Great Wine Buys for An All American 4th of July

JoAnn LoGiurato

Our nation’s birthday brings out the patriotism in me. I like to make a toast to American winemakers by celebrating with all American wines on the 4th of July. Whether you are at the beach, the pool, picnicking in the park or on your boat, here are some wine recommendations and things to consider before the fireworks get started:

1~The wine needs to quench my thirst—for that I prefer wines with good acidity and crispness.  I’m thinking-- a crisp, juicy Sauvignon Blanc. I like these California producers Girard ($16), Merry Edwards ($35), and LEED certified, organically grown Hall Napa Valley ($20). I also really enjoy the smokiness of Ferrari Carano Fume´Blanc ($17).  Sauvignon Blanc is great with green salads, vegetarian dishes and anything with goat cheese or fresh tomatoes.

2~ The wine needs to be lower in alcohol—if you are planning to start drinking the wine during the day, you want to remember that low alcohol wines will not pack the punch that higher alcohol wines do. Look for wines with less than 12% alcohol. Try a delicious Washington Riesling. A favorite of mine is Eroica ($22) 11.5% alc.  A collaboration between Washington grower Chateau St. Michelle, and an eminent producer from Germany. The wine is made in the US, but the style of the wine is inspired by the tangy, minerally, peach-tinged flavors of a great German Riesling. It’s a wonderful wine with sushi, shellfish—like scallops and grilled corn salad, smoked salmon cakes, Caribbean or Asian inspired salads.

3~Since we are celebrating our nation’s birthday, it’s nice to remember the small, local, independent American wine producers that made our nation what it is today. Consider drinking wines from local vineyards like those from Litchfield County, coastal Connecticut, Long Island or the Hudson Valley.  I like the approachability of Hopkins Vineyard Duet ($13). This wine is a blend of estate grown Chardonnay and Vidal Blanc from a wonderful Litchfield County winery.  The wine has a pretty nose of crisp granny smith apples and peaches and pairs really well with simple rotisserie or fried chicken.

4~Sometimes a box works—think boxed wines, especially for boating or picnics—bypass the stigma that is often associated with these wines, and you may be surprised at the great value, and how eco-friendly they can be. The packaging is so light that it produces only half the carbon dioxide emissions than its counterpart—the bottle!  Black Box Paso Robles, Cabernet Sauvignon ($23)  5Liters equivalent  to 4-- 750ml bottles!).  The Paso Robles appellation designation indicates that the wine comes from grapes grown primarily in this acclaimed growing region in Central California. It has the aromatic punch of vanilla and oak with flavors of sweet black cherry and currant fruit. It’s a nice, easy drinking Cabernet without the gripping tannins that some Cali Cabs can have.  This wine will make any steak eater happy, and will be a great accompaniment to grilled portabella mushrooms, too!

5~ Think Zinfandel, I can’t think of a more American bottle to open than red Zinfandel. Yes, I know, the grape has its roots in Croatia or Italy, but it is pretty much exclusively American.  I like the red berry fruit flavors and light black pepper notes of Seghesio Zinfandel Sonoma County ($23) or well-priced , easy-drinking Four Vines Zinfandel ($12) Zins are great with hamburgers, ribs and just about any meat off the grill. 

Author’s Note: Please see my Wine Chat listing, Friday, June 11 for more Summer wine Recommendations!