July 4th wine strategies

This year we are blessed with a long Fourth of July weekend. Beer may be principal beverage, but with three days to party, wine surely can be part of the fete.

Popular food-wine pairings for patriots:

• Hot dogs: Rosé, pinot blanc, crisp white wines.

• Chicken, fried or grilled: Chardonnay.

• Buffalo wings: Sweet versions of sparklings, riesling; Barefoot wines.

• Steak or hamburger: Red wine. Rich, marbled steaks, go with more tannins from cabernet sauvignon, malbec, syrah, nebbiolo, tempanillo, sangiovese, zinfandel.

• Shrimp: Dry rosé, dry riesling, sauvignon blanc.

• Fried catfish: Sauvignon blanc, dry rosé, pinot gris.

• Tex-Mex: Extra dry (slightly sweet) bubbly rosé for spicy food. Malbec, tempranillo, zinfandel for grilled meat, fajitas.

This can be time to experiment with wine in cans. Not as elegant as a bottle and a glass, but good for outdoors. Same goes for boxed wine/wine in a bag.

Given the day likely will be hot and the party long, chilled, low-alcohol sangria is a logical choice for an extended event.

Make sangria with almost any wine. Cheap works fine—the wine is just part of an ensemble cast. Avoid wines labeled “sangria.” This is inferior wine with flavorings. Much better to use real ingredients. The recipe below is a suggestion. Make it your own.

Multiply ingredients to suite your party’s size. Figure four or more people per 750 ml bottle. Estimate on high side; even non-wine drinkers will enjoy this, and it is inexpensive enough you will not lament if you throw some away. It also can be put in the refrigerator and enjoyed the next day.

• 750 ml of wine

• 1 lemon, 1 orange, 1 lime, 1 red apple. Cut into thin wedges. Do not peel or squeeze to make juice

• 2 tbsp sugar

• 1 cup pulpy orange juice

• 1 cup lemonade

• 1 can (20 oz) of diced pineapple (include juice)

• 3 shots triple sec or Grand Marnier

• 4 cups chilled ginger ale

• 1 cup raspberries or strawberries (fresh, thawed, or frozen)

Pour into pitcher: Wine, lemon, orange, lime, apple slices, pineapple, sugar, orange juice, lemonade, triple sec/Grand Marnier. Chill overnight—this is important, best sangrias marinate at least 12 hours.

Add ginger ale, whole berries just before serving. Serve with ladle so people can get some of the fruit to eat. Serve straight or over ice.

Last round: Fourth of July: Drink wine—feel fine. Drink beer—feel cheer. Drink Champagne—feel no pain. Drink water… uh, why bother.