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5 Great Wines Under $20 for Grilled Food

Updated on May 22, 2007

With Memorial Day right around the corner, many people will be kicking off the unofficial start of summer by hosting barbeques and cook-outs. There are some wines that lend themselves to grilled food and can really help make a meal outstanding! Here are five recommendations for wines under $20 that are sure to please your pocketbook as well as your pallet!

Cabernet Sauvignon immediately comes to mind when I think of thick, juicy steaks seared on the grill. One of my favorites is Hayman & Hill Cabernet. It is an extremely well-balanced wine. If you don't like big, heavy cabs, this would be a good one to try because the tannins are soft and gentle. This would be great with a steak or a juicy burger.

Zinfandels are another great choice for grilled food. You can't go wrong with Rancho Zabaco Dry Creek Zinfandel ; it is a classic styled Zin - big and chewy and spicy. This would be perfect paired with smoked baby back ribs.

Pinot noir is a great accompaniment for grilled salmon. But wait - red wine with fish? It's true! You don't have to limit yourself to white wine with fish. Salmon has a big enough flavor that it can stand up to something like a pinot noir, which is a light red and will not overpower the fish. Try the Rex Hill Pinot Noir Kings Ridge.

But what about white wines? If you're grilling chicken, a Chardonnay seems like the obvious choice and it is a good one if the chicken has a spice rub or will be served with a zesty salsa. Toasted Head Chardonnay would be a fantastic choice.

Grilled shrimp and Sauvignon Blanc pair really well together. Te Awa Sauvignon Blanc is amazing and lends itself really well to the smokiness of the shellfish. It's also great if you just want to have a glass and relax in your yard.

And these are just a few of the many great wines out there. A good rule of thumb when pairing wines with food is to think of how they will balance each other out. For spicy food, you might consider a Riesling. For a heartier dish, you'll want a full-bodied wine. If you're not sure, don't be afraid to ask someone at your local wine shop. They're there to help you discover great wines you will love!

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