wine wednesday: grill and chill your reds

I am thrilled that I get to share this series with you! One thing I love about summer is all the BBQs, and since 4 of July is right around the corner, I figured I’d start with the basics: burgers and dogs.

Now feel free to fancy up the burgers/hot dogs with cheese and other accouterments, but at the minimum, you’ll have ketchup and mustard on hand.

bbq spread


  1. BUY GOOD MEAT! The better the quality, the better the burger. This also goes for the ratio of meat to fat. Chef (and I can vouch too!) says 80:20 is what you should look for on your ground beef labels. That way the burger will be juicy and not dry.
  2. SEASON YOUR MEAT! You don’t need to get fancy, but a good dose of S&P is key!
  3. TOUCH YOUR MEAT! And by meat, I mean the stuff that’s on the grill. Once the burger starts cooking, it will firm up. The firmer the burger, the more cooked.
  4. LET YOUR MEAT SIT! Don’t throw it on the bun right away. By letting the burger rest on a plate for a minute it allows all the juices to settle and stay in the burger. You don’t want a one bite in all the juice is on your plate situation.
  5. GRILL YOUR BUNS! Butter isn’t necessary and Chef didn’t use any…but hey I’m from the Midwest, so I’d add a little butter or EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)


In general, I think red meat needs a red wine. With summer temps already getting up drinking a red on its own isn’t my cup of tea unless I’m in a very air-conditioned space. So solution is to CHILL YOUR REDS!!! Now I said light-medium bodied reds because anything too tannic/grippy (think big Cabs/Italian/Bordeaux Blends) won’t be your best call. But those wines that are smoother tend to chill up nice and easy!

I chose a ZWEIGELTan Austrian red that will work perfectly for this scenerio. Be the unsung hero (but actually people will be talking because they’ll love it so much) and bring a few bottles pre-chilled to your 4th of July party. It pairs perfectly with the burgers and hot dogs, steaks too! If you can’t find a Zweigelt, I suggest getting a Pinot Noir, Gamay (Beaujolais), Sangiovese or any other smooth light-medium bodied sipping vino.

Enjoy your 4th!!

wine wednesday: beaujolais


In short, Beaujolais is a region in France and produces mainly a light red wine, made from Gamay (the wine’s varietal) grapes. I had mentioned this varietal before if you wanted to change up your Pinot Noir order!

As Wine Folly puts it: “Beaujolais is kind of like the smallest house in the fanciest neighborhood”. It is situated south of Burgundy, one of the “fanciest neighborhoods” in French wine-making.

image c/o Wine Folly
image c/o Wine Folly

Which is why I thought this region was a perfect start for getting to know French Wines. This region produces very approachable reds, perfect for this “fall transition” most of the country is in: it’s still hot hot hot but we want it to be cozy weather damnit!! Because this wine is low in tannins but high in acidity it is very easily sipped in warmer weather. It’s even recommended that the bottle be served slightly chilled.

Even better, most bottles of Beaujolais fall right around $10-$20 for the good stuff making me say “oui oui!!”

buying tIP:

There are three different levels of Beaujolais:

  1. Beaujolais “CRU”: aka the nicest stuff typically $20, smaller more controlled growing areas
  2. Beaujolais “VILLAGES”: aka mid-tier and the vineyards on the outskirts of the Cru wineries about $15 a bottle
  3. Beaujolais “AOC”: the biggest region encompassing the Cru and Village areas with bottles around $10-$12

Beaujolais “AOC” Pick:

2014 Domaine Dupeuble Père et Fils approx $12. An unfiltered light red with bright (aka high) acidity and low tannins. Serve lightly chilled with appetizers or BBQ!