With Americans firing up the home barbecue and indoor grills more than ever before, we searched for good values in hearty BBQ wines to enhance the fun. We would typically suggest adding to beach parties and picnic fare as well, but we have been slower to restart those traditional outings as the pandemic restrictions and uncertainties roll into mid-Summer.

Prices range from $12 to $35. The wines were purchased at discount warehouse stores, local grocery stores, wine merchants, wine clubs and some flash sale online sites. Enjoy!

  • $12 Chilean Malbec, 2017 Montes Alpha, Colchagua Valley. Dark garnet; prune, black currant, ripe grape nose (14.5 alc.); mid-big body; berries, wood, prune on the palate; BBQ, burger, pizza and stew wine. 15 UC Davis scale, 88 other scales.
  • $13 Spanish BBQ, pizza, sandwich wine 2017 Bodegas Borsao Garnacha Campo de Borja Tres Pico. Mid-garnet; floral, mint, Grenache and ripe grape nose (15.0 alc.); mid-body; tight; red fruit, woody, hot finish. 15/88.
  • $13 Argentina Red 2017 Michel Torino / Bodega El Esteco Malbec Don David Reserve, Colchagua. Dark purple; plum, black pepper, ripe grape, black fruit nose; mid-body; balanced; a little one-dimensional; good value. BBQ, burger and pizza wine. 15/88.
  • $15 Spanish blend 2017 Crapula Jumilla Cr Gold 5. 50% Monastrell, 50% Syrah. Mid-garnet/purple; peppery, bramble, waxy nose; mid-big body; chewy, tart; thick grapey finish; decent flavor. BBQ, pizza, pasta wine. 15.5/89.

KJ Cabernet

  • Big red from Paso Robles, Calif., 2017 Daou Vineyards The Pessimist $18. Darkest purple; blackberry, prune (15.5 alc.), ripe grape, young wood (green) nose; mid-big body; fat; grapey; one dimensional; long semi-chewy finish. w/BBQ, pizza, pasta with red sauce. 15.5/89.
  • $18 Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve. Sharp mid-dark garnet; mid-plus viscosity; herbaceous ripe grape, black fruit, cassis and wood nose; big tannins; mid-plus intensity; long hot (13.5 alc.) chewy finish. Beef and BBQ wine. 16/90.
  • Amador, Calif., Zinfandel 2017 Scott Harvey Mountain Selection, $20. Label says “Old World Style.” Mid-ruby; ripe grape, bramble, raspberry nose; mid-body; balanced; mid-tannins, rounded; long fruity berry and wood finish, slightly hot (14.5 alc.). w/BBQ or pizza, pasta with bigger sauces. 16/90.
  • $22 Lodi, Calif., Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 Oak Farm Vineyards Tievoli (this is “I love it” backwards). Mid-dark garnet; ripe grape, prune, blackberry nose; mid-big body; big extract; fruit forward; long chewy hot (14.5 alc.) finish. BBQ wine. 15.5/89.
  • Mendoza Argentina 2018 Achával-Ferrer Malbec $23. Darkest purple; plum, anise, charcoal nose; mid-big body; young; chewy; long hot finish (14.5 alc.). w/BBQ, pasta. 15.5/89.
  • Lodi Red blend 2018 Macchia Graciano $23. Darkest purple; ripe grape (15.4 alc.), prune and redwood nose; mid-big body; grapey; thick; long semi-chewy finish. BBQ, pizza, pasta, rib wine. 15/88.
  • Lodi, Calif., Petite Sirah 2017 Rippey Family Vineyards $25. Dark purple; prune, ripe grape, manzanita (wood) nose; mid-big body; grapey, a little one-dimensional; long semi-thick hot finish. w/BBQ. 15.5/89.
  • Lodi, Calif., 2017 Peltier Station Zinfandel Old Vine $32. Mid-dark garnet; ripe grape, bramble, manzanita, damp moss nose; mid-body; mid-viscosity; soft tannins; a little one-dimensional; long hot (15.5 alc.) woody finish. w/BBQ. 15.5/89.
  • Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California, Mexico, 2017 Trasiego Mezcla Mediterránea red wine blend (35% Montepulciano, 30 Aglianico, 25 Merlot, 10 Sangiovese), $35. Dark purple; ripe grape, prune, peppery nose (14.4 alc.); slight rubber boot (mercaptan/sulfur) background; mid-big body; long fruity finish. BBQ, burger, pizza, rib wine. 15-15.5/88-89.