Friday, July 3, 2009

Holiday Weekend Wine

As we head into the holiday weekend, this is the perfect time to talk about the versatility of wine. Because despite the fact that the 4th of July is typically considered a beer-ier occasion—hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, and the rest—I’ve always had better luck pairing my lazy summer days with grapes than grains.

Now don’t get me wrong: I love a cold, crisp beer in the summer’s heat. But given my druthers, I’d take a cool rosé or a bottle of cold, sweaty-glass Vinho Verde every time. Because the truth is that fun, interesting white wines—from Godello to Verdejo to Albariño to all kinds of other things that might not be terribly familiar—offer all the pleasure of cold beer and bring to the table (so to speak) a whole range of pairing options (not to mention unexpected flavors and aromas, too) that you otherwise wouldn’t have.

And those wines are just for lighter dishes and drinking on their own. Just because it’s 4th of July weekend, after all, doesn’t mean that you can’t indulge in something a bit more hearty. Ever tried spare ribs and Zinfandel? Or slow-cooked pork and a Tempranillo-based blend? Or Malbec and a burger? (And if you’re lucky enough to find really fatty ground meat, spring for a Cahors—it’s based on the Malbec grape, but its relationship to its Argentinean sibling is analogous to the one between, say, a gently prepared slice of veal and a grilled rib-eye. Think of Cahors as Argentinean Malbec’s older, brawnier brother.)

Even traditionally wintertime wines have a place this weekend. My favorite trick is to throw a bit of a chill on a bottle of ruby or tawny port—just a couple of degrees; too much and it’ll taste terrible—and pair it either with whatever chocolate- or nut-based dessert you’re enjoying (chocolate pecan pie and dried fruit would be great alongside a tawny), or even (it’s a holiday weekend, after all) a good, spicy cigar.

It’s Independence Day: Celebrate your right to drink what you want this holiday weekend, regardless of beer’s traditional role. And there’s no better way to do that than with a great selection of wine, friends and family, and, hopefully, clear skies and warm temperatures.


beth on July 6, 2009 at 12:43 AM said...

Wow It seems that you had a great time. OMG the dish looks yummy in the picture. Would love to enjoy wine. Nice blog. Keep it up the good work. Cheers :)

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