Wine on Fourth of July: Red, White & Brew…oh yeah, Rosé too!

The Stars and Stripes hoisted above us on porches and flag poles, playlists across the land broadcasting patriotic favorites from Bruce Springsteen and Lee Greenwood alike.  Every red blooded American can attest to the power a single day like the 4th of July can have over you.  Charged with pride of country, this is one of the most anticipated Holidays of the summer and with a few extra days off, you’ll have plenty of time to celebrate.  Let’s face it, there’s never a shortage of parades, picnics and BBQs to attend.  Yet if you’re hosting there can be a lot of pressure to pull off a menu and bar offering that’ll leave your friends and family feeling the fireworks.  Frett not as we’ve assembled an all American wine & beer lineup that’ll set the standard for the remainder of the summer!

This is the type of bash where the menu is broad and diverse in flavors.  Appetizers include skewered veggies and fruit salads, dips with crunchy counterparts, and let’s not forget our favorite; bacon wrapped pickles.  Yeah, that’s a thing.  Elements of sweet, savory, salty, join forces with layers of acid, fat, bitter and spice to cover the plate.  Combined, these flavor components have one common thread: big flavors in small bites.  The key to a perfect pairing with a broad range of appetizers is to focus on beverages that help cleanse the palate in mouthwatering fashion, encouraging guests to explore the smorgasbord.  Bright white wines with snappy acidity will cut through fatty flavors and match nicely with any foods sporting citrus.  One of our favorites is Haraszthy Family Cellars Bearitage Sauvignon Blanc, hailing from Lodi’s warm vineyard sites.  A medium bodied example of Sauvignon with a core of gooseberry flavor and a firm backbone of lime zest.  A bottle of bubbly Rosé is an excellent companion to foods forward with salty and savory elements.  One of the best sparkling wine producers in the USA is Gruet, and from an unlikely place with vineyards in New Mexico.  Made entirely in the Champagne Method (the way they trap the bubbles in the bottle) their Rosé will have you doing a double take.  The fresh red fruit flavors coupled to a touch of acid and mouth-tingling bubbles will lift any residuals and leave your palate feeling invigorated.  Reds are welcome here, but stay away from chewy, oaky versions as they’ll clash with lighter fare and bog your palate down with overly tannic flavors.  Turn towards racy reds with pure fruit character like an elegant Pinot Noir or a zesty  Zinfandel.   The fruit profile of each will be complimentary to many dishes, while the acidity of the Pinot will match brighter foods the spicy tones in the Zinfandel will tackle fatty and sweet appetizers.  We’re big fans of Crushed Winery’s Pinot Noir and Foxglove Zinfandel because they hit the mark without hurting the wallet!  For those of your guests seeking out some suds for their 4th of July celebration, a modern day classic is the Stony Creek Sun Juice.  Brewed right here in Branford, there’s something the Belgians’ got right when fermenting a wheat beer with citrus peel & spices.  Sun Juice recreates those flavors with a local flare, making for a refreshing beer with silky texture, subtle spice and a fruity complexity that begs to be poured at your party.

Celebrating the Star Spangled banner deserves a main course with real American flavors.  To ignore the USA’s impressive BBQ culture would be a faux pas on the Fourth.  Whether it’s low and slow pork with a sweet spicy sauce or a perfectly seasoned brisket, to the roast veggies and potato salad on the side.  One things for sure, these deep flavors are going to need wines with plenty of personality to pair.  The ideal white has a level of richness that doesn’t come off as overdone or smothering, leaving Sauvignon Blanc out of the question.  White blends can be interesting here too, yet when considering Domestic Whites; it’s hard to ignore the Chardonnay revolution that’s quietly taking place.  Many top producers are resisting the urge to over-oak and are instead, leaning towards balanced styles.  The best examples here have layers of apple and pear flavors with notions of peach, crème fraiche, all bound together with a vein of refreshing acidity.  Osso Anna Chardonnay from Napa Valley is the quintessential white wine for your party, hitting on all these flavors and making your meal all the more satisfying.  Rosé has become such a hot topic in the world of wine because of it’s versatility and we’ve got just the one for this occasion.  Copain Tous Ensemble Rosé is a vibrant and energetic wine with flavors ranging from watermelon to grapefruit, delivering a medium body framed by a touch of tannin and laser like acidity.  Bring on the pulled pork!  If you’ve been axiously anticipating a recommendation for big, bold red; rest assured as it was worth the wait.  Buoncristiani O.P.C. Napa Red is the only red good enough for a brisket that’s worth a second serving.  A glass staining color, the aroma boasts of crème de cassis, blueberries, red cherry, violets and vanilla.  The palate offers up layers of sweet smoke, light spice and supple tannins that seem to melt into the taste of great brisket!  This vinous and culinary combination are the equivalent of fireworks for the flavor seeker at your party!  When it comes to brew, there’s an obvious local choice that hits all the right notes in flavor and sentiment.  Thimble Island Brewing Company’s American Ale is a requisite on the Fourth.  Deeply pitched with a beautiful Amber color, the aromas and flavors are remarkably well balanced between malt and hop.  A core of apple medley and brown sugar are met by a backdrop of citrus zest.

Are you serving something different?  Bring your Holiday menu to the Bottle Stop nearest you for some expert advice on how to boost your Fourth of July flavors!