For many of us summer time means cooking on the grill. Human beings are hard-wired to get satisfaction from the combination of flame and food and summer is the perfect season to scratch that itch.
When you bring the kitchen outside, do not forget the wine cellar. Scientists figure that we can experience about 150 different flavor sensations. Wine made from grapes can trigger almost all of them, more than any other single food or beverage. What that means is that by adding any number of the wines of the world to the grilling menu you can turn an enjoyable experience into a memorable one…a little something you will appreciate in the middle of Summer.
You do not need an elaborate wine cooling system for outdoor dining but you do need to keep wine out of the sun, and if possible, try to keep it at wine-cellar-cool, around 55 degrees F.
Matching wine with food is more of an art than a science but there are some reliable guidelines that you can use to narrow your focus.
Heavy dishes, foods you chew hard with strong tastes, match up with full-bodied wines. Full-bodied usually means the reds like Brunello di Montalcino or Barolo.
Sweet dishes require sweet wines. This is really more of a rule than a guideline. Even an excellent dry wine paired with a sweet dish can create a sour or bitter taste.
Fatty dishes usually pair well with wines high in acidity like the Rieslings, Sauvignon Blancs and most sparkling wine.
Protein-rich dishes often match-up well with high tannin wines. The big reds are the usually the choice here with the Cabernets and Syrah at the top of the list. High tannin wines usually do not pair well with fish and other seafood or with salty dishes.