Explosive American-Made Wines for the Fourth of July
It’s the fireworks, it’s always been the fireworks. As a kid, July 4th meant summer was fully here, which meant we got to stay up “late” to watch neighbors shoot off rockets and roman candles. Later, I came to understand the history behind it. It is all about the celebration of the birth of our democratic nation, but even as an adult, I still delight in the sight of fireworks. The only difference now is there are fun additions to the celebration like delicious foods and drinks.
This year’s July 4th celebration will be a special one, considering everything that 2020 has already brought us. Yes, we tend to think beer first when it comes to the Fourth, but wine can also perfectly pair with many barbecue or grilling dishes.This patriotic holiday is an opportune time to celebrate some of the great domestic wines we have from not only California, but also Washington, Oregon and New York State. You may not be doing a grilling extravaganza this year with everyone you know, but that shouldn’t stop the celebration. Let’s review some great American wine options for your Fourth of July, from white to Rosé to red and maybe even a sparkling. These wines pair quite well with all kinds of grilled fare from true barbecue, to grilled steaks, tempeh and vegetables.
Block 043 Sauvignon Blanc | California
Do you want to gift a premium wine, but without the premium price tag? Any vino in the Block Wine Collection would be a great choice. Our certified wine experts purchase juice from high-end wineries and bottle them under the Block label, so you pay less. The Block 043 Napa Fume Blanc is an incredible value for Napa wine, showing fresh gooseberry and citrus acidity, without the heavy grapefruit pith found in Marlborough Sauvies, finishing with a touch of white peach. Clean and refreshing on a hot afternoon, this is perfect for an outdoor celebration when you need to cool off a little. It pairs perfectly with all seafood, but this Sauvignon Blanc can also pair well with grilled chicken and even bratwursts fresh off the barbie.
Hayes Ranch Rosé | California
We tend to think of Rosés as a wine for the seaside, to pair with fresh fish or with a cheeseboard. But I also find Rosé wines pair very well with lighter barbecue, like chicken, where the juicy fruit flavors play well with the sweet and spicy character of classic barbecue. This Hayes Ranch is made for ABC by Wente and is a classic Provence blend of Grenache and Mourvedre. It has light notes of strawberry and pomegranate on the nose with a full fruit component of red currants and cherries on the palate, with just a touch of acid on the finish to help with food pairing. This wine is bright and refreshing and over delivers at this price.
Hitch Pinot Noir | California
A recent addition to our stores, the Hitch Pinot Noir has garnered an 89-point rating from Wine Spectator. Pinot Noir is excellent to pair with lighter grilled fare like salmon, chicken and veggies. This Central Coast Valley Pinot Noir has typical notes of tart cherry with a toasted herb and earth sub-strata finishing with a hint of homemade pie crust. From Edna Valley, the Sideways part of California, this wine exhibits typical fruit-forward characteristics but is backed with excellent acidity, giving structure to the red fruit flavors making it such a good food-pairing wine.
Ancient Peaks Renegade | California
This stunning Syrah-dominated red blend from Paso Robles is my absolute favorite to pair with barbecue. The black pepper spice of Syrah and white pepper of Malbec meet the ripe juiciness of Zinfandel and Petite Syrah, with just a little Petit Verdot to give it minerality, which creates an unabashed fruit bomb of a wine with surprising layers of complexity. Barbecue is smoky, sweet and spicy and this incredible blend brings all of that to the picnic table through the selection of varietals and through the toasted oak of their barrels. Ancient Peaks resides in a particular corner of the Paso Robles AVA, making the most of their microclimate and micro-geology to create stunning wines that garner excellent scores and are still produced at affordable prices.
Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay | California
One of the classic Sonoma Chardonnays, Ferrari-Carano brings all the toasted oak, vanilla and butter anyone could want in a California Chardonnay and it has for decades. The smooth mouthfeel with a creamy finish makes it a Chardonnay that has a very broad appeal and shows notes of graham cracker, orange blossoms and yellow peach. Generally, this is a wine to pair with barbecue chicken, though it also pairs well with an introductory cheeseboard, just how I like to start my Fourth of July grilling.
Gruet Brut | New Mexico
How can we celebrate without popping open a bottle of bubbly? Gruet is bottled in New Mexico and is made up with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes sourced from California and Washington. The winery was started by a French family in 1984 that wanted to maintain the traditions and stylings of their family’s French Champagne, but create it in the good old U.S. of A. Laurent Gruet has taken over from his father and creates a consistently well-rated, good value sparkling wine with green apple, citrus and toasted brioche notes that has received 90+ ratings from all of the major wine publications. Pop a bottle of this as your fireworks go off and complete your July Fourth celebration in style.
Fox Run Semi-Dry Riesling | New York
Semi-dry Rieslings from the Finger Lakes have a very broad flavor appeal while being quite food-friendly when compared to other sweet wines like Moscato. This Riesling has hints of pineapple, lemon, and tangerine with just enough mineral acidity on the finish to make it light and refreshing. Slightly sweet wines are also great to balance out spicier foods, whether Asian fusion or Cajun spice, this Riesling can soften a spicy edge without competing with subtler flavors. Plus, it has no harsh or “bitter” taste for neophyte wine drinkers.
Planet Oregon Pinot Noir | Oregon
Oregon is the Pinot Noir state, so remember to give them a try as well. Planet Oregon is an organic offering made by Soter to reach a broader customer base since it’s under $20 per bottle. The last two vintages received 90-point ratings. A little more rustic than its California cousins, it is a perfect bridge to French Burgundy, with a little New World fruitiness combined with Old World mineral complexity. On the nose, you’ll get floral notes mingled with dark cherry and a hint of musky earth. On the palate, expect an explosion of cherry fruit, finished with crisp clarity and juicy acidity.
This year, let’s celebrate July 4th with a range of outstanding wines all grown and produced here, in the United States of America. Perhaps you want to start with a sparkling wine, or maybe you want to wait and pop that cork as the fireworks burst. Whatever way you want to celebrate this American holiday is just fine. Be safe, be smart and Always Be Celebrating!