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What Pairs With: Barbecue Sauce

I know some of you may have read the title of this blog and thought 'how random,' but it's not really. When pairing wine with food, it's often the sauces you have to watch out for and pair for, not the protein, and knowing that, it is perfectly fine for us to sit here as adults and talk about pairing barbecue sauce with wine... and here we go.

Pairing wine with barbecue sauce became a real thing for me when I made chicken wings that were topped off with, you guessed it, barbeque sauce. Like normal practice, when I sit down for dinner, I will often do so with two half glasses of wine. These are wines that I strongly feel should work wonderfully with my meal, but I am curious to see which one takes the cake. I discovered is that the wine I thought was a no-brainer and sure-fire winner for the barbecue sauce pairing was the failure. The wine made from a lighter grape but with a healthy ABV was the winner. Given this experience, and years of study, I have some thoughts on 'What Pairs with Barbeque Sauce'.

Wine Pairing Recommendations

Oaked Chardonnay

A white wine and barbecue sauce pairing calls for a wine with enough richness and weight to stand up to your sauce, and oaked Chardonnay is a winning solution. The vanilla, caramel, and buttery feel from the oak, along with apple, lemon, and tropical fruit notes will make magic happen on the palate.


This aromatic white wine will get you going from the nose alone. Viognier is a full-bodied wine that shines best in warmer climates, allowing the grape to give off ripe tropical notes and sturdy complexity. Though expressions will change somewhat depending on the country your Viognier is coming from, the base profile remains consistent, and you are guaranteed a full-bodied and provocative sipper that just so happens to pair quite nicely with barbecue sauce!

Southern Rhône Grenache Blends

Here, the climate is warm and Mediterranean, and this makes for some bright fruit in the glass with enough structure to give you a delightful sipper. Wines here can be made from an allowable 14 grapes and some of the most luscious, such as Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault, just to name a few.

Southern Rhône reds will work as a congruent pairing to your barbecue sauce, given its thickness and feel of ripe red and black fruit on the palate. The spicy notes in this wine don't hurt as well and act as an extra condiment!

Napa Valley Pinot Noir

Warm climate Pinot Noir allows you to take in what you love from this grape, with a twist riper fruit than its Burgundian kin and sturdy levels of alcohol, and both of these things act as primary pairing factors with barbecue sauce.

Though this section is entitled Napa Valley Pinot Noir, look out for wines from Chile. Pinot Noir here showcases bright red fruit both on the nose and on the palate and it lingers through on the finish.


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