Wine suggestions for July 4th are laden with pairing perils.
The day is hot, the food is kitschy stuff like hot
dogs laden with mustard and sauerkraut, throw in salty chips, grilled onions, and a watermelon. Prudent course: recommend beer.
Prudence did not win the American Revolution. Onward into wine-hot dog July 4th suggestions:
• Sparkling wine. You already know sparkling goes with almost anything and is a party-starter. The bubbles and acidity will cut the frankfurter fattiness, while the citrus will play well with salty stuff. Pop some patriotic bubbly.
• Gewürztraminer. The aromatic wine is star in Alsace and Germany, areas known for sausage, so it’s a country-food pairing. More full bodied than most whites, gewürtz’s apple and lychee fruit flavors can be nice counterpoint to bratwurst’s brawn.
• Rosé. There are a range of rosé plays, from white zin to sparkling rosé to still rosé. Avoid sweeter versions, they create hot dog candy. Opt for drier rosés made from merlot or sangiovese; enjoy the cherry and strawberry notes while you toast the red, white, and blue.
• Riesling. Its gentle sweetness works with dogs, and its citric tang mellows mustard. Again, go for drier versions.
• Oaked chardonnay. The chard-wiener pairing is only passable, but buttery oak and bread work well together, and—hey—the bun is half the hot dog experience, too.
• Malbec. Malbec will not maul the hot dog’s flavors; cabs and shiraz will. Frankly, franks cannot stand up to monster tannins and jammy fruits. Malbec’s velvety, spicy black fruits and plums play well with the big dogs.
Final note of caution: if your Fourth fling involves chili dogs, forget about wine. Chili dog fire will vanquish vino. Go beer or margarita. Or put the chili crock pot on a pickup’s tailgate for louts pulling beer can tabs, while the gentry savors finer things from a tasteful table.
In the end, lift a toast to union and Old Glory. We fought a revolution so beer drinkers and wine drinkers could enjoy whatever they wanted without snob masters giving orders. It’s in the Constitution (Amendment 21).