Hang on, is that...is that a bit of sunshine and some blue sky? It is! Quick, set a fire in a metal tray and let's cook massive amounts of meat over it! Summer's pretty much here so it's time for men to be prove their worth by cooking meat in the most primitive fashion and for you girls to go prepare the salad (I am of course joking - besides, Lucienne did some MEAN ribs yesterday - go have a look!)
Family and friends are coming round and you've got a house full for the evening.
Steaks, burgers, kebabs, chops, sausages and ribs all piled high with a little hint of potato salad peeking through. What about drink? You've got the beer sorted and the vat of Pimms is chilling nicely and all you've got to do is sort the wine.
Here comes the minefield. You've got so many different food matches to consider, there's budget to think about and on top of it all there's that one friend that only drinks Brazilian Moscato because it was in South America that she really 'found herself'.
First bit of advice, forget about specific requests, they'll drink what they're given. I mean come on, they're already eating all of your food. Secondly, keep it simple. Below you'll find some barbecue staples and a few suggestions of what will go best.
Chilli Prawn Skewers.
Fish on a bbq is an absolute must. You can make your own or you can buy them pre-packaged, both are fine. Where red is the usual bbq choice, this dish definitely calls for a white wine. Something aromatic and dry but with enough fruit to calm the spice.
Viognier is a great choice. More specifically, Yalumba Y Series Viognier. A big, fatty number but still with enough acidity to stand up to shell fish and a lick of sweetness to match the chilli. It's packed with peach, stone fruit and a little kick of spice to keep things interesting.
On offer in Sainsburys for £7.50
Minted Lamb Kebabs.
As a leading Sommelier once said... Rioja goes with lamb. He is right, but in this instance I'm deviating slightly.
It's still from Spain and it's still made from the Tempranillo grape but it's just not from Rioja. Finca Carelio Tempranillo from Castilla Y Leon is probably my favourite wine find of the year so far. Rich, complex and superbly smooth, it has a black fruit core with lashings of vanilla, toast and leather.
Currently on offer at Majestic for £6.66
For this, a good hearty red is always a good option. La Voie Faugeres from the marvellous Katie Jones offers plenty of jammy fruit, sweet spice and earthy characteristics that blend seamlessly into a wonderfully smooth finish.
Get it from Naked Wines for £12.99. Angels get further discount.
Pulled Pork / Ribs
It doesn't matter whether it's pulled to shreds or still stuck to the bone, just as long as it's smothered in sweet, sticky barbecue sauce! Marinade it over night, slow-cook it for a good few hours and finish it off on the fire for an hour.
What do you pair with it? Crozes Hermitage Les Papillons, Domaine Gilles Robin is 100% Syrah from the North of the Rhone Valley. Ripe berry fruit with hints of violet, rose and a whiff of white pepper, this is made in a deliberately earlier style.
Available from The Wine Society for £11.95
Is there anything better than a thick, red, juicy slab of cow browning away over an open fire? Unless you're a vegetarian, then no. There are those that will tell you that steak deserves 'the proper treatment' and shouldn't be barbecued. They are heathens and they are wrong. Smoky and charred is one of the best ways to enjoy beef.
It's a cliché match but it works every time - malbec. It's big business right now and will only be bigger over the next few months. Catena Malbec from Argentina is rich, smoky, full of blackcurrant and plum flavour, this is the Daddy of Argentine Malbec.
Currently in Waitrose for £12.99
As always, these are just some simple suggestions. The main thing to think about is whether you actually like whatever it is you're serving! So get those shorts on, brush the cobwebs off of the patio furniture and have fun this summer!