I admit most wine writers aren’t contemplating the merits of which wine to serve with hot dogs, fried chicken and apple pies. But we’re in Arkansas and our Independence Day menus are likely to reflect our Southern cooking roots. And as with most aspects of this holiday celebration, I think the wines should be as American as the foods.
BURGERS AND BRATS
Few aromas signify the Fourth of July like sizzling burgers, hot dogs and sausage links on the grill. Because these foods are generally rich in fat, red wines pair well. And, because most are generally paired with everything from onions and sauerkraut to mustard and ketchup, it’s best to keep the wine simple. I have always found medium-bodied juicy California Cabernet Sauvignon a dependable match as well as Syrah blends that bring a hint of pepper.
- 2015 Bell Wine Cellars Red Blend, California (about $16 retail)
- 2014 Robert Mondavi Maestro, California (about $55 retail)
No matter if you’re serving chicken, catfish or shrimp if it’s fried, I suggest opening a bottle of bubbly. It’ll just add to the celebratory feel of the day. The magic of this pairing is balancing the high acidity and slight sweetness of the bubbly with the saltiness in the food. But perhaps best of all is the value as, unlike most Champagne, American bubbly won’t break the bank.
- NV Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut Sparkling, Washington (about $13 retail)
- NV Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Brut, California (about $24 retail)
Most of you will agree, it just doesn’t get more American than apple pie. My sister’s perfect apple pie is essential for our family celebrations. I enjoy late-harvest Rieslings with sweet desserts, but apple pie’s acidity makes almost any Riesling a match.
- 2015 Hogue Cellars Riesling, Oregon (about $10 retail)
- 2015 Beringer Nightingale, California (about $40 retail)