Happy birthday, U.S.A.
If you intend to raise a glass of wine on the 242nd Independence Day, you have a variegated palette to pleasure your palate and/or make a patriotic statement.
If summer-friendly wine and versatile food pairing is your objective, rosé is the choice. Watermelon and strawberry flavors, lightness, freshness, and refreshing notes do well indoors and outdoors. It is superb food pairing with everything from hot dogs to salads to chicken to fish to blue-cheese potato salad.
You can opt for slightly sweet and inoffensive offerings such as white zinfandel, Barefoot bottles, and other lower-end blush efforts. But if you want to experience the full glory of rosé, go with dry rosé—an ascendant wine category. You will enjoy a wealth of choices. Serve cold.
If you are pulled toward patriotism, California zinfandel is the quintessential American wine. It also will go well with heartier red meats—barbecued ribs, grilled steaks, burgers and sliders. Word of caution. Unlike rosé, most zins pack an alcohol wallop. You can do a classic American ploy: sip rosé early in the heat of the day, then spin to zin in the evening when the heavy fare appears.
If homage to history is your thing, consider Madeira, the “wine of the revolution.” Myth has it Betsy Ross sipped the fortified Portuguese product while stitching Old Glory. Maybe, but there is no question wine built to survive long journeys across oceans was the most popular wine in the colonies at the time of the revolution. This is heady stuff, best reserved for final glass in the afterglow of your celebration marking the day our nation embarked upon the experiment that changed the history of the world.
• Simi Sonoma County Dry Rosé 2017: Clean, refreshing; brings body, weight to the glass. Deep salmon-red color pleasures the eye, wine pleases the palate. $15-18 Link to review
• Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Noir Rosé Willamette Valley 2017: Wonderfully expressive of PN rosé; superb acidity, is easy food pair. $22-23 Link to review
• Mazzocco Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley Briar, Sonoma County 2015: Big, high alcohol, load-of-fruit. Includes pretty much what people like in zin. $22-29 Link to review
• Chateau Montelena Calistoga Zinfandel 2014: Elegant, balanced, plays well with food, easy drinker, more refined and sleek than you typically expect from a California zin; famous maker. $37-39 Link to review
Last round: I am full of the spirit of July Fourth. It is called wine.
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