“It was a warm, breezy July evening and we were with good friends whom we’ve known for 15 years. It was an informal get-together and I love those because we can bring wine.

“We started with gourmet potato chips while the grill was heating up, and we opened a bottle of bubbly from Spain. I loved the shabby-chic combination, and with the salt and fat of the chips it was amazingly good.

“They did cedar-planked grilled salmon. I was able to be a wine renegade and match it with a red wine. Salmon, when it’s grilled, takes on those beautiful smoky, woody, grilled flavours. … I chose a Canadian pinot noir. It’s a silky, light red wine that doesn’t have a lot of those mouth-drying tannins. Pinot noir is fantastic with grilled salmon. It’s one of the ultimate combinations.

“With a barbecue, those who don’t like to spend a lot of time cooking, can shine. … They like to get the flavour without the fuss when it comes to dinner.”