Grills smoking, friends gathering and fireworks exploding are pieces of the Fourth of July mosaic. These American wines will complete your national holiday party.
Your guests will be bubbling from their arrival when you pour 2007 Domaine Carneros Brut sparkling wine. Owned by Taittinger, this Champagne-styled wine is one of California’s best. It’s a blend of chardonnay and pinot noir, and has Taittinger’s elegance and the Carneros region’s rich, flavorful fruit.
The 2007 Domaine Carneros Brut retails for about $25.
I can’t think of a better American white wine for hot summer days than the 2011 Ponzi Willamette Valley Pinot Gris. Dick and Nancy Ponzi were Oregon wine pioneers when they moved there in the late 1960s. Today their daughter Luisa is the winemaker, and her wines have the precision that made Ponzi a top-notch American winery from its inception.
The 2011 pinot gris is fermented and aged in stainless-steel tanks without any malolatic fermentation, which preserves the purity of its fresh fruit and acidity. A modest 13 percent alcohol keeps the focus on the refreshing and flavorful fruit, just what you want on hot, summer days. Serve this delightful wine with crab cakes, grilled shrimp, or a chicken and apple salad.
The 2011 Ponzi Willamette Valley Pinot Gris. It retails for approximately $16.
The fashion for overripe fruit, palate-numbing 14.5 to 16 percent alcohol and excessive oak aging makes any California red wine a challenge to drink on hot summer days. But the 2009 Rodney Strong Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon has a history of being a balanced wine.
Strong might have been California’s original wine impresario. In 1959, he began his wine career in Sonoma County after his professional ballet and Broadway dancing career ended. He used his stage personality to focus a spotlight on his wines at a time when California wines were unknown to the public. Thirty years later, he sold his vineyards and winery to the Klein family, who continue to produce good value Rodney Strong wines.
The 2009 cabernet sauvignon has a very attractive black cherry and mild herbal scent. Its medium body- typical for Rodney Strong Sonoma County wines- carries a tasty blackberry and toasted hazelnut mix with soft, integrated tannins.
Pour a glass with grilled meats, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself doing a few soft shoe steps after a few sips of this very pleasing wine. Rodney Strong never put away his dancing shoes.
The 2009 Rodney Strong Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon, it retails for about $14.