Photo Credit: John Carey/Photolibrary/Getty Images
Sure, a glass of wine pairs perfectly with a nice grilled steak or a light and fresh salad, but what about other summer staples -- like burgers, chips and dip...and hot dogs? We asked Jamie Arking of online wine retailer Wines Til Sold Out (WTSO) to match his favorite wines with the foods you'll be eating all summer long.
WTSO sells one deeply discounted wine at a time until the wine sells out, but you can also look for Arking's recommendations at your local wine store or other online retailers mentioned below, or use his varietal recommendations to try similar wines from other producers.
Food: Summery salads
Arking recommends Kunde Family Estate Sonoma Valley Viognier 2008 for vegetable and pasta salads. He says, "Thick with the scent of jasmine and orange marmalade and accented by exotic spice, this wine stays crisp and refreshing at the same time."
Food: Grilled seafood
Wine: Pinot Gris
If you're grilling up some fish or shellfish, Arking likes Chalk Hill North Slope Pinot Gris 2006. "This full and balanced dry white wine is great with rich seafood dishes. It has ripe peach and lightly honeysuckle aromas."
Food: Grilled steak
Wine: Cabernet Blend
There are many red wine blends on the market, and Arking suggests pairing Thumbprint Cellars Sonoma County Four Play 2006 with red meat. "A full bodied wine, this blend is a great match for steak, lamb chops or portabello mushrooms," he says. "It’s a blend of mainly Cabernet Sauvignon with Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah from the Alexander Valley and offers fragrant aromas of dark red berries, licorice and black currants."
Food: Grilled chicken
Most people think white wine when they think chicken, but for a surprisingly delicious pairing, try a merlot like Buried Cane Merlot. Only a few thousand cases were made so it can be hard to find, but it's worth seeking out. Arking says it goes well with many foods, including poultry. "This merlot has sweet cherry and berry flavors with complex aromas that include mint, tobacco and spices like nutmeg and clove. Enjoy it with everything from pizza to grilled meats."
Food: Chips and Dip
Wine: Pinot Grigio
Sure, a margarita is always nice with some chips and salsa, but if you're opting for wine, a pinot grigio is a good match. Arking suggests I Feudi Di Romans Isonzo DOC Pinot Grigio 2009. "This great, crisp Pinot Grigio has excellent acidity and the citrus and mineral flavors that go so well with food, but is also has a lush layer of ripe fruit, with notes of pear, melon and fig."
Food: Hamburgers and hot dogs
"This pleasing and delicious wine will pair well with a variety of dishes such as hearty pastas, hamburgers, steak, pizza and spicy foods," Arking says. He recommends Starfire Lodi, California Zinfandel 2006, a "rich, fruit-forward Zinfandel" with aromas and flavors of cherries, plums and blackberries with light spice and a hint of oak.
Food: Grilled vegetables
Wine: Bordeaux-Style Red Blend
If you're doing vegetable kebabs on the grill, reach for Andeluna Cellars 'Celebracion' Mendoza Red Reserve 2006. "This wine offers just the right amount of balance to be a perfect companion to grilled, smoked or roasted beef, spicy or grilled vegetables, and rich pastas with red sauce."