Fourth of July parties call for quaffable, affordable, and, of course, American wines.
I like rose’ wines in the summer. They’re eye-pleasing and filled with flavors ranging from strawberry to cherry to cranberry. Refreshingly chilled and lower in alcohol, roses are festive and perfect for informal parties.
Wolffer Estate on Long Island offers a delicious 2010 rose’ made from 50 percent merlot and remainder divided between cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, pinot noir and chardonnay. Its salmon color and floral and red berry scents are delightful first impressions, and the first sip is full of cherry flavors with a mineral aftertaste. Unlike many American roses, it’s full-bodied with a dry, clean finish.
Serve the 2010 Wolffer Estate Rose’ as an aperitif, or with poached chilled salmon and sliced cucumbers tossed with sour-cream and chopped dill.
The 2010 Wolffer Estate Rose’ retails for approximately $18.
Clos du Bois is an old wine friend. The 2009 Clos du Bois North Coast Chardonnay gives you the California chardonnay aromas and flavors of pear and crème brulee. Its coffee-like finish from the pronounced toasted oak barrels used for aging is a bit much for me, but will please anyone who likes New World-styled chardonnay. And its reasonable price makes it easy on the party budget.
Pour a glass of the 2009 Clos du Bois North Coast Chardonnay with grilled chicken and potato salad.
The 2009 Clos du Bois North Coast Chardonnay retails for about $13.
Simply Naked is the name of the newest wine creation of Constellation Brands, the international wine and spirits company. Four wines are being marketed in America: chardonnay, pinot grigio, cabernet sauvignon and merlot. All have a California appellation, meaning the fruit comes from anywhere in the state, and all are 100 percent varietal wines.
The Simply Naked name reflects the absence of oak barrels in the winemaking process- good fruit fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks can be refreshing.
I found the 2010 Simply Naked Pinot Grigio to be the better of the two white wines. It has a pleasant melon and peach flavor with a citrus and mineral-like finish, while avoiding the 2010 chardonnay’s alcohol impact. The 2010 Simply Naked Pinot Grigio’s appealing price will allow you to fill the ice tub with it; and its refreshing style will make your guests empty it. It makes a delightful aperitif, or enjoy it with sushi rolls or crab cakes.
The 2010 Simply Naked Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon opens your palate to how enjoyable red wines can be without the influence of oak barrels.
The merlot is an explosion of ripe black cherry aroma and flavor laced with a touch of black pepper scent and taste. Good tannins and acidity keep the merlot from being too fruity, a characteristic in some naked-named wines.
The Cabernet Sauvignon has a pronounced blackberry and herbal aroma and flavor. It has a richer, more expansive mouth feel than the merlot, and maintains the good balance found in its red wine sibling.
Both the 2010 Simply Naked Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are perfect wines to serve with grilled meats, summer bluefish or tuna. On a hot summer day, I would serve them slightly chilled.
Constellation Brand’s size allows it to make and market the Simply Naked wines at bargain prices. All four wines retail for approximately $9.