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Wine & Grill Guide


This is a guest post by France 44 wine specialist, Karina Roe.


Road Construction and Winter. Mosquito Season and Winter. Too Hot and Too Cold. Whatever you like to call our seasons in Minnesota, our favorite is Grilling Season!


Although there are plenty of diehards out there that grill year-round through the sleet and snow, early spring is generally the time of year when GrillMasters get wheeled out of garages and scrubbed clean for another busy season of burgers, brats, steaks and kebabs. But all that masterful grilling needs an equally masterful wine to accompany it, right? We put together a fail-proof Wine + Grill Guide for all your cookout festivities this summer.


Grilled Beef: Whether it’s burgers or steaks, you’ll need a red that has the guts to stand up to the high fat and protein content of red meat. Try out wines with bigger bodies and firmer tannins, like the Alois “Campole” Aglianico, Shinas Estate “The Guilty” Shiraz, or a classic Cali Cab like Fortnight.


Grilled Chicken: For chicken, it all depends on how you make it. Are you grilling up lean cuts with a squeeze of fresh lemon and veggies on the side? Try out a fruity, lighter bodied Chardonnay like Brea from California’s Central Coast or a young Gamay from France like the Chateau de la Greffiere. Are you grilling up thighs, wings or legs? Go for a bigger option like a medium-oaked Chardonnay (try Seven of Hearts) or a Rhone blend, like Guigal or Rouge-Bleu’s Mistral.


Grilled Pork: If you’re going red for your grilled pork, go with a Merlot-based Bordeaux like Argadens or a domestic Merlot like Esser, or a fuller-bodied Cali PN like Sean Minor. For whites, bone-dry Rieslings are fantastic (grab Pfluger from Germany or the exotic Slovenian Verus Riesling), and you will never go wrong with a rosé of any sort!


Grilled Vegetables: Lighter Italian reds will go perfect with any grilled veggie dish! Go for the Marchesini Bardolino or the Santa Tresa Frappato, and make sure to serve them with a little chill. For whites, do one of our fantastic Austrian Gruner Veltliners, like Stadt Krems. And again, rosés are your best friend!


Grilled Seafood: Mineral-driven Chablis, French Sauvignon Blancs and aromatic whites like Albarino and Riesling are matches made in heaven for seafood on the grill! Try out the Roland Tissier Sancerre or Kentia Albarino for starters. Feeling more adventurous? Grab a bottle of dry Sherry—Fino or Manzanilla. Our favorites are La Guita Manzanilla and Valdespino “En Rama” Manzanilla.


These are just the beginnings of a long and successful grilling season. If you’re looking to branch out into the unfamiliar, our wine staff will help you geek out on some killer pairings for every occasion! Cheers to our favorite season!