July 4th falls on Thursday, dicey day for a holiday. Some will enjoy flag waving four-day weekend, while others must soldier up, salute job responsibilities, take the fifth on Friday.
Summer celebrations call for less alcoholic, chilled wines. Forego the big bad reds of deep winter. Embrace gossamer delights of rosé, Prosecco, vinho verde. If you have followed my recent wine trend reports, you know rosé and Prosecco are firework rockets of wine the past year or more. Also cue up Portugal’s vinho verde, plus Spain/Portugal albariño/alvarinho—three wines made with basically the same grape and in same area, northern Portugal and northwest Spain near the Atlantic.
The common theme of lighter wine is freshness, crispness, food friendly—especially with seafood and shellfish. They also are relatively low alcohol, which enhances their ability to pair with food. More and more people realize wine should be the complementary liquid part of a meal, not a brutal, pay-attention-only-to-me player in the repast.
Lighter wines have distinct advantage of being perfect for sipping cold while on patio, porch, picnic, or pool side. They also appeal to wider range of revolution revelers than cab and zin heavy hitters.
Of course, if you are putting marbled steaks on the barby, there is Australian shiraz, or T-bones on the grill, there is California oak and wood cabs and zins, or planked salmon in the oven, there is Willamette Valley pinot noir. All well and good, but you could do lighter crisp and refreshing during the day and shift to heavier stuff in the evening while munching meats. If you adopt that strategy, however, don’t plan on being very productive on Friday the fifth.
• Charles Smith Wines Band of Roses Rosé: Classic summer sipper. Will be appreciated by those who enjoy light, non-assertive wines with delicious fruit, no tannins, tame acidity. $11-13 Link to my review
• La Marca Prosecco DOC NV: Pleases range of palates with balance of fruitiness, whisper of sweetness, brisk acidity. Wonderfully refreshing, subdued alcohol so can be enjoyed any time of day. $13-14 Link to my review
• Ramōn Bilbao Albariño 2016: Crisp, fresh, refreshing. Superb expression of albariño. Smooth with grapefruit tartness. Long finish with classic dash of saline. $12-15 Link to my review
Last round: My favorite wine pairing on July 4th is good wine, good friends, no politics. Let us enjoy what unites, not petty things that divide.