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  • Tom Firth

Grill Gods Unite!


Wines to Compliment the Grill (Chef)


Father’s Day recently passed by, and despite my family wanting to give me a night off from cooking dinner, it still ended up with my working the grill and attending the kitchen getting all the food together for us and my in-laws.


I wasn’t complaining, but I recalled some of my work in professional kitchens, and as a beverage person that sometimes, you want to pick wines to support the dish or at the most dovetail the food – you never want to pick wine to overwhelm the food, or in the case of grilling, you really want wine to put the sizzle on the steak.


While this was going on, the family was relaxing, enjoying some good wine, and by the time we settled down to eat, the food, the wine, and the conversation were all in harmony. Which is what picking good wine for the barbecue is all about.


If you are doing a little entertaining around the grill, and are looking for some great wines to enjoy with a nice cut of beef, we’ve got you covered.


Find these wines by searching the CSPC code at Liquorconnect.com ; your local liquor store can also use this code to order it for you. Prices are approximate.

Noble Ridge 2017 Meritage, Okanagan Falls, British Columbia

A finely wrought, showstopping meritage blend from one of my favourite producers, Noble Ridge. Densely packed with plummy fruits, cocoa, herb, and loamy, earthy aromas too. Certainly, the merlot is leading the nose, but the cabernet sauvignon leads the palate with cherry and cedar and prominent tannins. Will cellar nicely, but it’s VERY good now.

CSPC +803854 About $23-26

Lunessence 2018 Merlot, Okanagan Valley, British Colombia

I make no bones about it, but I love Okanagan Valley merlot. First time trying this one from Lunessence, but loving the slightly less fruit-driven expression than some others with cranberry and cherry-style berry fruit. Also on the palate, it’s apparent the wine is well-crafted and fairly spicy and tannic too. A wonderful complement to barbecue of all stripes and premium cuts of meat.

CSPC 839414 Around $30-34

Hillside 2015 Mosaic, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Year after year, one of the best meritage-style (think Bordeaux-style blends) being made in the valley. Deeply layered and evolving in the glass with changes from red fruits, clean earthiness, and quite a bit of spice and floral characters. Wonderfully well-balanced, and drinking very well now with youthful fruit and some secondary development in harmony. Bring out the red meat and open this bottle while you are at it.

CSPC +80036 About $50-55

M. Chapoutier 2019 Belleruche Red, Côtes du Rhône, France

One of the best known (for good reason) Côtes du Rhône producers for Albertans, Chapoutier has been a leader in organics and biodynamic wines, but always focused on sustainability and responsible farming. For their Belleruche (which also comes in white) line, the flavours are all about authenticity and balance- at a really good price. Decidedly floral and shows off the grenache and syrah in the blend but great fruits and loads of food-friendly acids. Will really shine with meat from the smoker!

CSPC +725788 $19-22

Weinert 2010 Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina

Not a typo, the 2010 vintage is the CURRENT vintage of this stunner. Weinert is an Argentinean producer making deeply authentic wines, but in a slightly more European style -think earthy rather than juicy. Ripe fruits on the nose stylishly buttressed by earthy, dusty herb characters. Tannins are fairly prominent, but well balanced, and this wine will truly sing with a skillfully grilled steak or roast.

CSPC +390757 $25-28

Carpineto 2018 Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy

Oh yeah, this is the good stuff. Lean cherry fruits, peppered strawberries, tobacco and earthy aromas of leather and canvas. Full flavoured on the palate without too much tannin presence. Will be best with food, though pretty tasty on its own. Pair with things with a little richness, like ribs, well-marbled cuts of meat, or grilled sausages.

CSPC +840040 Around $27-30

Henry of Pelham 2019 Cabernet Merlot, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario

Fresh and floral aromas dominate the nose of this blend of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot with a mild smokiness and herbaciousness, supported by that awesome cabernet franc spice and strawberry. Medium tannins on the palate make for a slightly bolder expression, but well suited to grilled or smoked meats or the like.

CSPC +504241 $21-23

Henry of Pelham 2019 Baco Noir, Ontario

Baco noir is one of those grapes that has come a long way even in the last 20 or so years. A hybrid grape, baco used to have a rough, almost gamey quality, while current expressions show off plummy, blueberry jam fruits, strawberry and toastiness. On the palate, a real treat with excellent fruits and plenty of tension between fruit, acid, and tannins. Very cool.

CSPC +270926 $21-23