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The Perfect Wine For Smoked Food, Each Time (Rhone) And Why...

leah elisheva

Master of the Pit
Joined Sep 19, 2013
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Wines paired with smoked food can be tremendous!

The best whites with smoked food are the BLENDS, and so look for white wine blends, which are made of multiple grape varietals versus just “Chardonnay” or just “whichever one” grape.

The blend will add structure to an otherwise one dimensional grape, and therefore pick up many notes of the food – like the smoking chip essence, the spices, and so forth.

There are white blends in every single price bracket (even if just a blend of two grape types) and so if needing to buy white, for company, when smoking food, look for a blend.

For RED; it is a RHONE style wine that is a win-win every time, and with smoked food.

Rhone wine from France is made of the grapes Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault, and more! (About 22 grape varietals hail from Rhone).

But here’s the easy part and important element to take away…


Grenache is the same grape as “Garnacha” in Spain, (so if you’re buying Spanish wine) or “Cannonau” in Sardinia, Italy.

And then Syrah is the same grape as "Shiraz," and so you can buy many Shiraz blends; and it’s thus easy to find reds that go with smoked food.

“WHY” these are the best varietals with smoked food, (in my wine splattered, and humble yet seasoned opinion), is because there is an earthy, multi-dimensional essence (versus JUST Merlot or Cab, or Zin) and of far more complex notes and flavors being present, and actually HELPING to accent and “meet the smoked meat where it wants to be met,” than any single varietal, and thus such blends serve quite wonderfully!

Therefore if you want a red wine for your smoked goods, and if you have company coming over and you don’t want to make a mistake at all "wine wise;" then just pick up a Syrah or Shiraz BLEND, or a Grenache blend; and you will be nothing short of just FABULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Each and every time!

Cheers!!!!!!! (And from the gal who savored smoked alligator today for lunch, and with a Rhone Red Blend that was amazing)! 

Warm wishes, Leah Elisheva

Last edited:


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Group Lead
Joined Jun 27, 2012
Some great pointers Leah. I'm going to earmark this for future reference. Thanks.

leah elisheva

Master of the Pit
Joined Sep 19, 2013
Hi Humdinger!

I'm so glad it's helpful in any way!

The matching/pairing with smoked food becomes really easy this way, and is CONSISTENTLY wonderful. Enjoy!!!

Thanks for your nice comments!!!! Cheers!!! - Leah


Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Oct 31, 2012
Thanks, Leah. I totally agree with your choices. However, if I could throw my humble tastes into the mix. If you want a varietal that goes well with pulled pork, I like a Zinfandel as I like the bold taste and find it blends well with the slightly fatty texture and smoke flavour. As a lot of California blends are made with Zinfandel grapes, I also like them with pulled pork and ribs.


leah elisheva

Master of the Pit
Joined Sep 19, 2013
Hi Disco!

You're spot on with the Zin, and especially with ribs and grilled pork too! That is an excellent point! You have such a great palate!

Our snowy day here actually dictates that much of those hearty flavors would be superb right about now! Here is to that!!!

Cheers and happy Saturday to you in the north!!!!!!!! - Leah

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