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Hot dog & wine options for the 4th

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It's summer and the 4th of July is approaching. That means easy meals on the grill, backyard gatherings and cheap wines. Now don't get me wrong, cheap does not mean bad, it just means less expensive. You will never hear me advocate bad wine. Good value, yes! So, let's get back out to the grill and discuss a few of your grilling options for this year's celebration.

There are so many great ways to fix a hot dog so I hope you're not planning on just slapping one in a bun and handing it to someone. Let's think outside the box this year. You probably make the same old dogs every year. Not that they are bad or anything, it's just that they are the same. Why not go crazy on the dogs and show the neighbors you are indeed a master chief and not just some grill hound. Take a peek at these ideas and see if it gets your creative juices flowing.

We live in Charlotte, NC so you should have a Carolina Dog on the menu (mustard, chili, slaw, onions). Maybe you have friends from the north, so a Coney Island Dog would be nice to have also (chili, onions, mustard). Now let's throw caution to the wind and add a Texas Fire Dog (sautéed onions, jalapenos, cheese and ketchup). Then last but not least, how about a Mango Chutney Dog (mango chutney, red onions, cilantro, Dijon mustard). That's a menu that screams, "I know what I'm doing".

Now we need wine and with all the different options on the menu, we need wines that pair with each unique dog. That calls for at least 4 different wines. Yes, I said 4 wines. Remember, this year you are the master chief and you don't want to have this great backyard menu and then fall short on your beverages. You can always go back to being a grill hound next year if you want to.

First let's look at the Carolina Dog. I would recommend a nice Zinfandel or better yet 2009 Bogle Phantom. The Coney calls for something like a 2011 Oak Grove Pinot Grigio Reserve or a 2010 Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling. Your Texas Fire Dog is big and bold and it needs a wine that can handle all that flavor. Try a 2010 Shoofly Shiraz or even a spicy 2010 Sextant "Wheelhouse" Zinfandel. Now we come to a dog that I think will surprise you. The flavors are fantastic, both salty and sweet. I'm thinking a 2008 Arthur Metz Gewurztraminer or a simple sparkling wine.

Remember that good meat makes a good dog. It's a given that you don't skimp on your hot dogs. It's also a given that you have firm plates that don't leak and lots of napkins. A great hot dog is inherently messy.

There you go. You now have the perfect recipe for a monumental 4th of July grilling experience.

Now get out there and burn yourself a wiener.

TheWineaux@juno.com

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