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story.lead_photo.caption Illustration by Kelly Brant

Most writers offer grilled food and wine pairings for the summer menus. Perhaps it's just me, but unless the humidity is bearable and the temperature drops into the low 90s or below, it's just too hot to enjoy the grilling experience.

But come fall with lower temperatures and, of course, the arrival of college football season, grilling is an almost every weekend occurrence at our house.

The following food and wine pairings go beyond the usual burgers and beef steaks.

AHI TUNA STEAKS

The reason this fish seems to always be paired with a white wine is most likely because it is often lightly seared and seasoned with lime, lemon or even wasabi. But when grilled it brings a completely different flavor profile. On the grill, this meaty fish takes on the smoke flavors and can stand up to fuller bodied red wines such as cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir, tempranillo and gamay.

THE VALUE

2018 Cellar No. 8 North Coast Merlot, California (about $9 retail)

THE SPLURGE

2016 Schug Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, California (about $22 retail)

BRATWURST

Brats and beer may be the classic, but keep an open mind and try pairing the sausages with riesling or gewurztraminer. The key is the perfect balance of spice, smoke and the touch of sweetness (not sweet, just a touch). And don't forget the toppings; spicy mustard, caramelized onions and the sauerkraut make the pairing magical.

THE VALUE

2018 Chateau Ste. Michelle Gewurztraminer, Washington (about $11 retail)

THE SPLURGE

2017 Hugel Alsace Gewurztraminer, France (about $29 retail)

PORK CHOPS

I find it curious I don't see many grilled pork chop and wine pairings on the matching charts. My guess is the writers don't live in the South. This meat is a staple in our grilling repertoire. Pork matches well with both red and white wines, depending on the sauce. If you are adding barbecue sauce, consider a robust Zinfandel or cabernet sauvignon but if you're serving a simply seasoned chop with a smoky grill flavor an oaked chardonnay is ideal.

THE VALUE

2017 Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel, California (about $11 retail)

THE SPLURGE

2017 Earthquake Zinfandel, California (about $29 retail)

SALMON STEAKS

Pinot noir is one of the classic pairings and a perfect example of fish and red wine being harmonious. The low tannins and fruitiness of this wine accentuate the fatty texture of the salmon, especially on the grill. If you are looking for a white wine, chardonnay has the weight to compete with this flavorful fish but choose an unoaked version.

THE VALUE

2017 Cline Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, California (about $17 retail)

THE SPLURGE

2018 Roland Lavantureux Chablis, France (about $28 retail)

Lorri Hambuchen is a member of London's Institute of Wines and Spirits. Contact her at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, P.O. Box 2221, Little Rock, AR 72203, or email:

uncorked@thewinecenter.com

Food on 09/11/2019

Print Headline: Grilled fish, pork, have their own wine pairings

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