Pairing entwine Red Wines

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This summer, Food Network’s Grilling Central is packed with recipes for the entire family’s taste buds, boasting the best in burgers, dogs, chicken and more all season long. But with so many recipes, where do you start? Each Friday, FN Dish is giving you a complete menu that is stress-free, and this weekend’s spread will be centered around entwine red wines.

Red wine often gets a bad rap in the summer. The thought has been that it’s too heavy and warming to enjoy with the traditionally light, dainty dishes of the season, like tender seafood and fresh salads. What’s been forgotten, however, are summer’s rich, full-flavored dishes, like burgers, pork chops, steaks, ribs and more, which naturally complement red wine’s tastes and textures. We’ve paired Food Network’s two entwine red wines — Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot — with our favorite hearty grilled recipes. Check out a few pairings below and read on for a weekend cookout menu to enjoy with them.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cedar Planked Burgers

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

Deliciously robust and full-bodied, Cabernet Sauvignons are at once heavy and fruity. Some people say that they recognize the taste of herbs in the wine, which makes Ina’s Greek Lamb With Yogurt Mint Sauce an ideal companion to those flavors. Her five-star recipe calls for fragrant oregano and rosemary on the chops and fresh mint and dill in the creamy, tart yogurt sauce.

Cabernets are also recognized by their woody taste and solid texture. Bobby’s Cedar Planked Burger (pictured right) boasts a similarly smoky taste, thanks to the cedar boards on which his juicy patties are grilled. He finishes the burgers with grilled mushrooms and sweet onions, both of which are reminiscent of Cabernet’s earthy undertones.

In one of its most classic pairings, red wine is served with salty cheeses, both soft and creamy and hard and crumbly. Full of flavor, Cabernets beautifully complement the silky texture and unforgettable taste of Roquefort cheese, which is very similar to blue cheese in both taste and texture. If you’ve never tasted Roquefort, give it a try in this four-ingredient recipe for Veal Chops With Roquefort Butter.

Merlot

Just as Cabernets are classically heavy red wines, Merlots are traditionally light bottles, particularly known for their soft, velvety texture and dry taste. Pour a glass to enjoy with the Neelys’ Spice-Rubbed Grill Pork Chops and notice how the warm flavors of the allspice play off of the wine’s notes of clove. To finish the pork chops, Pat and Gina top them with a crimson-colored pomegranate-raspberry sauce, which further complements the fruity dimensions of the wine.

Another spiced favorite is Marcela’s Adobo-Rubbed Chicken. It’s lighter than beefy steaks and burgers, so it will work well with the texture of the Merlot. This highest-rated recipe boasts a finger-lickin’ homemade adobo sauce of fresh garlic, onions and dried guajillo chiles that are mild in heat but packed with flavor.

If you know that you’ll still be drinking come dessert, plan ahead to serve slices of Paula’s Cream Cheese Pound Cake With Grilled Plums to enjoy with the Merlot. The soft cake and sweet, juicy plums will match the light, fruity flavors of the wine.

If you’re new to the wine world or simply want to experiment with new tastes, give entwine wines a try — they’re meant to be approachable and easy to drink. Look for them in four different varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay, and remember, no matter which wines you choose to pair with which recipes, be sure to enjoy what you’re drinking and eating.

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