Nothing says summer like the smell of burgers sizzling on the grill at a backyard get-together. And while you can’t go wrong reaching for a crisp white wine on a hot day, light- to medium-bodied reds when slightly chilled can be just as refreshing—and pair beautifully with the bold, smoky flavors of a fat, juicy burger. Whether made with beef, turkey or even veggies, burgers made on the grill have a distinct char flavor that demands a wine with good acid and a lot of character. Chilled fruity reds like Gamay and Pinot Noir stand up well to the boldness of a burger without getting lost on the palate. In the Finger Lakes in particular there’s a plethora of bright reds bursting with aromas and flavors of ripe strawberries and black cherries—definitive fruits of the summer—that marry wonderfully with the smokiness of grilled foods. So while you’re stocking your cooler with Rieslings and your favorite local beer for your next barbecue, why not up the ante with some Finger Lakes reds? We’ve compiled a list of our favorites to get you started.
Medium-Bodied Red Wines for the Grill
Be sure to serve these wines with a nice chill on them. About the temperature of a cool basement should do fine to bring out their refreshing qualities with grilled food.
Ravines 2013 Keuka Village Red
Billsboro 2013 Cabernet Franc
Shalestone Red Legend
Hosmer Estate Red
Sheldrake Point Vineyards 2012 Gamay Noir
Standing Stone Vineyards Smokehouse Red
Dr. Frank Salmon Run Petit Noir
Lamoreaux Landing 2013 T23 Cabernet Franc
Six Mile Creek Vineyards Ithaca Red
Hermann J. Wiemer 2011 Field Cuveé
Fox Run Vineyards Fox Trot Red
This article originally appeared in our July/August 2014 issue. Looking for grilling ideas? Check out Cooking Cornell Chicken.