The 4th of July is all about grilling and picnicking. Sparkling wines are great to start the festivities. I adore Gruet from New Mexico as well as some Italian Proseccos and Spanish Cavas. However classic BBQ is what I love for the main meal. Your wines choices could range from Cabernet Sauvignons to Zins and even Syrahs these days.
Walla Walla Cabs have some inky, dusty notes—from the hot days—that can make them excel with grilled meats. L’Ecole 41 is one of my favorites. This dynamic region is producing so many exciting wines these days. K&L is one great store to find them at (with locations in the City and Redwood City.)
Sobon Estate's Zins from Amador County are amazing and a bargain. They are also supremely balanced, with good ribbons of acidity, which you don’t always get in regions with such hot days. This region also makes some delicious Barberas.
Don’t forget that the South Africans also jam when they make Syrahs, such as Nederburg. They even mix the grape up, with great success, in some of their blends. Rust-en-Vrede in Stellenbosch is one of my favorites. Other great regions to explore in South Africa (long flight but well worth the time) include Paarl and Franschhoek. The country is constantly seeing greater investment by key international winemakers.
A handful of Sonoma Coast Syrahs might be big, and full bodied enough to stand up to BBQ. I love the Rhônes but they are probably, in great part, too subtle to do the job. What wines do you love to drink in the summer? I would love to know.
Liza the Wine Chick