July 4th: What wine should I have with...?

Fourth of July is upon us... cue Martina McBride's "Independence Day"! In a few days, people all across the country will don their red-white-and-blue, enjoy time with friends and family, and be dazzled by fireworks accompanied by Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" . If you're looking to find some suggestions for what to drink with typical 4th of July fare, you've come to the right spot!

Burgers

If I was a betting woman, I'd put money on burgers being the most popular 4th of July meal. Drinking wine with burgers can be a bit tricky because it can depend on the toppings; however, most people I know generally stick to the classic toppings (think tomato, lettuce, onion, etc.). If this is the case, I think Zinfandel or Grenache would be great choices. Both of these varietals can have a juiciness and notes of earth or smoke or spice that go so well with grilled beef. If you're going a leaner route with a turkey burger, a lighter red would be a better choice. I'd choose a Californian Pinot Noir. It'll be lighter in body than the other varieties, but will still have enough heft to hold up to a grilled flavor. 

Suggestions: Gnarly Head ZinfandelJoel Gott Grenache , or The Stash Pinot Noir. Bonus that all of these are American wines as well!

Hot Dogs

Now, pairing with hot dogs is ALL about the toppings. I vary my toppings pretty frequently... sometimes I like just a classic mustard, but other times I like a Chicago or Carolina-inspired dog. So make sure you're taking note on what you're hoping to put on the dog before you purchase a bottle to drink with them.

  • For a classic dog topped with ketchup and mustard - Oregon Pinot Noir. The acid from the wine will help cut the richness of the hot dog, but the lighter red fruit flavor will not overpower. Consider La Crema Pinot Noir.
  • For a Chicago-style (relish, peppers, celery salt, etc.) or Carolina-style (coleslaw, mustard, onion) - Sauvignon Blanc. The herbaceous notes of the wine will pair well with the green flavors in the Chicago dog, and the acid will work well with the mayo in the coleslaw of the Carolina dog. Give Starborough Savignon Blanc a try.

Steak

No surprise here, but definitely drink a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. It's a classic pairing, so there's no need to stray from the classic American wine region.

Fried Chicken

Bubbles! Another classic pairing. Champagne is the most popular recommendation as the biscuit flavor in Champagne pairs well with the fried chicken batter while the bubbles cleanse the palate. If you're looking for a lower price point than Champagne, try the Madame Liberte California Sparkling which had those biscuit notes or go with a Cava that will be light and refreshing but not too fruity.

Just want a one-size-fits-all approach?

Go sparkling... always go with sparkling wine. In my opinion, it is the most food friendly wine and pairs well with the widest variety of items. Plus, why not use bubbles to celebrate the freedom of our nation?

I hope this post helped guide you when thinking about what to pair with your menu for Tuesday. While I do think food and wine pairings can enhance a meal, the most important thing to remember is to drink what you like! Life's too short, am I right?! So pop a bottle, have fun, and be safe!