Today wine is produced in every state, and while we all don't have access to each and every wine there is enough variety out there to allow for some wider ranging selections. It wasn't that long ago that American wine meant wine from California's north coast, and while that region will remain symbolically important, we are fast approaching a time when it might not be the first region to spring to mind when one asks about American wine. With this in mind, and just in time for a most symbolic celebration, let's take a look at the wines that might spring to mind, the wines destined to become America's iconic wines.
Oregon Pinot Noir
It's easy to begin with Oregon, for a couple of reasons. No other state in the union has seen the proliferation of successful labels accompanied by the global acclaim that Oregon has achieved. This is of course Pinot Noir country, and Pinot Noir that is produced in a more old world style than most anywhere else in the USA. That is due primarily to the weather, which can be cool and damp. The results though tend to be bright and juicy, something that seems to be just a bit counterintuitive.
As for the appropriate wine? How about one which celebrates both the brilliance of Oregon Pinot Noir, and revolution, albeit not ours. Isabelle Dutarte is making wine under both the De Ponte and her own 1789 labels and I though love them both, how could I not choose to celebrate with the 1789, named for the date of the French Revolution. Classically Oregon yet with a light touch, it's a fabulous Pinot and one sure to be a crowd pleaser. Try it with lighter grilled meats and of course salmon from the grill.
While it labor's a bit in the shadows. Washington's Syrah is slowly shaping up to be a world beater. In fact many people already recognize the brilliance of these wines, though they tend, as a group, to be less approachable, and popular than many other wines. While Syrah may be something of a niche player at the moment I have no doubt that it's time will come, and when it does Washington state will produce America's iconic examples.
While they produce great wines, I don't know that Washington is producing many wines celebrating revolution so instead allow me to suggest a wine that celebrates something as important: family. Take for example Hedges Descendants Syrah, which coincidentally celebrates the French heritage of the Hedges family. Earthy, complex and deeply flavored it's a great wines for grilled game or beef this independence day.
New York Sauvignon Blanc
Now this may be something of a departure, recommending a New York white that is not Riesling, but I do believe that Long Island has great potential with Sauvignon Blanc, and being a native of the region I have both a bit of regional pride as well as many fond memories of Independence Days celebrated out on Long Island. Long Island has struggled with an identity since its birth as a wine region, with a climate that resembles that of Bordeaux, and soils composed of glacial moraine that might be compared to the gravels of Bordeaux, it was thought that this would prove to be a great spot for the grapes of Bordeaux, with a distinct focus on the reds.
While the region has produced some lovely reds over the years, how about the whites of Bordeaux, wouldn't they prove to be at least as well suited to the region? Well, to my mind even better and Long Island Sauvignon Blanc, with old world character and a just a hint of new world fruit, are poised to make a big splash and Macari is leading the way. This is just a lovely wine, as good as just about anybody's Sauvy, but I do know it it not that easy to find, so make an effort! It's great with fish, pasta salads, and of fresh goat cheeses.
Like Long Island Sauvignon Blanc, Virginia's Viogniers can be tough to find, but they are also fabulous wines that will help expand our definition of what a domestic fine region is, and when choosing a wine for the Fourth, selecting one from a state as important as Virginia, site of America's first colony, has a certain symbolic appeal! Unfortunately this recommendation might prove to be just that, symbolic, since these wines are currently very narrowly distributed.
In fact I am hesitant to make a specific recommendation since the wine will no doubt be hard to find but nonetheless if you can find one Virginia Viognier it will probably be from Horton or Blenheim. I'm partial to the Blenheim, which is about as complex and pure an example of Virginia Viognier as I've come across. It makes for a great pairing with spicy Asian or latin American influenced dishes
New Mexico Sparkling Wine
This is a bit of cheat, since as far as I know there's only one New Mexico Sparkler worth recommending I am actually simply recommending Gruet's sparklers. In light of the celebration of our independence I thought it would be nice to be as inclusive as possible, and celebrating with a sparkling wine just seems to be a natural here.
Gruet makes what has to be one of the best, and certainly the best value sparkling wines in the country. They are produced at altitude in New Mexico and have a character that is closer to famous French sparkling wines than to their American brethren. This are pure joy in a bottle, and the rose seems particularly appropriate for sipping while watching tumor night's glorious light show! Happy Fourth everybody, Have fun and be safe!