorial Day picnic. We're keeping things low-key and delicious with homemade potato chips that have a patriotic spin, burgers, and a vegetable side dish that you can grill. After all, it's not truly an all-American holiday unless you're firing up the grill. To complete the meal, we have a recipe for a spectacular fruit crumble that makes use of one of summer's brightest produce stars: blueberries. Don't forget to serve with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Holidays aside, you'll also find summer menus inspired by Italy, coastal New England, and other all-American regions. Complete with dishes like tomato-basil bruschetta, butter-poached lobster rolls, and fried chicken sandwiches, these menus are loaded with recipes that you'll want to eat all season long. And even if you can't take a dream summer vacation, we think you'll find that these menus have the power to transport somewhere special.

Next time you're wondering what to make for an outdoor dinner party, summer weekend supper, or special occasion, turn to these menus.


Use These Summer Menus to Inspire a Season of Fabulous Warm-Weather Meal

Next time you're wondering what to make for a fabulous summer meal, we've got you covered. And we're doing more than just sharing recipes: We went ahead and put together curated menus that will take you from Memorial Day straight through Labor Day, whatever that occasion may be. Each menu includes appetizers, main courses, side dishes, and dessert that you can serve al fresco—or indoors with plenty of tropical cocktails and mocktails, too.

To kick things off, you'll find the ultimate menu for a Memorial Day picnic. We're keeping things low-key and delicious with homemade potato chips that have a patriotic spin, burgers, and a vegetable side dish that you can grill. After all, it's not truly an all-American holiday unless you're firing up the grill. To complete the meal, we have a recipe for a spectacular fruit crumble that makes use of one of summer's brightest produce stars: blueberries. Don't forget to serve with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Holidays aside, you'll also find summer menus inspired by Italy, coastal New England, and other all-American regions. Complete with dishes like tomato-basil bruschetta, butter-poached lobster rolls, and fried chicken sandwiches, these menus are loaded with recipes that you'll want to eat all season long. And even if you can't take a dream summer vacation, we think you'll find that these menus have the power to transport somewhere special.

Next time you're wondering what to make for an outdoor dinner party, summer weekend supper, or special occasion, turn to these menus.


Use These Summer Menus to Inspire a Season of Fabulous Warm-Weather Meal

Next time you're wondering what to make for a fabulous summer meal, we've got you covered. And we're doing more than just sharing recipes: We went ahead and put together curated menus that will take you from Memorial Day straight through Labor Day, whatever that occasion may be. Each menu includes appetizers, main courses, side dishes, and dessert that you can serve al fresco—or indoors with plenty of tropical cocktails and mocktails, too.

To kick things off, you'll find the ultimate menu for a Memorial Day picnic. We're keeping things low-key and delicious with homemade potato chips that have a patriotic spin, burgers, and a vegetable side dish that you can grill. After all, it's not truly an all-American holiday unless you're firing up the grill. To complete the meal, we have a recipe for a spectacular fruit crumble that makes use of one of summer's brightest produce stars: blueberries. Don't forget to serve with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Holidays aside, you'll also find summer menus inspired by Italy, coastal New England, and other all-American regions. Complete with dishes like tomato-basil bruschetta, butter-poached lobster rolls, and fried chicken sandwiches, these menus are loaded with recipes that you'll want to eat all season long. And even if you can't take a dream summer vacation, we think you'll find that these menus have the power to transport somewhere special.

Next time you're wondering what to make for an outdoor dinner party, summer weekend supper, or special occasion, turn to these menus.


Use These Summer Menus to Inspire a Season of Fabulous Warm-Weather Meal

Next time you're wondering what to make for a fabulous summer meal, we've got you covered. And we're doing more than just sharing recipes: We went ahead and put together curated menus that will take you from Memorial Day straight through Labor Day, whatever that occasion may be. Each menu includes appetizers, main courses, side dishes, and dessert that you can serve al fresco—or indoors with plenty of tropical cocktails and mocktails, too.

To kick things off, you'll find the ultimate menu for a Memorial Day picnic. We're keeping things low-key and delicious with homemade potato chips that have a patriotic spin, burgers, and a vegetable side dish that you can grill. After all, it's not truly an all-American holiday unless you're firing up the grill. To complete the meal, we have a recipe for a spectacular fruit crumble that makes use of one of summer's brightest produce stars: blueberries. Don't forget to serve with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Holidays aside, you'll also find summer menus inspired by Italy, coastal New England, and other all-American regions. Complete with dishes like tomato-basil bruschetta, butter-poached lobster rolls, and fried chicken sandwiches, these menus are loaded with recipes that you'll want to eat all season long. And even if you can't take a dream summer vacation, we think you'll find that these menus have the power to transport somewhere special.

Next time you're wondering what to make for an outdoor dinner party, summer weekend supper, or special occasion, turn to these menus.


Use These Summer Menus to Inspire a Season of Fabulous Warm-Weather Meal

Next time you're wondering what to make for a fabulous summer meal, we've got you covered. And we're doing more than just sharing recipes: We went ahead and put together curated menus that will take you from Memorial Day straight through Labor Day, whatever that occasion may be. Each menu includes appetizers, main courses, side dishes, and dessert that you can serve al fresco—or indoors with plenty of tropical cocktails and mocktails, too.

To kick things off, you'll find the ultimate menu for a Memorial Day picnic. We're keeping things low-key and delicious with homemade potato chips that have a patriotic spin, burgers, and a vegetable side dish that you can grill. After all, it's not truly an all-American holiday unless you're firing up the grill. To complete the meal, we have a recipe for a spectacular fruit crumble that makes use of one of summer's brightest produce stars: blueberries. Don't forget to serve with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Holidays aside, you'll also find summer menus inspired by Italy, coastal New England, and other all-American regions. Complete with dishes like tomato-basil bruschetta, butter-poached lobster rolls, and fried chicken sandwiches, these menus are loaded with recipes that you'll want to eat all season long. And even if you can't take a dream summer vacation, we think you'll find that these menus have the power to transport somewhere special.

Next time you're wondering what to make for an outdoor dinner party, summer weekend supper, or special occasion, turn to these menus.


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