The American zinfandel always seems to be a source of consumer confusion. Some think pink and light and out of fashion, while others think intense full-bodied reds. The taste fitting my palate is the latter. Our cooking method for the holiday will most likely be centered on the grill. Zinfandel easily matches the smoky meats that call for a good medium- to full-bodied red. My favorites are not the heavy, exaggerated high-alcohol styles that can be almost exhausting to drink, but those with lower alcohol content, peppery notes and at a value price.
- 2011 Bogle Vineyards Zinfandel, California (about $12 retail)
- 2011 Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel, California (about $24 retail)
At our celebration we have a varied picnic-style menu that includes grilled burgers and steaks, coleslaw and fresh salads. A dry rose is one of the few wine styles able to compete and complement the array of flavors. Serving rose also offers guests the refreshing chill of white wines and the structure of light-bodied reds.
- 2012 Cline Mourvedre Rose, California (about $11 retail)
- 2011 Bell Wine Cellars Rose, California (about $24 retail)
Not to seem too pragmatic but most Independence Day celebrations start early and end late. With this entertainment setup it may be worth considering what wines you will be serving throughout the party. The 3 percent difference between a light-bodied 12-percent-alcohol wine and a 14.9 percent may not seem like much, but the impact on blood alcohol levels, especially if you have more than one glass, is very relevant.
- 2011 Montevina Pinot Grigio, California (about $11 retail)
- 2011 Whitehall Lane Sauvignon Blanc, California (about $18 retail)