I’m sure that most Americans have happy memories of meals taken in the company of family and friends on Independence Day, and in this review I will describe four wines from Dry Creek Vineyard that would bring an added measure of joy to Fourth of July feasts and picnics, and I will supplement my wine-related comments with some quotes and photographs appropriate to the holiday. (Note: All the lovely photographs of vineyards and winery buildings were taken on the properties of Dry Creek Vineyard.)
“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.” – Erma Bombeck
In my view, Zinfandel is one of the most food-friendly red wines, and Dry Creek Vineyard 2010 Sonoma County Heritage Zinfandel ($19) has everything one could want in a companion for barbecue or burgers. Blended with 12% Petite Sirah, this wine has aromas of dark berry, spice, and earth that lead to generous raspberry, blackberry, currant, and cherry flavors complicated by notes of blueberry, cocoa, black pepper, cinnamon, and vanilla-oak. This charming, medium-bodied Zinfandel has modest tannins, great balance, and a long, pleasant finish. I can think of no better way to celebrate our nation’s birthday than with a glass of Zinfandel, the most American of wines.
“That which distinguishes this day from all others is that then both orators and artillerymen shoot blank cartridges.” – John Burroughs
If you are serving your guests grilled chicken this Independence Day, you can be sure that they will be pleased were you to match it with the impeccably crafted, immensely appealing Dry Creek Vineyard 2010 Russian River Valley Foggy Oaks Chardonnay ($20). This wine offers seductive aromas of melon, ripe pear, apple, and honeysuckle that lead to luscious tropical fruit, apricot, peach, and citrus flavors that close in a lingering finish containing hints of mineral, vanilla, and toast. Here is an added benefit to choosing this Dry Creek Vineyard Chardonnay to complement your Fourth of July repast: Pouring it might provide an excuse to postpone dining until late afternoon, so that you and your guests could sip a pre-meal glass of this delectable wine while waiting for the temperature to go down with the sun.
“America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy.” – John Updike
Made from 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec, and 3% Petit Verdot, Dry Creek Vineyard 2009 Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($25) can easily hold its own against far pricier Cabernets – both foreign and domestic. This wine’s enticing aromas of cherry, raspberry, blackberry and spice precede perfectly balanced black cherry, plum, and dark currant flavors accompanied by well-integrated notes of mocha on its persistent finish. This deeply satisfying Cabernet Sauvignon would be the ideal companion for most grilled meats, especially beefsteak, though it would also be excellent with most poultry dishes.
“Wang Chi: Here’s to the Army and Navy and the battles they have won; here’s to America’s colors, the colors that never run.
Jack Burton: May the wings of liberty never lose a feather.” – “Big Trouble in Little China”
If you are planning to grill rib eye steaks or beef tenderloin this Independence Day, I suggest you consider matching such fare with Dry Creek Vineyard 2009 The Mariner Dry Creek Valley Meritage ($45), since this remarkable wine manages to be equal parts power and elegance. Blended from all five classic Bordeaux varietals – 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 10% Malbec, 5% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc – the aromas of this stylish wine include raspberry, cherry, mocha, and spice, and they lead to beautifully orchestrated flavors of dark currant, plum, blackberry, and black cherry that close in a long, uncommonly flavorful finish. There are few red wines that are at once as complex and accessible as this captivating Meritage.
I hope that everyone enjoys a fun-filled Independence Day and that the festivities include an abundance of good food, good wine, and good company.