It is almost July 4th again. Summer has finally arrived, and it is time to take to eating outdoors. Which wines will you serve for your gatherings and celebrations? Do you feel nationalistic and always choose American wines or does it matter, as long as you are having fun?
Given the economic struggles of the past 12 months, more than ever before we want value for money. Thankfully there are lots of great wines available that are both delicious and gentle on the wallet.
In our house we try to stick to American wines for July 4th celebrations. America has become such an important player in the wine world. As I mentioned this time last year, the American wine industry is going from strength to strength. Even with the global recession taking its toll, the American wine market still remains the largest in the world, and actually grew by 1.5% in 2008.
While California accounts for the lions share of production, don't forget the other key states of Oregon, Washington and New York, which produce many amazing wines, or the fact that wine is actually produced in every single state. As wine shipping laws relax, it is increasingly possible to buy wines directly from other states.
Below are some great wines that I have recently tasted that will be sure to please at any July 4th gathering.
• Gloria Ferrer Brut NV, Sonoma, $15 - Lovely and refreshing, with persistent bubbles.
• Roederer Estate Brut NV, Anderson Valley, $18 - A longtime favorite in our house. Crisp, refreshing, very smooth mousse and flavors of apple, brioche and citrus.
• Chandon Rose Brut NV, Napa Valley, $15 - Who doesn't love sparkling rose? It always feels so wonderfully indulgent. Lots of ripe red berries and refreshing mousse.
• 2007 Franciscan Chardonnay, California, $15 - Classic California Chardonnay. Ripe melon, pear and toasty oak notes. Clean and fresh on the palate.
• 2008 Three Thieves Bandit White Wines (Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay), California, $10 - Extremely eco-friendly packaging – available in Box and Tetra Pak – so great for outdoor picnics. And the wine is great too. Fresh, fruity and so very drinkable. Check out their red wines as well.
• 2007 Cooper Mountain Vineyards Pinot Gris Reserve, Willamette Valley, Oregon, $15 – Biodynamically produced. juicy, refreshing and packed with flavors of tangerine, Asian pear, ruby grapefruit and peach. Long length and finish
• 2008 Channing Daughters Cabernet Sauvignon Rosato, Hamptons, Long Island, $15 - A really delicious wine. Salmon pink color, medium bodied, dry with savory herbal notes, red currants, watermelon and a touch of raspberry. Great with grilled meats.
• 2008 Fleur de California Vin Gris Rosé, Rose of Pinot Noir, Carneros, $14 - Delicate pale color with lots of ripe red fruit. Redcurrant, strawberry and touch of watermelon
• 2004 Lenz Merlot, North Fork, Long Island, $13 - Made from 30 year old vines. Brooding and packed with plummy dark fruit, prunes, tobacco leap, pepper and mixed spice.
• 2007 Louis M. Martini Cabernet, Sonoma, California, $13 – A full-bodied, fruit driven wine, brimming with ripe black fruit - blackcurrants and berries, plums, black pepper, toasty vanilla. Smooth and round on the palate.
• 2006 Lang & Reed Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley, $15 - Fruit forward, refreshing. Aromas and flavors of black currant, blackberry, raspberry with hints of spice and a lifted floral note. Smooth tannins and medium bodied.
Have a great July 4th weekend. Tune in next week, where I will be posting from some lovely Greek vineyards.