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Thirteen Wines to elevate your Memorial Day grill feast

Written By | May 25, 2019
memorial day, grilling, wine

Image by Duane Pemberton @CommDiginews

SEATTLE: Memorial Day evokes visions of the men and women who sacrificed the most. That died to protect our freedoms in America and the betterment of our lives. Over the years, the long-standing tradition of American celebration is around the grill.

Bringing family and friend together to enjoy the freedoms that have been hard won for us.

The great thing about grilling and barbecue (low and slow), is that beautiful combination of flavors that arise in our foods.  It’s the sublime combination that smoke infuses into whatever we cook.

Additionally, those beautiful sear marks are chocked full of flavor and texture that’s hard to beat!.

Memorial Day: Remembering the soldiers that died for America

What this means is that there is virtually a limitless combination of flavors and textures one can make for friends and family which lend itself to great wines. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing a rib-eye steak, grilled scallops, grilled oysters or smoked pork shoulder.

It doesn’t matter if you’re cooking with a propane grill, over charcoal or using a smoker- it’s all about flame and smoke.

One of the issues when it comes to pairing wines with grilled food is that it’s easy to typecast certain varietals for the job. However, choices must be all about the kind of food you’re preparing and how it’s seasoned.

So don’t think so much of the protein as you do the type of seasonings you will be using. If you think about it, it’s the seasoning, amount of smoke or sauce used that largely dictates the overall flavor profile of the finished product.

And raise a glass in thanks for veterans and those who died on our behalf.

Lightly seasoned – a little salt and pepper is all we are adding to quickly grilled proteins like shrimp, oysters, and fish filets
2015 Gradisciutta Ribolla Gialla:

From the Collio region in northeast Italy, comes this world-class wine that is a pure jaw-dropper. Ribolla Gialla is the oldest known varietal from Collio and this region has an uncanny way of producing amazing complexity. What you’re greeted with is a sheer mouthgasm of minerality, Meyer lemon, lychee, green apples, and cream. The way this wine dances on your tongue is nearly unworldly. It has structure, mouthfeel, and finish that will keep you pounding bottles of it.

2016 Mollydooker Violinist:

This wonderful Verdeho has sublime amounts of pineapple, honeysuckle, lychee along with beautiful hints of lemon and lime. Pairs exceptionally well with grilled halibut, shrimp or scallops.

2017 Vielle Ferme White:

A brilliant white wine that combines four varietals, three of which most people have never heard or can pronounce. Bourboulenc, Grenache Blanc, Ugni Blanc, Vermentino. One of the things we love about this wine is its stunning and razor-sharp acidity. It has a natural ability to scrape your palate clean, allowing you to taste the next bite of food with a fresh palate. Beautiful citrus notes, longer on for what feels like days.

2017 Vielle Ferme Rosé:

Of course, Rosé could easily be placed in any of the seasoning levels as it’s literally a wine that will pair with nearly anything. However, most consumers don’t think of it that way, hence we have it in the lighter seasoning segment. This Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah blended Rosé is super affordable at under $12 and will plow through everything from Oysters Rockefeller to smoked pork or even pizza.

Notes of strawberries, watermelon, currants, and cherries will leave your mouth salivating.

2017 Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé:

For good reason, the area of Provence France is held by many in the wine industry as the Holy Grail of Rosé. It’s a bone-dry approach, along with a gorgeous light pink hue have drawn the eyes, noses, and palates of the world’s toughest wine critics. The latest from Mirval continues to showcase why this wine is so sought after.

It blends Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, Rolle that lead into flavors of white peach, strawberries, spring flowers and a stellar hint of salinity at the back end of the finish.

Medium body seasoning – a little more seasoning however the taste of the grilled chicken, pork chop or vegetables shines through

2016 Elqui Syrah Reserva:

Syrah has been growing in popularity in Chile for a while now and this wine exemplifies why. If you’re looking for a Syrah that’s not as quite as bold as what we see out of Australia and fits more for things like an herbed-crusted chicken or braised meats than this Syrah is a no-brainer. Notes of squid ink, graphite, black olives, and dark fruits and currant.

2017 Vielle Ferme Red:

This affordable blend from France combines Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, and Syrah in such a way that plays very well with all kinds of food combinations. It’s bone-dry, lighter on the body yet still retains the tannin structure and acidity that help it compliment cooked meats or pasta. The dry 2017 vintage in France made for an expressive wine that is vibrant and a harmonious blend of red and black fruit components.

2016 Elqui Red Wine:

From Carmenere, Syrah, and Malbec, this table wine is an easy drinker that can both hold up to slightly lighter forms of grilled foods with enough body, structure and acid to hold up to the heartiest of smoked meats as well. Dark fruits like blackberry and blueberries combine with spice, menthol and forest floor.

2016 Mollydooker Miss Molly Sparkling Shiraz:

The wonderful thing about this Sparkling Shiraz is how well it plays with food. It’ll go well with anything from smoked salmon to grilled beef tenderloin. This wine can stand-up to its tannins. You’re being rewarded with gorgeous overtones of mocha, blackberries, anise, and some marionberry compote.

Heavily seasoned items dripping in flavor from bbq sauce and flavorful dry rubs – ribs, sausage, bbq chicken
2016 Mollydooker Blue Eyed Boy Shiraz:

The McLaren Vale region in Australia produces world-class Shiraz and this wine will take your palate on a journey. It’s got the inky, dark-fruit laced love that begs to be paired with smoked meats and barbecue-sauced items like ribs or pulled-pork sliders.

2015 Elqui Carmenere Reserva:

Easily thought of as “Chile’s red grape”, Carmenere is actually one of the six varietals from Bordeaux. Early on, everyone thought it was Merlot in Chile but after DNA testing was done, it was confirmed to be Carmenere.

What you typically get with Chilean wines is a good amount of bell or even jalapeno pepper. Not as much on this one. It’s balanced with plum sauce, blackberries, flower petals, black peppercorns, beef jerky, and spice. A no brainer red that’ll plow through herb-crusted chicken, beer-can chicken or even a grilled pork chop.

2015 Elqui Malbec Reserva:

Even though Chile isn’t as widely known for Malbec like neighboring Argentina is, this wine shows that Chile can in fact rock this varietal. Mountains of dark chocolate, marionberries, violet flowers, pink peppercorns, and red currants.

2016 Mollydooker The Scooter Merlot:

Let’s say you want to simply braise some meat for Memorial Day and don’t own a grill. Maybe the plan is to braise a pot roast in the slow cooker. This wine is perfect for that kind of protein. The baking spices ring through and zing across the tongue like a Tasmanian devil on the loose.

It has a supporting cast of red currant, black cherry, and black raspberries.


Find them on the web:

Mollydooker Wines

Elqui Wines:

La Vieille Ferme

Miraval Provence


Duane Pemberton

Duane Pemberton is a lifestyle writer and CDNs Auto Editor. Pemberton loves anything that helps bring people together which is why he writes about food, wine, cars, and travel.