With the warmer weather upon us, it’s time to invite family and friends around for afternoons of witty banter, good food and great local Yass Valley region wines.  We are lucky to have local access to a wonderful range of varieties and styles, all of which are superbly matched with a bevy of BBQ’d delights. 

The super-hero white wine of the Yass Valley region is Riesling.  And there is nothing better than a ripping “Rizza” with freshly grilled seafood. 

The refreshing zing of Riesling’s citrus flavours goes superbly with freshly grilled snapper, whiting or flathead fillets.  Prep the fish by sprinkling with lemon zest, salt and pepper, extra virgin olive oil and grill until just cooked and the flesh starts to flake.  Squeeze a juicy lemon over the fillets and serve with your favourite Yass Valley region Riesling – the combination is sure to please. 

Adding chicken to the BBQ menu mix is a great way to level-up on flavour.  One option is to marinate whole chicken thighs in a blended mix of lemongrass, chilli, coriander, fish sauce and brown sugar.  Thread onto double skewers and grill over charcoal while continuing to baste and you will have the most sensational Asian BBQ’d chicken experience.  Another option is to slice breast fillets lengthways, marinate the same way and grill.  Serve with a local Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc – Woohoo! 

I’m a big fan of cool-climate Shiraz with BBQ’d lamb, seasoned with a dry rub of middle eastern or Moroccan spices.  The vibrant red and black fruit flavours of the Shiraz and cool climate spices work wonders with the flavour of the lamb. Try this with loin chops, cutlets or my BBQ favourite, the lamb backstrap.  Before grilling, let the lamb come to room temperature, rub with spice mix and sling straight onto the BBQ plate. 

Four Winds Kyeema Shiraz Viognier NV

Another great combination is classic cool climate Cabernet with a perfectly seared steak.  The refined elegance and subtle tannin structure of our Yass Valley Cabernets brings out the best in both the flavour and texture of the steak.  I prefer to BBQ steak on the bone for the extra flavour and meat juice retention, so a thick-cut rib-eye on the bone is ideal, but sirloin, eye-fillet or scotch fillet are great too.  Brought to room temperature, and seasoned liberally with salt, freshly cracked pepper, a lash of olive oil and grilled to medium-rare pinkness.  Let the steak rest well to let the juices redistribute and old mate Bob will be your uncle. 

Other BBQ besties are seared salmon fillets with a ripping Rosé, sausages with a succulent Sangiovese and rosemary crusted lamb cutlets with a tempting Tempranillo. 

So fire-up and enjoy – we all deserve it! 


Brent Lello, Yass Valley Times Wine Columnist