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Eat, drink and enjoy the sun. 

F&W Editors
June 30, 2016

In some areas of the country, grilling outdoors is a year-round lifestyle—but even we can admit that grilled food simply tastes better when it’s enjoyed with friends and family at a summer barbecue. And, of course, with a few bottles of good wine on the table. Here are a few of our favorite food and wine pairings that we’re looking forward to sharing at our outdoor celebrations this summer.


You can get these wines in an exclusive intro pack we created for our new wine club, Firstleaf. And best yet–they’re about 40% off retail prices! 

Wente 2014 Riva Ranch Chardonnay

This chardonnay is beautifully rich yet balanced with bright acidity. From the famed Arroyo Seco region, this vintage displays deep fruit aromas and flavors. Barrel aging gives it a hint of oaky flavor mixed with buttery notes and a touch of vanilla.

We’ll be pairing it with: Grilled Salmon with Caramelized Lemons
This deliciously simple recipe, seasoned just with olive oil, salt, and chervil leaves, really lets the salmon shine. If you’re lucky enough to have a fig tree in your background, give the dish a dramatic presentation by laying it over some large leaves and garnishing with the grilled lemons. (Erin Scott, creator of the blog and cookbook Yummy Supper, gave us this recipe.)

Wits End 2013 Shiraz McLaren

Smooth and deep, with a touch of sweet chocolate from oak aging, this full-bodied, food-friendly Australian Shiraz is blended with Barbera grapes that give it a savory quality.

We’ll be pairing it with: Herb-Rubbed Santa Maria-Style Tri-Tip
This classic from California’s central coast has become a perennial Sunset staff favorite for a reason. (In fact, it’s what we served a group of more than 150 at our big Sunset reunion party last year.) Again, simplicity proves powerful—a little salt, a little pepper, a touch of garlic, and a proper fire transform that oh-so-Western cut of beef, the tri-tip, into something truly glorious. Add salsa, beans, and garlic bread for the true experience of the Santa Maria Valley.

Château Loumelat 2012 Cuvée J.J. Lesgourgues

This gem has a deep-red color and intense fruity aroma. From the vineyards of northwest Bordeaux–one of the world’s greatest wine regions–it’s luscious, rich and crisp with a delightful smoky edge from wood aging.

We’ll be pairing it with: Caramelized Pork Kebabs with Chinese Eggplant 
Put a fresh twist on typical backyard fare with these tender, sweet-spicy pork kebabs. They’re made from pounded tenderloin and combine flavors from China and Vietnam.

Get great deals on these wine pairings—and more summer sippers–by joining our new wine club, Firstleaf!

This post originally appeared on Sunset.com.