Affordable wines made for grilled food

Nothing like a steak off the grill
Nothing like a steak off the grill

Most people who drink wine are not going to pop open a 2000 Chateau Montrose St.-Estephe, a 1998 Fox Creek McClaren Vale, or a 2005 Dr. Loosen Erdener Treppchen for their casual grilling event with friends. If you do pop these open, make sure I am invited. For most people, a good but inexpensive wine is all that's needed to complement your grill creations. Here are several exceptional and affordable wines paired with four popular barbecued foods:

All wines are available at Big Top and Sid's throughout the Twin Cities, and their sales run through Labor Day.

Burgers We'll start with the most basic grilling favorite, the hamburger. Whether you bought the bulk burger patties at Sam's Club or Byerly's best beef, a simple, everyday red will do the trick. One of my new favorite wines to pair with hamburgers was the original creation of Randall Graham from Bonny Doon, but he sold off the label. The Big House Red brand is a crazy combination of grape varieties, but blended together they aren't bad wines. Also, the 2006 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot from Washington is a good buy at $7.99.

2009 Big House Red California $5.49 A blend of over a dozen red grape varieties, with blueberries, sweet cherries, earth, and spice. This should please a variety of guests, with a touch of sweetness on the palate. 87 points

Beef and chicken kabobs I love making kabobs on the grill, and I favor chicken over beef, so with vegetables and chicken a medium-bodied rose should fit the bill. The 2008 Big House Wine Company's Big House Pink and Columbia Crest Vineyard 10 Rose are perfect for the job.

2008 Big House Wine Company Big House Pink California $5.49 Floral, strawberry, minerals, and cherry dominate this medium-bodied wine. This does have a touch of sweetness, but nothing like a white zin. While this is not Tavel Rose, it is tasty and easy to drink. 87 points Also try the 2008 Big House Wine Company Big House White California $5.49

2007 Columbia Crest Vineyard 10 Rose Washington State $4.99 This is one of the best rose wines you will ever try under $5. Pleasant aromas of strawberries, watermelon, minerals, and floral notes. On the palate it has good acidity and a medium finish. The wine contains 95% syrah and 5% viognier. 86 points

If you prefer beef, try the 2005 Two Vines Shiraz $4.99.

Barbecue ribs Nothing is better than ribs on the grill. With some sweet sauce you need a big, full-bodied wine. I love zinfandel with ribs, and Cline makes a really nice, inexpensive offering.

2008 Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel California $11.99 Blackberry, pepper, cherry, spice, and full of life. The tannic nature of the wine will dissipate with some juicy ribs in your mouth. 89 points Also from Cline, try its Cashmere and Mourvedre wines

Steak The grilling season would not be complete without some thick rib eye steaks. At Costco you can get four large rib eyes for $40 (sure beats paying $40 for one at the steakhouse). I like cabernet sauvignon with my steak, and here are two to please your palate.

Columbia Crest Winery in Washington
Columbia Crest Winery in Washington
Columbia Crest Winery

2007 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $7.99 I sound like a broken record with this wine, but I want to make sure everyone tries it. Dark color and a nose that smells like a $40 cab, with cherry, dust, plum, spices, and oak. Very balanced wine with medium tannins. A top value wine for 2010. 89 points

2007 Trinchero Estate Bottled Chicken Ranch Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford $25.85 This is one of the best $25 Napa cabs I have sampled in a while, with cherry, oak, dust, earth, and plum. It's a complex wine, so decant this two hours to really allow it to open up. Should cellar for five plus years, so grab a few for next year. 92 points Here is a video I did on all the Trinchero Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Also try the 2007 Trinchero Chicken Ranch Merlot for the same price.

Look for a future blog on wine pairings for wild game, salmon, and turkey on the grill.


John Glas Wineglas

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >