Happy 4th of July! As you gather with friends and family, celebrate the freedoms that we hold so dear today, and, raise a glass. From sparkling to still, red to white, now is the time to enjoy something refreshing and lively, like one of these beauties from the good ‘ole USA.
As it is so hot in many parts of the country right now, making a light, lively, juicy white wine with a hint of salinity a perfect option for enjoying right now. From Edna Valley, just a few miles inland from the Pacific Ocean enjoying cooling winds that carry salty breezes off the water, Tangent Albarino is crafted with a nod to the home of the variety, Rias Baixas, Spain, another Ocean-influenced area that creates wines with salinity. Tangent Albarino ($17) is filled with sunshine, layering tangerine and lemon blossom with white flowers and tropical lilikoi and guava. Balanced and bright, with a note of minerality, leading to a briny, salinity on the finish.
From old Chenin Blanc vines originally planted in California’s Clarksburg AVA in the 1940s, Aperature Barrel-Fermented Chenin Blanc ($35) enjoys a long growing season thanks to warm days countered with cool nights, with soft breezes coming off the Sacramento River not far from the vineyards. The combination creates juicy fruit with a bright freshness, fermented in a combination of stainless steel barrels and neutral oak barrels, imparting a creaminess to the wine thanks to constant contact with the lees (yeasts). The wine is aged for six months in the barrels after fermentation is completed, rounding out the edges, and enhancing that creamy note. Creaminess melds with layers of honeysuckle, mandarin, and peach, with a soft herbal note.
Bright, clean, and aromatic, singing of spring with ripe fruit aromas of Asian pear, white flowers, golden citrus, and melon, FEL Pinot Gris ($32) showcases a cool-climate, Alsacian style, from the “deep end” of Anderson Valley close to the Pacific Ocean. Balanced and energetic, bringing flavors of guava and ripe pomelo together with orchard fruit and a hint of creaminess, giving texture to the balanced wine. An easy wine to enjoy on its own, but also beautiful paired with seared scallops, roasted salmon, or grilled summer vegetables.
Consistently delicious, showcasing the quality of fruit growing in the rolling hillsides of Napa’s Los Carneros AVA, Cuvaison Estate Chardonnay ($30) is elegant, bright, creamy, and inviting. Aged 11 months in partially new French oak barrels, giving a hint of spice, touches of oak, and a plush, luscious palate to the inviting wine. Upon the open floral and citrus aromas arrive first, welcoming you, opening your palate, and delivering a nice acidic note with beautiful freshness. Layers of marzipan, peach, ripe apple, and pear follow, melding together harmoniously, pairing beautifully with roasted chicken, white fish, fresh burrata, or creamy spinach and ricotta ravioli with a brown butter sauce.
The perfect wine for grilled salmon or roasted pork tenderloin, revealing layers of wild berry, red cherries, crunchy pomegranate seeds, and tart cranberry, Migration Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($44) showcases cool-climate coastal fruit bringing energy and vibrancy to medium-bodied California Pinot Noir. Aged ten months in partially new French oak, imparting subtle spice and toasted cedar notes, without overpowering the lush, layers of red fruits, ensuring the overall freshness remains intact.
Brisket and ribs need a big wine to stand up to their fatty, smoky, barbecue flavor, so even though it is hot outside a bold red is still required for evening barbecues. Chronic Cellars in Paso Robles fits the bill for creating edgy, bold, powerful red wines from varieties like Tannat, Zinfandel, Petit Sirah, and more. The wines are meant to spark conversation, while not taking themselves too seriously, and producing really killer wines with character. Dead Nuts ($30) blends predominantly Zinfandel with Petite Sirah, Syrah, and a touch of Lagrein for a rich, hearty wine perfect for meat and pork pairings. The name pays homage to walnut and almond trees that were in the area previous to vineyards coming in. The wine opens with spicy, dried leather, and tobacco aromas, melding with blue and black fruits and a touch of purple flowers. The hint of Lagrein lightens the powerful palate as the variety, typically grown in cooler Italian climates, like Alto Adige, brings freshness with more red fruit notes, similar to a Gamay.
#Cheers and Happy 4th of July