The perfect barbecue and the wine to pair it with

The perfect barbecue and the wine to pair it with

Updated on 12 March 2018

The perfect barbecue and the wine to pair it with

Get ready to grill the Argentinean way this summer – matched to the country’s ideal wine for outside dining

graffignahis summer, don’t say barbecue – say asado. The authentic Argentinian way to enjoy al fresco dining is a winning combination of rich flavours, including char-grilled meat, tempting sides and tasty starter dishes, particularly empanadas and picada – an enticing mix of cold meats and cheeses.

There’s one other element that is vital to the perfect asado – the right wine. Here Graffigna Malbec is the ideal solution: a bold, passionate red wine to match the powerful flavours of the food, and the embodiment of the dedication and passion that has gone into crafting Graffigna wines for nearly 150 years.

Graffigna wine bottle shot malbecGraffigna Malbec (Sainsbury’s, £9)

Aroma: Intense and fruit-forward, with ripe red berries, sweet spices and a hint of black pepper, backed by toasted notes from its oak ageing.

Palate: Structured and balanced, with ripe tannins and fresh acidity that leads to toasted and vanilla hints on the finish.

Food matching: Very versatile. It pairs well with lamb and grilled beef, barbecued poultry and roasted vegetables.


It all started when Santiago Graffigna, an Italian immigrant and a passionate explorer, arrived in Argentina to work for his uncle with only one lira in his pocket.

Seduced by the beauty and untapped potential of the San Juan area, he established his own winery there in 1870 to share with the world his discovery of a new and untapped wine terroir.

Santiago was a true pioneer, leading the expansion of the railway to bring his wines to new consumers, and the winery went on to accomplish many firsts, including the use of gravity in winemaking and the creation of Radio del Vino, the first radio broadcast outside Buenos Aires.

Graffigna Malbec is the ideal solution: a bold, passionate red wine to match the powerful flavours of the food

Since then, the fame of Graffigna has spread around the world, with the winery’s ‘never timid’ philosophy bringing its bold selection of wines to more than 25 countries, and making it the most popular premium-plus wine from Argentina in the UK.

Today, Santiago Graffigna’s entrepreneurial spirit and – to use the local word – his “passion” lives on in Graffigna, through an uncompromising determination to make the finest wines from the best vineyard regions in Argentina.

As a ‘multi-altitude wine’, Graffigna Malbec captures this way of thinking perfectly, combining as it does grapes from vineyards planted at various heights and benefiting from Argentina’s perfect grape-growing climate.

From the lower altitudes (at about 2,300ft) come wines with freshness and fruit, sweet tannins and spices; while the higher altitudes (4,600ft) bring intensity, structure, a deep colour, firm tannins and a beguiling freshness.

It’s an approach that captures the quintessential “passion” that lives in the heart of Argentinian winemaking and the country’s way of life, and that – like the authentic asado of which it is an indispensable part – truly represents the spirit, flavours and culture of the country.

The Perfect Asado (barbecue)

Graffigna wine and meat stock image

Sunny skies, the heady smell of smoke and food served straight off the grill… there’s nothing quite like a good barbecue – or asado, as Argentineans like to say. But getting it right isn’t always easy, so here are some top grilling tips.

Charcoal barbecues require a little more skill and patience than gas ones, but are well worth it for the flavour. Pile up the coals in a pyramid shape and light them at least 30 minutes before you plan to cook (a charcoal chimney can help speed things up). Wait until the flames have completely died down and the coals turn ash grey and are glowing red inside – that’s when you’re ready to start cooking. Spread the coal out over the base of the barbecue, but leave a section with no coal; it’s handy to have a cool spot if things start to burn.

Invest in a pair of long-handled tongs, and think about what you’re cooking: a steak requires brief searing over hot coals, but sausages will take longer and should be turned regularly over a cooler part of the barbecue. The hottest spot is usually right in the centre, so use this for burgers, thin-cut meat, tuna steaks and vegetables that you want to sear quickly. And just as you would at any other time, take meat out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking, and let it rest for at least 5 minutes after.

Marinated chicken is best cooked in the oven first and then finished on the barbecue – that way you don’t risk undercooking the middle and burning the marinade. Whole fish like sea bass are wonderful stuffed with lemon and herbs, brushed with oil and placed in a fish basket to cook over the barbecue . (They can also be laid straight on the grills too, it’s just a little more fiddly to turn them.) Cauliflower wedges, corn on the cob and portobello mushrooms are particularly barbecue-friendly vegetables and require little more than a brush of softened garlicky butter and some flaky sea salt.