Check out our more recent addition (with up-to-date reviews) of Great Wines When You’re Grilling 


For this next installment of great wines when you’re grilling, we thought it might be nice to focus on simple and straight-forward recipes that were still quite tasty. The people who make San-J sauces offered us a dish that fit perfectly into our more simplistic focus.

The recipe is for a Grilled Lemon and Herb Chicken. Of course, it sounds like a very light, bright dish. The twist, however, is that the main ingredient in the marinade is San-J Sweet & Tangy Sauce, which has some Polynesian influence, so it’s slightly sweet. Thus, when it comes to pairing the chicken with a wine, a light, bright wine, like Sauvignon Blanc, isn’t your best bet because it could end up being overpowered. Wines with a rounder mouthfeel and lush fruit held up better to the chicken’s flavors. This means floral Rhone-style whites and creamier Chardonnays were what our panel gravitated towards. Here are some recommendations. (You can read our full reviews of the wine if you click on their links.)

Toccata 2010 Malvasia Bianca

Conundrum 2009 White Blend

Martin’s Vineyard 2010 Viognier

Hunt Cellars 2008 Twilight Time Viognier

Hunt Cellars 2009 Cinq D’ Blanc

J. Lohr 2009 Riverstone Chardonnay

De Loach 2009 Chardonnay

Bernardus 2009 Chardonnay


Grilled Lemon-Herb Chicken


1 ½ cups San-J Sweet & Tangy Sauce
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3-4 pounds fryer chicken, cut into individual pieces





In a large glass or plastic mixing bowl, combine the San-J Sweet & Tangy Sauce, lemon juice, parsley, thyme and rosemary. Add the chicken pieces and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator, turning occasionally, for at least 3 hours or overnight.Preheat an outdoor grill to medium heat. Place the marinated chicken pieces on the grill and cook with the lid closed for 45 to 60 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. Cook until the juices run clear and a meat thermometer registers 180°F.

Makes 6 Servings

Grilling Pork

When it comes to pork, we prefer more subtle sauces to bold, overpowering ones. This recipe from Chef Kurt Chausse is a favorite because of its simplicity, as well as its softer flavors that really allow the character of an accompanying wine to show through. With the mushrooms, tomatoes, and beef stock, there’s enough richness to warrant some body and red fruit flavors in a wine. But pork is still fairly light, so something like a Cabernet or Syrah is more likely to overwhelm the dish. Thus, our panel has selected a few lighter blends along with some very nice Pinot Noirs. (Click the wine’s link to read more about it.)

Peju Provence Blend

Morgan 2009 Cotes Du Crow

Round Pond 2008 Nebbiolo

J. Lohr 2009 Fog’s Reach Pinot Noir

J. Lohr 2010 Falcon’s Perch Pinot Noir

Scheid Vineyards 2008 Pinot Noir

Alma Rosa 2008 Pinot Noir

Grilled Eden Natural Pork Chop with Forestiere Sauce
By Chef Kurt Chausse, Aunt Maude’s, Ames, Iowa

1 (10 oz.) Pork Chop
Forestiere Sauce (recipe below)
TT Salt and Pepper

Procedures for Pork Chop:
1. Grill pork chop until desired doneness,
2. Season well with salt and pepper.

Forestiere Sauce Ingredients:
1 tbls. Unsalted Butter
1 tbls. Chopped Shallots
1 tspn. Chopped Garlic
4 oz. Mixed Mushrooms
2 fl. oz. rich Beef Stock
6 Grape Tomatoes (each quartered)
TT Salt and Pepper

TT Red wine

Procedure for sauce:
1. Melt butter in sauce pan. Add garlic and shallots and sweat for about two minutes.
2. Add mushrooms and red wine, reduce until almost dry.
3. Add beef stock, reduce until sauce coats the back of a spoon.
4. Add tomatoes, season with salt and pepper to taste.


A good BBQ sauce is a wonderful thing. It’s possible to find a few pretty good ones in the store, but there’s just something about a homemade sauce that stands out. Sure, opening a bottle is real easy. Making Chef Matt Martinez’s simple sauce really isn’t much more difficult. Plus, there’s orange marmalade in it, and the unique flavor created was something we all really enjoyed, especially with chicken breats or pork ribs.

For chicken, simply grill it up and slather the sauce on. You can marinade the chicken beforehand if you wish. For ribs, we like to season them first.

For each rack combine.
1 tspn cumin
1 tspn chili powder
1 tspn garlic powder
1 tspn salt
Mix the spices together then spread liberally over ribs. Cook for 20 min before topping ribs with BBQ sauce.

Matt’s Simple Barbecue Sauce
By Chef Matt Martinez, Matt’s No Place, TX

1 Lemon (Juice)
1 3/4 cups Ketchup
2 tbls. Worcestershire Sauce
1 tspn. Prepared Yellow Mustard
2 tbls. Brown Sugar
2 tbls. Distilled White Vinegar
3 tbls. Orange Marmalade
2 tbls. Butter (optional)

Yeilds: 1 1/4 cups

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan, except for the butter. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Let sauce simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the butter. Use the sauce to baste the meat while cooking. Also, serve hot on the side.

BBQ Chicken Wines

Since the sauce isn’t a bold one, with chicken, softer Zins match well. They’re not as tannic as the heavier red varietals and since chicken doesn’t have the fat content red meat does, there’s no need for extra body. Plus, a lack of spicy, peppery notes means the wine won’t overwhelm the sauces’ flavor. We’d suggest the following. (Read each wine’s full review by clicking on it.)

Summit Lake 2007 Zinfandel

J J Cellars 2008 Zinfandel

Loma Linda 2008 Zinfandel

De Loach 2009 Zinfandel

BBQ Pork Ribs Wines

With the seasoning on them, the ribs have much more pizazz than the chicken. Therefore, wines that have a bit more body or acid are important to stand up to the more robust flavors. Drink a softer, more elegant wine, lacking these qualities and its flavors will be relegated to the background by bold ribs. We’d offer this group a wines as excellent options because they have enough character to show well with the ribs. (Click on them to read their reviews.)

Tamas Estates 2009 Zinfandel

Chiarito Winery 2007 Zinfandel

Harmnoy Cellars 2008 Barbera

Autumn Flight Barbera

Vina Robles 2009 Red 4 Blend